Posts Tagged ‘income of musicians


Music Streaming Revisited – the Problem of Income Distribution

The Rethink Music initiative recently published a report on “Fair Music: Transparency and Money Flows in the Music Industry”. The report identifies barriers in the money flows to artist and states:”[O]nly a small proportion of the money beyond the initial recording advances ultimately makes its way to artists as ongoing revenue.” (Rethink Music, 2015: 3). Especially in the digitized recorded music business the revenue streams are often obscure and non-transparent. And if it comes to music streaming, artists are sceptical about the underlying business model. Based on the report’s finding, the revenue streams from music streaming and the structures behind the business are analysed.

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Music Streaming Revisited – The Superstars’ Music Streaming Income

Some artists have unveiled their royalties’ statements highlighting that just a small proportion of their income comes from music streaming services (e.g. cellist Zoe Keating in February 2013). However, the question remains open if and how the superstars benefit from shift to the music streaming business? In the following analysis the top superstars’ income from recorded music sales, music streaming, publishing and touring is highlighted. The statistics are based on the Billboard Money Makers List 2015 for the 40 top earners of the US music business. See here for the methodology[1].

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Is Streaming the Next Big Thing? – The artists’ perspective

In mid of July 2013 Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke caused for controversies when he pulled his song catalogue and those of his band Atoms For Peace from music streaming service Spotify. His straight forward argument was as cited in The Guardian that “new artists get paid fuck all with this model”. Several artists take the same line as Yorke. The co-author of the Belinda Carlisle hit “Heaven is a Place on Earth”, Ellen Shipley, complained that the royalty paid by Pandora to her for more than 3m plays was US$ 40. She accused Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and Google for “(…) the meager, insulting, outrageous amount of money songwriters are being paid” according to Business Insider. In fact some big names are not available on Spotify: The Beatles, AC/DC, The Eagles, Garth Brooks, George Harrison.

Thus, the question arises if and how music streaming services can be valuable for artists? In the following I would like to highlight the pros and cons of music streaming services form an artists’ perspective.

Continue reading ‘Is Streaming the Next Big Thing? – The artists’ perspective’


Money from Music – a study on musicians’ revenue in the U.S.

Peter DiCola of Northwestern University School of Law and partner in the “Artists Revenue Streams”-project of the “Future of Music Coalition” has recently published a working paper entitled “Money from Music: Survey Evidence on Musicians’ Revenue and Lessons About Copyright Incentives”, which also will be published in the Arizona Law Review. Based on data of the “Artists Revenue Streams”-project, DiCola analyzes different income streams of musicians in the U.S. He highlights that musicians differ in earning money from music relying on several revenue sources. The main finding is that the largest revenue category for musician in the U.S. on average is live performance, which accounts for 28% of the overall annual income from music. Another important income source is teaching (22%), followed by salaries from orchestras, bands and chamber ensembles (19%) and session work (10%). Revenue from songwriting/composing and sound recordings is less important, accounting for 6% of the annual music income each.

For a summary of the study, please click here

Continue reading ‘Money from Music – a study on musicians’ revenue in the U.S.’

November 2015
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