Artist Revenue Streams: Methodology

Artist Revenue Streams

Methdology and Research Components

FMC is employing a three-step research process; in-person interviews with a small but diverse number of musicians in 2010-11; a review of financial records of some musicians; and a widely distributed online survey in fall 2011. We feel that this multi-method approach will help us to get the best snapshot of different musicians’ income streams and create a more robust and meaningful report.

Artist interviews: In step 1, FMC is interviewing a small but diverse set of musicians, (or, in some cases, their managers or accountants) to seek their direct input about their revenue streams, and how these have changed over the past ten years. FMC has identified about 25 musician types that we expect to have different musical revenue pies, and for which we seek interview candidates. For example, we know that the revenue streams available to a songwriter who doesn’t perform are different than those available to a touring rock band member, a pit orchestra musician, a film and TV composer, a jazz performer who plays standards, a classical ensemble and a high profile hip hop artist. FMC is using networks and referrals to identify individuals that fit these musician types, then using a snowball sample[1] to find peers that also match these characteristics.

Financial data: FMC is also reviewing individual financial data from some of the musicians that we interview, with an understanding that any financial information is anonymous and not identifiable with any particular artist, band or label. Actual financial data can help us to quantify the amount of revenue generated in different categories, and changes from year to year. These are being presented as case studies with an individualized narrative/assessment that focuses on the reasons for fluctuations or changes in their revenue from year to year. The artists’ income data will be displayed in various pie charts that will be compared against data collected during the survey, and from other sources. FMC also plans on making interactive/dynamic charts and graphs for review on our website.

Online survey: For step 3, FMC created an online survey that presented relevant questions about artists’ revenue streams for US-based musicians. The survey used skip logic to create a survey experience that matches the subject’s role (songwriter, composer, performer) and recognized the differences in how various communities operate and how creators are compensated. FMC put the survey in the field from September 6, to October 28, 2011 to capture information about musicians’ revenue streams for 2010 and prior. We will analyze the results not only on the macro level, but also by genre, by time spent/income generated, and other cross-tab measures. Learn more about survey protocol.

Snowball sampling is a technique where existing study subjects recruit future subjects from among their acquaintances. The project’s methodology is more fully described in a protocol document, available from the research team.

Next: Population of Study

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