In March of this year, Artist Revenue Streams co-directors Kristin Thomson and Jean Cook participated in a panel at South by Southwest called Brass in Pocket: Accessing More Musician Income. Drawing upon data collected through the Artist Revenue Streams project and the panelists’ personal experience, they talked about a handful common assumptions and myths about how musicians make money.
This week, the ARS team is expanding on the SXSW panel topic through a series of posts.
We’re starting by tackling the assumption that musicians are rich. This is a feeling that is reinforced by shows likeMTV Cribs, by annual lists from outlets like Forbes and Billboard that publish figures about the most well-paid musicians, and even by musicians themselves who reference luxury brands in their lyrics, or embrace high-priced lifestyles. Naturally, the public begins to assume that musicians – especially chart-topping, highly visible ones – are rich, based largely on what they see on stage, read about online, or hear on the radio. And even when the musicians aren’t rich, some embrace the stereotype because it adds to their own brand’s value.
There are some musicians who are doing very well financially (at least in gross earnings), and we applaud their success. But, just like the US population, there are very few at the top. While there are a handful of musicians who are wealthy, the vast majority of working musicians in the US are middle class earners.
Every time you warble Don’t Stop Believin’ at karaoke or buy a poster of Justin Bieber represents a small handful of change in the music industry’s tipjar. In fact, the Future of Music Coalition has identified no less than 42 distinct revenue streams ranging from karaoke licensing to merchandise sales.
Christopher Bavitz talks with Future of Music Coalition’s Kristin Thomson about how/whether artists are making a living today.
It’s the age of the one-man band, but the picture looks different from days past. Along with the drum on a strap, and a harmonica on a metal brace, the performer now carries a laptop – and with that and an Internet connection, she or he records and distributes music, designs Web sites, and schedules tour dates.
To understand better the issues affecting how American musicians earn a living today, the Future of Music Coalition launched in 2010 Artist Revenue Streams, a multi-stage research project to document musicians’ revenue streams. Kristin Thomson, co-director of “Artists Revenue Streams,” shares the recently-released results with CCC’s Chris Kenneally as part of the Beyond the Book Podcast series. […]
Artists have always had a unique relationship with money. On one hand, the lack of it can be what holds them back from realizing their full creative potential. If art doesn’t pay the rent, a part-time job becomes a necessity. Before you know it, the part-time job becomes a full-time job, leaving little to no time for art. Sound familiar?
On the other hand lies the internal struggle of capitalizing on your creativity. For most artists, money isn’t the driving force behind creation ― it’s expression. But you know you have to eat, so you accept the “art as commerce” reality and just pray you don’t end up like KISS. Artists know they need money, but have a hard time accepting it, for fear that it will become the force that drives them. read more
The lineup of speakers for MIDEM 2012 was just made public which means we get to share some exciting news with you: FMC will be part of Visionary Monday on January 30, 2012.
Our kick-ass consultant Kristin Thomson (@kristinthomson) will be presenting some initial, exclusive findings from our Artist Revenue Streams research project. In her talk, Kristin will describe what we have learned through our multi-method research process about the changing relationship between artists and brands. read more
It was a great weekend for listening to FMC folks talk about our favorite subject: the intersection of music and policy.
On Saturday, FMC Policy Director Michael Bracy chatted with Windy City music scribes Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis on "Sound Opinions" — a weekly talk show from Chicago Public Radio and American Public Media. read more
On June 11, FMC Education Director Kristin Thomson took part in Ignite: Philly, which featured a series of speakers talking about inspiring projects or ideas for five minutes(!). Kristin used her own experience as a record collector who has moved on to streaming subscription services like Rhapsody to show that the future of music might be about access, not ownership.
We have no idea how Kristin managed to bust out all of this info in such a short amount of time, but she pulled it off without a hitch. Check out the video of her presentation below… you know you have time!