Off the Charts: Examining Musicians' Income from Sound Recordings


2 comments posted

How do you measure the number

Submitted by DickDestiny (not verified) on June 12, 2012 - 3:05pm.

How do you measure the number of people who have just given up on making any money from sound recordings even though they continue to record them? I would think this is very common and that without signficant leading popularity, you have zero hope of making any at all despite how many things uploaded to the great music stores in 'the cloud.'

Hi Dick. Thanks for your

Submitted by Kristin on June 12, 2012 - 4:31pm.

Hi Dick.

Thanks for your comment.

3552 survey respondents -- or 66% of total survey population -- said that they made 0% of their income from sound recordings in the past 12 months.

This is probably an amalgamation of three different populations: (1) those musicians do not participate in the sound recording revenue streams because of their career structure (salaried players, session players, composers, teachers); (2) musicians who are participating, but did not make any money from sound recordings in the *time period* that we were asking about; and (3) musicians who want to participate -- or have in the past -- but have exited the marketplace.

It's impossible to know from this top level data about the reasons why income from sound recordings for a majority of survey respondents is 0%. So, we asked additional questions about recorded music later on in the survey to get at the reasons why certain income streams were changing. About 1000 respondents provided us with this additional information. The top reason given for reduced income from retail sales? "Lower consumer demand". In a few instances in this section -- and also in an open-ended question later in the survey -- musicians mentioned that they had simply stopped making recorded music to sell, which we mention in the report's narrative. More here:

Artist Revenue Streams is primarily a benchmarking effort -- we're trying to measure musicians income streams in 2010-2011. To properly measure change -- including the instances of those who have exited the marketplace -- we would need to replicate this work in a couple of years. But we hope this initial work gives musicians, managers and advocates a snapshot of what it's like now, and leads to additional questions about how we should track and evaluate musicians' income streams going forward.

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