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some numbers from the music industry   You are logged in as Guest
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Posts: 3394
Joined: Feb. 9 2016

some numbers from the music industry

The way I interpret these numbers: musicians are completely screwed.
The way the media reported on it: the music industry is growing!

Streaming services continue to gain ground as what little remains of physical products or digital purchases continue to decline. In the media, the fact that paid-subscriptions to streaming services had increased was described as a good thing for all. Yet, there's good reason to believe this won't benefit musicians at all. According to ADAMI (French equivalent of ASCAP or BMI), a 9.99 monthly subscription to Spotify breaks down as follows:
-EUR 7.54 to "intermediaries" (platform, producers)
-EUR 0.99 to the State (VAT)
-EUR 1.00 to copyright holders
-EUR 0.46 to performers.

(I assume it's not dissimilar in other countries).
0.46 euros out of a 9.99 euro subscription. Of course, that 0.46 is then allocated according to how many listens each artist has. In other words, Bieber and Ed Sheeran get 0.20 each and the rest get to fight over the remaining 6 cents. And there's absolutely no reason to believe anything will improve in the short to mid-term. Spotify, like all of its fellow streaming services, is not a profitable company. In 2016 it had a net loss of around -500 million dollars. It's doubtful they'll even consider paying musicians better until they are themselves profitable. Most professional musicians I know don't put their music on there. Those that do always say that it's just about the visibility, as they're clearly not making any money off of it.

Add to that a ridiculous situation in many countries when it comes to what local venues pay and I honestly don't know whether there's any future for music. With one artist I particularly like, I've given the whole crowd-funding, Patreon, thing a go. She's honest and gives valuable things in exchange for the financial contribution, which is very small compared to say taking classes. Doubtful it will be sustainable but I guess you have to try something.

Right now it seems like the only options are either teaching and hoping you're the kind of person that enjoys that, or touring 320+ days a year over an entire career. I guess it's feasible. Guys like Tommy Emmanuel do it. Can't imagine he has much of a family life though.

Anyone see any reason to be optimistic in all of this? I'm honestly asking. Grasping at straws here for anything that can even remotely pass as good news and economic "growth" for musicians.


"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 23 2018 21:18:11

Posts: 1696
Joined: Jul. 12 2004
From: San Francisco

RE: some numbers from the music industry (in reply to Piwin

I'd agree things are somewhat worse for musicians than say, fifteen-twenty years ago. In the 90's I was getting 500.00 a man regularly for corporate events. They pay the same today, which is one reason I don't do them anymore.

I made a cd in 2002 - they sold for 20. at gigs, and I got 6.50 from distributors. Good luck selling cd's today. I realize if you gig a lot, you will sell some, but you might make more selling t-shirts, buttons, and hats. In 2018, I get a check every few months for 20.00 for downloads......I suppose if I had a 1,000 different cd's in the market place, it might be a living.

In the 70's and 80's I played in bands that worked six nights a week on the road. Those gigs are pretty scarce now.

In the 80's I got hired to do a tour in Italy-paid flights, equipment rentals, hotels, per diems, pay for the concerts, all funded by the record company. Today.....good luck.

If you are a name artist, you can still get paid for live gigs. My agent got Bruce Hornsby a one hour corporate for 30-35k. Hotel and flight too. But he's a name musician. I know sidemen in name acts who get 500.00 a gig and they have to travel for it.

In the clubs in SF today, you might get 100.00 for a gig if you are lucky.

But IMO, it's kinda always been this way. The musician is at the bottom of the totem pole in the music business and always has been, except for the name act, who in SOME cases, gets to call the tune. My dad's cousins had a huge hit in the 60's with the Mungo Jerry- "In the Summertime" They told me they made nothing on it but learned the business. And, they were the record company, not the artist. I'd imagine they are still mining it, cause I've heard it on some commercials, and it's still played on oldies stations.

If you want to hustle, I think one can make a living, but you'll be working three times as hard as a guy with a day gig for half the money. I realize there are exceptions, and god bless 'em. Society needs those folks, even if they don't want to pay them.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 23 2018 21:45:34
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1762
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: some numbers from the music industry (in reply to Piwin


Guys like Tommy Emmanuel do it. Can't imagine he has much of a family life though.

Is anyone else old enough to remember the Kingston Trio? They were the biggest act in the US immediately before the British Invasion, i.e. 1957–62 (at one time they had 4 albums in the Top 10). They started what Doc Watson called “the Great Folk Scare”*.

Here's what their Bob Shane had to say about that period:


The first time the Trio played Honolulu I had a blind date (arranged by my father!) with the best looking girl I’d ever seen. Six months later, March 15, 1959, Louise Brandon and I were married in Washington DC. The next day I went back on the road and for the first year of our marriage I was away from home 285 days. It's things like this that make an entertainer re-evaluate his life all the time. You have to either be in it all the way or not. If you kids who are so sold on show business think this is glamorous, think again.

And the Trio, at that point, were at the top. What must it have been like for the others?

*Their most famous song was, and is, Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 24 2018 0:04:06

Posts: 13341
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: some numbers from the music industry (in reply to Piwin

I’m doing it


CD's and transcriptions available here:
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 24 2018 4:23:28

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010

RE: some numbers from the music industry (in reply to Piwin

I used to know a virtuous rock guitarist with immense repertoire in Germany who used to gig for small cash. After decades his locally famous band threw in the towel.
He then started offering spray painting for bodies of enthusiasts´ model cars.
Next he sold off his precious guitars, amps and everything and gave up guitar playing for good. Depressing for me to watch, but he bewildering had no regrets, saying he was doing better than ever.
To me though it remains saddening to see highly advanced artists putting down their instrument (like with my former brother in law, who once used to give violin concerts).

Where I am the sun of artistry stands pretty low. Yet, the pop singers (almost all residing abroad, outside the regime) appear to be getting stinking reach with cheap plagiarism off western billboards.

Seeing that their consumers don´t even know the idea of purchasing CDs (guess the only original CD collection of the country to be the one I own), in the first years I used to wonder how the schlager artists of this nation come to live like princes.
Then realizing that they earn their mammon through concerts with insane pricing of tickets as if they were international stars. And their countrymen will come to wherever the concerts are (flying in from across the globe!) and spend all that cash on yearning for compatriotism and an cordial homeland that never existed in ways they like to depict it.

I guess these guys to be avoiding the common corporation and agent´s cutthroat, and to either organize their gigs themselves or through countrymen to whom they can dictate the conditions of share.

Times have changed.
On the one hand there is the extreme looting of artists in ways you described above (and which appears to be same for small-named authors in literature), on the other hand today it takes only one single international hit for to gain a living like Croesus.
Just remember that Korean bloke from some years ago with his bedroom-studio piece of totally unnerving infantile spasm music. It earned him a freaking 50 mio bucks.
And don´t get me started on other two-finger techno crap geniuses like that German pretender who calls himself "Scooter", and co.

The commercial absurdity of these days is the amalgam of hyper capitalism, plunging down culture and degenerating mind.
Which only proves one more time that culture is far from being a minor subject which could randomize without repercussions on humanity.

To the opposite. Culture is all that defines human being.
When it goes down to undemanding instead of progressing, so then will everything human related.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 24 2018 9:39:25

Posts: 3394
Joined: Feb. 9 2016

RE: some numbers from the music industry (in reply to Ricardo


I’m doing it


"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 25 2018 13:03:10
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