30,000 Musical Acts Are Making A Living… But Is That Good Or Bad?
from the sounds-pretty-good dept
We’ve pointed out in the past that one of the big “myths” that supporters of old industry (i.e., gatekeeper) business models like to express is that since not everyone is a success with new business models, it’s proof that those business models don’t work. Except, no one has ever claimed that embracing new models means you’re guaranteed to be a success. All we’ve said is that if you embrace the models properly you can be better off than you would be otherwise. That doesn’t mean you’ll make a living. It just means that it enables you to make more than you would have otherwise.
Yet, for some reason, the strawman claim lives on. Witness, for example, the glee some industry supporters are expressing at the “news” relayed by Ian Rogers of Topspin (based on data from Ian Hogarth at Songkick) that “only” between 25,000 and 30,000 musical acts are making a “living,” these days. This leads to the claim that these numbers are “depressingly slim.” I’m not sure I believe that. First of all, that report (by Paul Resnikoff) misstates what was said in Rogers’ actual talk: that 25,000 to 30,000 acts were making a living. Resnikoff changes that to 25,000 to 30,000 “artists.” Since many bands include a lot more than one artist, the actual number of artists making a living is much higher. Second, no one seems to be stating how many acts were “making a living” before. Is it more or less? On top of that, this only counts “touring bands.” There are plenty of people who make their living in music outside of touring — and this count ignores all of them.
I’m reminded of the reports in the early 90s, as personal computers were becoming popular in companies, of studies that showed giving employees computers did not help company productivity. Of course, that was because many companies and employees didn’t really know how to use them yet. Within a few years, no one was questioning the productivity gains allowed by computers. Watch the new business models more carefully, and watch as more people understand and adopt them, and then we’ll see the old industry apologists start to run out of things to say.