Future Of Music Coalition Looks To Catalog Artist Revenue Streams

from the sounds-useful dept

The Future of Music Coalition, who has put together a big list of revenue streams for musicians, as a tool for getting them to think about alternative business model opportunities, is now trying to take that idea even further. So it's now launching the "Artist Revenue Streams Project" to dig into how artists are actually making money today, and how that's been changing over time. This seems like it should be a very useful project. FMC is looking for candidates to interview, so if you're a musician, check out the application questions. The overall project will be opened up to a wider audience eventually, but for the initial part, they want to conduct in-depth interviews with a variety of musicians to help establish the later survey. What's not entirely clear, yet, is if FMC intends to release the eventual data publicly. One would hope (and assume?) so, but it's not mentioned explicitly. No matter what, getting more data on these things can only be a good thing.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 7:29pm

    Sadly, being a "self selecting" group, the data will likely not be representative of the overall music industry, and rather apply to a small subset that decides to answer.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 8:21pm

    What's the alternative? Make all musicians fill it out at gunpoint?

     

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  3.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 9:28pm

    "What's the alternative? Make all musicians fill it out at gunpoint?"

    It wont work even if you do force them at gun point. It won't work without looking at the fans, the artists, the fans group of friends and how they communicate and spread the word, how the artist communicates with fans, etc. This seems like someone is trying to come up with a statistics based cookie cutter approach to music sales on the internet.

    From that you can come up with a "7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists(people)". With 5 million plus artists and bands out there. Knowing these habits, is not going to do much good for any length of time. They will all start copying you. Making what you are doing less effective.

     

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  4.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 9:44pm

    Re:

    Forgot to mention it has name. Its called market glut.

    def - Glut : to flood (the market) with certain goods so that the supply is greater than the demand.

     

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  5.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 9:49pm

    Re:

    Sadly, being a "self selecting" group, the data will likely not be representative of the overall music industry, and rather apply to a small subset that decides to answer.

    Given the wide range of musicians that FMC has connections to, I find this to be unlikely. Odd that you would make the assertion, though. Do you have some insight into the FMC that the rest of us do not?

     

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  6.  
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    Pixelation, Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 9:59pm

    "So it's now launching the "Artist Revenue Streams Project" to dig into how artists are actually making money today"

    We know it isn't from the RIAA.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Re:

    Even with the "connections" that FMC has, they are still only touching a very small part of the entire market. The sample size by category is likely to be too small to draw conclusions.

    I am also not clear that they have good contacts for garage to arena size acts. You need a reasonably large sample to be able get representative data for all of those groups.

    What works for one will not work for the other.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Re:

    aka, signal to noise ratio... much more noise!

     

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  9.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 10:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Even with the "connections" that FMC has, they are still only touching a very small part of the entire market.

    This is factually incorrect, but okay.

    The sample size by category is likely to be too small to draw conclusions.

    You seem to have misunderstood. They are reaching out to a smaller group initially just to talk to a variety of artists and get a feel for what they have to say, and once they feel they have a strong enough grasp, will then open it up wide to any musician. You seem to have ignored the latter part.

    But, either way, the point of this is not an overall "survey," but to highlight the different revenue streams. Assuming that the sample size is too small, the very worst that would happen is that they would undercount the streams.

    I am also not clear that they have good contacts for garage to arena size acts

    In other words, you know nothing about FMC so you're making it up.

    Okay.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In other words, you know nothing about FMC so you're making it up.

    No, I am saying it isn't clear to me. I haven't studied the group in detail, nor do I really care to. I just think that this has the potential to be another misleading collection of non-facts and personal experiences that doesn't add up to much, except perhaps to give you some more biased material to work from. Viva la Masnick Effect! :)

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 11:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So basically, you don't know anything, but your bias is so hard-set that you're going to dismiss it despite having absolutely no knowledge whatsoever.

    Good to know we can dismiss everything you say right off the bat.

