Mainstream Press Waking Up To The News That Musicians Are Making More Money
from the took-'em-long-enough dept
I believe that we were the first publication to report on the study released by PRS in the UK, way back in July, indicating that overall music revenue was up, even as the sale of recorded music was dropping. It showed how live revenue was making up a good part of the difference, and other aspects of the business were making up more than the rest. While we’ve pointed to that study numerous times in the meantime, we’ve been quite surprised that no mainstream press picked up on this seemingly remarkable news — as it went against the prevailing favored narrative (as pushed by the RIAA) that the music industry was in trouble. Especially when combined with the recent Harvard study by Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf, that also showed that revenue in the overall music ecosystem was significantly higher today than in the past, it really was quite amazing that the press (and politicians) continued to spread the lie that the music industry was in some sort of trouble. It’s not. It’s only the business of selling plastic discs that’s in trouble.
The good news is that the mainstream press seems to finally be waking up to this. As a bunch of you sent in, the Times Online in the UK has published a nice study highlighting the PRS numbers, complete with some very nice charts, showing that musicians themselves are making more than ever. The other interesting part: for all the talk about how recorded music sales losses are hurting artists, the chart proves the point we’ve made over and over again: musicians see such a tiny part of recorded music sales that this has had almost no impact on their revenue at all. The amount of money musicians make from recorded revenue has remained just about constant.
Source: Times Online Labs blog
Now, some people have raised some concerns over the numbers — specifically, there have been some claims that the “live” numbers are distorted due to so-called “heritage” acts and legacy acts, who have been around forever and still pack large stadiums with increasingly higher ticket prices. And, indeed, that almost certainly has some impact on the numbers. It would be nice to see a similar report that starts to break out some of the details — and we’ve been talking to a few people who are trying to dig deeper into the amount of “live” and “alternative” revenue streams to better understand where the money is going. Hopefully we’ll have more complete data soon, but the initial things I’ve seen suggest that the original point remains true. Artists across the entire spectrum of the industry are making more in live revenues than they have in the past — and, in part, the increase in live revenue is due to file sharing. In talking to different musicians, we’ve been hearing plenty of stories about how they’re strategically pushing free versions of their songs on local audiences before embarking on tours or even individual shows — and they’re seeing larger turnouts than in the past because of it.
Hopefully, with more mainstream publications finally picking up on this, both the press and politicians will begin to recognize that the only real “crisis” in the music industry is for those who have stupidly relied on selling plastic discs for way too long. There are plenty of revenue opportunities for musicians, and because of that (in combination with better and cheaper tools for music creation), the actual music industry is thriving at levels never seen before.