This financial case study shows the income and expenses from a full-time Background Vocalist who performs regularly as a background singer on network TV, live on tour, and on recordings. She also writes songs and performs and records her own music as a solo artist, and produces records for herself and others.
This artist is part of the regular “music crew” – as a background vocalist – on a live network television program with a house band, appearing on 34 episodes over four seasons. She also tours regularly as a background vocalist for several different featured artists, with performances at concert halls, theaters, opera houses, resorts, and festivals. She has also performed on over 50 recordings as a background vocalist for more than 30 different artists.
This case study gives us a glimpse at the world of a background singer who is both paid for her original work, and is also the recipient of “mailbox” money, or residuals from TV and film appearances and royalties from studio recordings. It also underscores the importance of unions in negotiating fees and administering TV/film residuals and recording royalties.
How does location impact musicians and composers? Do ‘music cities’ – loosely defined as places where there is a higher concentration of commercial record labels, studios, publishers, or other important commercial industry players – such as Los Angeles, Nashville, or New York offer greater opportunities for artists?
While the over 5,300 respondents of the Money from Music survey lived in all 50 states and also outside the USA, approximately 11% of respondents reported living in the metro areas of Nashville, New York City, or Los Angeles – all cities that have a higher concentration of creative workers [Note 1] compared to the national average.
What is so special about these cities? Do opportunities attributed to location favor artists who play certain roles or are at a certain point in their careers? With the internet making it easy to communicate directly with … Read More »
At first look, musicians and composers seem like a disorganized bunch. On an individual level, there are no qualifying exams or prerequisites that certify a musician’s level of “professionalism”. On a group level, there is no one organization that represents their collective interests. But scratch below the surface, and different structures become immediately apparent. In addition to record labels, booking agents, managers and other teammates on which musicians rely, musicians and songwriters can align with a vast array of music-related organizations that serve a number of purposes.
As musicians ourselves, we have a sense that membership in these organizations matters, but in what ways? Do musicians that belong to certain organizations participate in more revenue streams? Do they make more money because of these allegiances? Or is the inverse true; do particular types of work make it possible and/or necessary for musicians to join certain organizations? This data memo outlines the general benefits of membership in music-related organizations, then examines the qualitative and quantitative data related to organizational membership and revenue.
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Artist Revenue Streams co-director Jean Cook addressed Future of Music Coalition’s 11th DC Policy Summit. Beginning with a review of the 42 Revenue Streams for musicians, Jean outlined the scope of the ARS study, and then went on to discuss the structures that determine the rates that artists get paid for three specific digital revenue streams: iTunes, Pandora and Spotify. This illustration of these specific three revenue streams set the stage for a discussion about the various middlemen upon whom artists rely to represent their interests at the bargaining table, where middlemen interests align and conflict with artists, and what options exists for artists who want to be more involved in how rates for the more complex streams are calculated.
1. Who Decides How Much Artists Get Paid?
We decided to do this presentation because … Read More »
When looking at the Artist’s gross revenue, we note 72.3% of his income is tied to live performance, whether it’s live performance fees or CD sales at shows. He is completely dependent on touring for his income.
We look at the Artist’s income by band and see that while he is an active member of four bands in addition to his solo work, 94% of his gross income comes from one Main Band and his own solo work.
Unlike the Professional Orchestra Player, who is also a salaried musician, the Artist also writes for the group that pays him a salary, and that provides 21% of his income in addition to his salary.
When examining income versus expenses, we note certain roles, like salaried, sideman or teaching work (approximately 31% of his income from 2008-2011) have few expenses. The Artist is able to use that income to invest in his own solo work, in lieu of being beholden to a label, publisher, or tour sponsor.