Tag: sideman


Money from Music: Where We Live

Posted on 11th September, by Jean Cook in What We're Learning. 1 Comment

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 »


Jazz Musicians and Money from Music

Posted on 13th June, by Jean Cook in What We're Learning. 4 Comments

This data memo presents a snapshot of nearly 900 jazz musicians who participated in the Money from Music Survey in 2011, the first comprehensive assessment of jazz musicians in the US since “Changing the Beat.” After presenting basic demographic information, this memo provides data about jazz musician’s experience, income, and feelings about technology, and also compares the jazz population to survey takers from other genres. This memo also takes a closer look at the differences between jazz musicians who are members of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and those who are not, and the relationship that AFM membership has with income.


Case Study: Jazz Bandleader-Composer

Posted on 15th March, by Jean Cook in Financial Case Studies, Participant Data. 6 Comments

Like many entrepreneurial small businesses, his net income fluctuates widely from year to year. Anecdotally, his gross income appears to roughly track with the growth of his reputation during this period.

When looking at his gross income, we see that live performance as a leader makes up 77.8% of his income. In addition to his work as a leader, he also earns a steady income each year as a composer, sideman, and teacher.

When looking at his net v gross, Jazz Bandleader’s expenses are high – 80% of his income goes to pay touring expenses, sidemen, managers fees and other expenses. But he is still profits from touring. His net recording income fluctuates from year to year. Some years he loses money on recording. From 2006-2011 he nets a modest recording income.

Examining the artist’s gross income by role reinforces that his recording money fluctuates depending on what years he receives record advances. We also see that roughly 8% of his income is initiated by someone other than the Jazz Bandleader or his team.

Looking at gross income by territory, we see that he is dependent on non US markets for about 44% of his performance income.

We see a similar trend in his PRO Royalties breakdown by territory, that non-US royalties are a significant portion of his PRO royalty income. When looking at his income by album, we see that his compositions continue to earn money for years after the records are released.


Case Study: Jazz Sideman-Bandleader

Posted on 15th March, by Jean Cook in Financial Case Studies, Participant Data. 2 Comments

In addition to his sideman work, his income also comes from his work as a bandleader, composer, administrator, and teacher. Like many freelancers, his income fluctuates from year to year. Anecdotally, his gross income appears to roughly track with the growth of his reputation during this period.

We look at the income and expenses for this individual, where we learn that his teaching, admin work and sideman work makes up 70% of his income from 2004-2010, effectively subsidize his work as a bandleader as he establishes himself.

We look at his relationships as a sideman with different bandleaders over time and see 55% of his income and activity comes from two bandleaders, but he also takes on work with 81 different ensembles. He needs all of these gigs to survive. Not just from an economic perspective, but also because these other gigs help him network, keep his skills sharp, and to maintain his position in the competitive marketplace for sidemen.

We examine his per-gig sideman wages by territory and see that there is a marked difference between the income he receives outside the US and in the USA. On average over eight years, Jazz Sideman-Bandleader’s sideman rate when traveling outside the US is approximately three times greater than what he makes in the US.

We analyze his foundation grant income and see that while this money is a large chunk of his gross income, the net take home is very small – 1%. This appears to be typical for bandleaders, that the vast majority of income for recording and touring goes to pay for expenses.

We begin to explore the complex balance he maintains between financial risk, creative fulfillment, and available time.