Music and government may not seem like they have much in common. But four panelists did their best to convince an audience at SXSW that they were, in fact, hopelessly intertwined.
“These issues are breathtakingly complicated,” said the panel’s moderator, Michael Bracy, policy director at the Future of Music Coalition. “How do you build a regulatory structure for a market that is changing so rapidly?” read more
Future of Music Coalition is well-represented this week in Austin at the annual SXSW Music Conference. Of particular note:
Michael Bracy will be hosting an official panel called “Navigating Washington in 2013” featuring FCC Commisioner Jessica Rosenworcel. The panel takes place at 5 pm on Wednesday. This is an exciting opportunity for SXSW attendees to connect with influential policymakers and get an inside view of how the policies that impact musicians are made.
Jean Cook will join Brian Zisk as a panelist on the topic of “Fair Play: Music Startups and Artists” on Tuesday at 5.
We’ll also be helping Brown Paper Tickets kick off their “Make Radio Challenge” with tacos, bloody marys, and some amazing artists and activists talking about the awesome opportunities offered by Low Power FM, starting at 11 AM on Tuesday.
And if you’d like to just meet up with FMC staff for drinks, Michael Bracy & Jean Cook will be hanging out at Ginger Man Thursday evening (with music curated by Jon Langford). Read on for the full schedule of appearances by FMC Staff, Board, and Advisory Board members!
Last week, we launched a series of blog posts that are using Artist Revenue Streams to examine some of the common assumptions about musicians and income.
In part 3, we’re looking at the assumption that, in a post-Napster world, musicians don’t make any money from selling music. As with the other perceptions, there’s a grain of truth in this, based on the simple fact that income from the sales of sound recordings in the traditional sense – sales of physical goods in retail stores – has changed drasticallly in the past ten years. There are fewer retail stores, more online ways to get music for free and, according to the RIAA’s data, a steady decline in the dollar amount of CDs shipped from 2004 to 2010.
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.
Ever wonder what the living wage is for a jazz band leader living in London? Or how about a cello player in an orchestra? Many of these musician gigs don’t win a popularity contest when it comes to the public’s perception of the music industry. There are tons of bedroom producers and garage bands that can generate a short-lived buzz, but it takes years of practice and formal education to develop a stable stream of income for the average musician. Luckily, they’ve got the Future of Music Coalition looking out for them.
…There seem to be more ways than ever for the independent artist to bring in cash. The Future of Music Coalition, an artist lobbying group, announced during SXSW the results of two years of research into how musicians make money. Jean Cook, one of the architects of the project, said the research revealed 42 potential music revenue sources. No single artist is, of course, benefiting from all 42. A classical artist, for instance, may have access to only two or three, she said. But a singer-songwriter may be able to pull from as many as 25 revenue streams. read more
Everyone is always talking about the artists’ team, the critical support structure that helps spread the music and manage fanbases. But when it comes to successful artists, the most important and well-paid members are lawyers and accountants - then the webmaster, booking agent, manager, and everyone else.
The Future of Music Coalition recently interviewed thousands of artists about the composition of their team, and this is what a few hundred, high-earning artists said. These are full-time artists making more than $100,000 a year with over 90% of that coming directly from their music. And outside of the band members themselves, these were the roles designated most (in terms of the percentage of respondents indicating that these people were members of their team). […] read more
Musicians are musicians because they play music, not because they love accounting or managing Facebook pages. But in the current climate, artists are now forced to play more roles than ever - and their art is often suffering as a result.
According to survey information just shared at SXSW by the Future of Music Coalition (FMC), more than half of all of artists find themselves juggling three or more roles, and nearly 26 percent of artists are playing 4 or more roles. “The ‘I can do it myself’ mentality is not only pervasive, but I think some artists also romanticize it,” FMC consultant Kristen Thomson relayed. read more
[…]Also intriguing: Artist lobbying group the Future of Music Coalition has spent the last year collecting and studying data compiled from working musicians, hoping to better understand where artists of different levels are generating the bulk of their income. The in-progress findings will be presented Thursday.[…]