Tag: sound recordings


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 »


Mythbusting: Data Driven Answers to Four Common Assumptions About How Musicians Make Money

Posted on 2nd December, by Kristin Thomson in What We're Learning. 12 Comments

There are a number of assumptions made about musicians and money. Some are repeated ad nausea, giving them a special status in the public debate about musicians and income as widely believed to be true, but disconnected from any verifiable data besides random anecdotes, isolated data points and personal opinion. Unfortunately, some of these assumptions are are then used to justify certain behaviors, or to inform policy decisions.

Here are four commonly-repeated assumptions:

1. “Musicians are rich”

2. “In a post-Napster world, musicians make all their money from shows/live performance”

3. “In a post-Napster world, musicians don’t make money selling music”

4. “In a post-Napster world, musicians make all of their money from selling t-shirts/merch”

One of the core goals of the Artist Revenue Streams project was to bring some data into this conversation, to give musicians, policymakers, and the general public a better sense of the complex reality of musicians and composers. In four posts, we will examine the “truthiness” of these assumptions, using qualitative and quantitative data collected through the Artist Revenue Streams project.


ARS Presentation: Leverage

Posted on 14th November, by Jean Cook in What We're Learning. 5 Comments

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 »


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.


Off the Charts: Examining Musicians’ Income from Sound Recordings

Posted on 12th June, by Kristin Thomson in What We're Learning. 5 Comments

On Tuesday, May 9, 2012, Artist Revenue Streams co-director Kristin Thomson took part in the NARM’s Music Biz 2012 Conference in Los Angeles, CA.  Drawing upon Money from Music survey findings and artist interviews, she presented some findings about musicians’ income from the sale, license or performance of sound recordings.

She started the presentation by describing the project’s methodology. The research involves three data collection methods: in person interviews with about 80 different US-based musicians and composers, financial case studies based on verifiable bookkeeping data, and a widely distributed online survey.

She also underscored that this study is not about label market share, or consumer spending, or measuring an artists’ social graph. It’s about individual musicians’ earning capacity. It’s about what they end up putting in their pocket, and how it’s changing over time.

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Whether on vinyl, cassette, CD … Read More »


Musicians’ Teammates and their Effect on Earnings

Posted on 17th April, by Kristin Thomson in What We're Learning. 4 Comments

On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, Artist Revenue Streams co-director Kristin Thomson delivered a luncheon lecture called “All You Need is Love…(and a manager, an accountant and a web designer). Making it as a Musician in an Increasingly Networked World” hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She was joined by musician and Berkman Fellow Erin McKeown.

The focus of the lecture was examining the question of whether emerging technologies have made it possible for musicians to “do it all themselves”, and the impact that various intermediaries can have on a musician’s career and earning capacity.


Orchestral Recordings and Performer Payments

Posted on 15th March, by Kristin Thomson in What We're Learning. 3 Comments

US-based orchestras have a rich history of making sound recordings of classical repertoire. Have you ever wondered if and how the performers are paid when those sound recordings are sold?

This question came up while we were working on a case study of a young professional orchestra player. While categorizing his income streams, we realized we didn’t know how sound recording revenue flowed back to performers. Was it a profit split with all current members?  What about the money generated from legacy recordings that are still sold?

Below is a description of how it works for unionized orchestras, in other words, the orchestras where the performers are members of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). This includes all of the major professional orchestras in the US.

Studio recordings

If an AFM orchestra goes … Read More »