     

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  12.  
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    The eejit (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:26am

    Re:

    Or SoundExchange. OR corn farmers. Or porn stars. Or even Satan and God, though lots of people claim it as such.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 3:38am

    Anything that hastens the end of the Music Label System would be a good thing for artists and consumers.

     

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  14.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, but not the way you mean it. I am talking about the redistribution of wealth, from the labels to the artists but spread out over 5 million artists. Making the labels irrelevant or non-viable.

    Photography went through a similar thing. Everyone carries a decent camera today and some of them are learning how to use the cameras. Like the monkey typing forever, eventually everyone takes a good shot. Making "professional" photographers irrelevant or non-viable as a business.

    Market Glut at its best.

     

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  15.  
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    Casey, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 4:57am

    a few points of clarification

    Thanks for the mention, Mike.

    It is te that this is a multiple-methodology project, which includes batch case studies and a wider survey in conjunction with Pew Internet.

    What I personally love about the former -- besides the fact that we do have really great contacts who have been incredibly gracious with their financial data and experiences -- is that it is a remarkably diverse sample set. Big acts and small acts across genres.

    What we're hoping for the survey portion is to magnify that approach. The self-selection issue will hopefully be mitigated by the wide net we're casting.

    At the end of the day, there's really been no real attempt to figure out how, say, a small chamber orchestra musician or a modern jazz composer draws revenue in the new market. Even with the huge acts, there could stand to be some data. We're just as curious as everyone else, and we think that it would be great to have some real info that isn't necessarily reflective of the major recording industry's preferred numbers. But we'll see.

    And yes, Mike, we are planning on releasing all the data publicly, andwill be presenting key component info along the ay to the full report. Wait to you see the interactive graphs. They are HAWT.

     

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  16.  
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    Casey, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 5:00am

    iPad haste

    Hopefully you get the gist of the above comment. If you wanna know more, our door is open.

     

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  17.  
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    John D (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 5:56am

    Wait, artists make money nowadays?! It certainly won't be from album sales. This should be an easy exercise.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hi my personal troll. No, sorry, you are wrong.

    I know plenty. What I know is that casually asking people you know "how are things going" won't get you a very good data set. Those who are succeeding are likely not to tell it all, and those who are doing poorly but trying to keep up a brave face will lie through their teeth about what is working.

    It isn't very scientific, and unless the group has a truly massive connection to the community in question, they will be getting at best subset data from people who want to talk. Not exactly going to give a great result, except it is very likely to fill their pre-selected desired result. In that regard, they are using the Masnick Effect. :)

     

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  19.  
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    Ted Burner, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 6:05am

    Interesting Project

    I am just going to wait to see what the results from this project are. With all the music piracy on the internet today I donít know what to say.

     

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  20.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It isn't very scientific, and unless the group has a truly massive connection to the community in question, they will be getting at best subset data from people who want to talk. Not exactly going to give a great result, except it is very likely to fill their pre-selected desired result."

    They are asking if you are willing to give up financial information if you go throught the questionare. I think that will make the results more accurate as the ones putting on a good show can be weeded out. As I said before. With how connected the world is. You need to know how the fans forward info and links, how the artist relates to the fans, what the fans preferences are music wise, etc. to get a clear picture.

    The best they can come up with is a rough "7 habits of effective artists". Mike has already done that but hasn't put it down as a single list yet.

     

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  21.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    aka, signal to noise ratio... much more noise!

    As I replied to this in another post....so what?

    I would rather the market decide which is noise and which is signal rather than you or some other executive deciding it for everyone else.

    The internet is designed to be a 2-way communication system. Which means that the days of controlled media hype are dying. Media hype on the internet is by nature uncontrollable, it can go whichever way it wants to (ala Streisand Effect). I believe this really scares the middleman in the recording industry because they can no longer decide which group they will hedge their bets on, pour all their resources into marketing them to create a market for them to sell their product.

    With the internet, the music industry has had their playing field leveled to some degree and now face the same risks that any other business faces - that there is no guaranteed profit in a free market.

