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.