Musicians Income Rises Even As Streaming Takes Its Toll

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The music industry is undergoing a major resurgence as measured by all indicators except one, according to an extensive study published by Citi GPS. Left behind are the musicians, whose creations make the rest of the music industry possible, but who are receiving less than 12% of the annual revenue.

While the music industry is booming, that revenue is not trickling down creators.

U.S. musicians earn about $5 billion annually, according to a new Citi GPS analysis. That's an impressive sum until compared to the $43 billion that their creations earn the total U.S. music industry, matching the prior peak in 2006. B2B music revenue (Music Publishing and Licensing) and ad supported music (AM/FM, YouTube) are flat, but consumer outlays (Concerts, Music Subscriptions) are at all-time highs.

Two related trends are driving this new paradigm for musicians. 

First, as we know, consumers are increasingly opting to rent music by streaming, rather than buy it. Second, the demise of physical music and download sales has prompted artists to tour more, driving significant growth in live concerts and festivals.

There are hopeful signs. 

Thought still low, the proportion of industry revenue captured by artists is on the rise from 7% in 2000, to 12% now.

“The bulk of the improvement is not driven by the growth in music subscription services. Rather, it’s driven by the strength in the concert business., according to the study. “Music labels act as intermediaries for subscription services (Apple, Spotify) but are largely excluded from the economics of the concert business. As such, growth in concert revenue is particularly helpful to artists."

The new white paper suggests three possible paths forward

1) Vertical Integration.  “For example, concert promoters could merge with an existing distribution platform.

2) Horizontal integration. “For example, existing distribution firms could consolidate."

3) Organic Forms Of Vertical Integration. “Existing web-based distribution firms could organically morph into music labels (by targeting younger, less established artists). This would allow artists to capture more of music’s value while allowing Internet-based music distributors to capture profit pools currently earned by the music labels."

FULL REPORT: Putting The Band Back Together: Remastering The World Of Music (pdf) 

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