Yet Another Study Shows Musicians Making More Money
from the well,-look-at-that dept
We’ve made the argument repeatedly that saying unauthorized file sharing is hurting the music business lacks evidence. Instead, what we’ve seen, over and over again, is that more money is pouring into the music business, more music is being produced and (most importantly) that more musicians who embrace this new world are doing better than they would have otherwise. Now, we’ve pointed to research in the UK, Sweden and the US that have all shown aggregate growth for the music business, with some of the numbers suggesting more money going directly to musicians, rather than gatekeepers.
Total artist revenues have gone from NOK 208 million in 1999 to NOK 545 million in 2009, which is an increase of about 162%. Excluding state subsidization, the income from 1999 to 2009 has increased with NOK 229 million, or 147%….
According to this, Norwegian artists have seen an increase in all four of their income sources during the past eleven years. This goes contrary to the common belief that artists have seen a decline in income because of the digitalization of the industry.
The loss of record sales because of consequences of the digitalization of the industry has not affected the Norwegian artists in the same brutal way as it has the record companies. Artists earn in general 20% or less from record sales, and a decrease in record sales would most likely be compensated by an increase in one or more of the other three income sources.
Adjusted for inflation, total artist revenue has gone from NOK 255 million in 1999 to NOK 545 million in 2009, an increase of about NOK 290 million or 114%. Excluding state subsidizations, the increase has changed from NOK 192 million to NOK 386 million, which is an increase of NOK 194 million or 101% This goes to show that the artists themselves, as a group, have seen tremendous more growth than the industry as a whole.
And, yes, there are more musicians out there to split the pie, but the growth rate in the industry has increased more quickly than the growth in musicians.
Since the total number of artists in 1999 and 2009 are available to the authors, it is possible to calculate an average income from music for artists in Norway. With 3200 artists in 1999 the average income from music would be about NOK 65 000. With 4100 artists in 2009 the average income from music is about NOK 133 000, creating an increase of NOK 68 000 or 105%. Adjusted for inflation the income has increased with from about NOK 80 000 to NOK 133 000, an increase of NOK 53 000, an increase of 66%.
Overall, the results, like those in Sweden and the UK, seem to clearly debunk the repeated claims from recording industry folks (and some musicians) that artists are somehow suffering under this new setup. Now, there may absolutely be cases where artists who fail to adapt are struggling, and there’s no doubt that some labels that failed to adapt are struggling — but there’s increasingly little evidence that the overall music industry or artists as a whole are suffering. All of the evidence seems to suggest that it’s not file sharing that’s a problem at all. More money is going into the music business. The only problems are from those in the industry too stubborn or too clueless to adapt to capture the money that’s flowing in.