     

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  22.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "With the internet, the music industry has had their playing field leveled to some degree and now face the same risks that any other business faces - that there is no guaranteed profit in a free market."

    Really nicely said!!!

     

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  23.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "But, either way, the point of this is not an overall "survey," but to highlight the different revenue streams. Assuming that the sample size is too small, the very worst that would happen is that they would undercount the streams."

    Thanks, I missed "Revenue Streams" part. I take back about half of what I said in the comments for this post.

    I would really like to see the list they come up with for revenue stream. Then check if they are viable methods for the record labels. It might change my end date on the record labels upwards.

     

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  24.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm beginning to think that the Masnick Effect means something like becoming a troll magnet.

     

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  25.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Financial numbers of any sort will be useful

    It's really difficult to get any artists/bands to publicly provide their income/expense figures.

    I've seen the math for those I have worked with. And I have gotten some numbers from others in casual conversation: "What did you make on that gig?" "Where do you buy your merch and what do they charge you?"

    Whatever FMC is able to turn up will be more than we have now. It may or may not be representative of all musicians (and if it isn't, I'm sure people will point it out), but collecting at least a small pool of examples will be helpful for those of us wanting to know who is making what in this business.

    The current situation, where people tell us they are successful, but then don't provide actual numbers, isn't very helpful. I'd learn something even if just a few bands/artists are saying: "This is what we make. This is how we make it. This is how we spend it."

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's adorable, you having your very own meme.

     

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  27.  
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    Kristin Thomson, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    List of revenue streams

    Casey answered a lot of questions above, but as one of the project directors I do encourage interested folks to look at the list of the 29 revenue streams that we posted back in October 2009 that take into account the difference between the money generated by the use of the musical composition (mechanicals, PRO royalties, sheet music sales), the sound recording, performances, plus income musicians can make off their brand (merch, persona licensing, etc) or knowledge of craft.
    http://futureofmusic.org/blog/2009/10/14/29-streams

    This revenue streams list has been reviewed by a handful of copyright experts and artist attorneys, but if anyone can think of others, please feel free to contact me.

    As to the reasons behind this research. We are as curious as a lot of people who read Techdirt about musicians' livelihood. Technological innovations have certainly changed the landscape and make it easier for musicians to *access* the marketplace, but how have these changes affected musicians' ability to *make a living*, if at all? Analyses up to this point have been mostly anecdotal, or based on top-down data that only looks at one revenue stream (say, digital download sales). What will be find out? We have some hypotheses, but we won't know until we do the work. We look forward to sharing the results widely.

    If anyone wants to know more about the project's methodology or specific research components, I am happy to discuss.
    http://futureofmusic.org/article/research/artist-revenue-streams

     

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  28.  
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    john, Feb 4th, 2011 @ 3:57pm

    It was not claimed to be a representative survey

    It is a research project . It is not a election opinion type of survey of: "how will the average person vote" . It is actively seeking the views of artists who are taking up business models that are (by definition) different to the median model of the past 60 years and thus it will by definition not give a picture of the average (well known) business model. And that is exactly the purpose and value of such research.

     

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  29.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 4th, 2011 @ 4:10pm

    Re: List of revenue streams

    Something that has changed drastically over the past few years is licensing music to TV shows and movies. Because so many musicians are now trying to supplement their incomes via this route, music supervisors know they can pay less and still get the music they want. The same with movie composers. The competition has increased and therefore for many composers the payouts are less.

    And this recent article gives another reason why getting your music in a movie doesn't pay you as much as it did.

    Cutting Edge Tries New Model for Film Music - NYTimes.com: "But music budgets have been dwindling for at least a decade, as piracy, cheap downloads and collapsing CD sales made it virtually impossible for film producers to recoup from hit soundtracks the money they spend on music."

     

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  30.  
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    tilini, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 4:22am

    catalog artist?

    What is a catalog artist?

     

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