The 1 Percent: Income Inequality Has Never Been Worse Among Touring Musicians… | Digital Music News

One of the mantra’s that we always hear about the internet and musicians is that the revenue has shifted from recording sales to live ticket sales. So the great accomplishment of the internet according to Silicon Valley wisdom (and Steven Johnson of the NY Times Mag) is that artists can hit the road. “The dream of the 90s is alive, the 1890s…”

Well, if you’re not an established hit artist, here’s how that is working out in the post-napster era. Oh, and by the way, songwriters don’t tour, record producers don’t tour, recording engineers don’t tour… well, you get the point. Here’s the stat as reported by Digital Music News.

Note that in 1982 almost 40% of the revenue was divided between the “bottom” 95% of artists, while in 2003 they received only 15% of all revenue.

Could it be that these top-grossing artists benefited from launching in an era when artists didn’t have to be in the top 1% to develop a healthy live following over years of touring?


One thought on “The 1 Percent: Income Inequality Has Never Been Worse Among Touring Musicians… | Digital Music News

  1. There are a few stats that I think would be worth having here. Like… How many recorded songs does the average person listen to in a given month? Of that recorded music, how many different acts does the average person listen to? How often does the average person go to and pay for a live concert of some kind? What these stats would show us is that the average person listens to a ton of recorded music, but rarely goes to shows. Yes almost the entire population listens to recorded music and only a small percentage goes to shows at all. The fact of the matter is most people do not like the concert environment and there is nothing you can do to change their view on that. What they do like is recorded music delivered to their homes, cars, workplaces, and nearly every else they want to be. And it happens to cost a great deal of time and money to create high quality recorded music.

    Essentially what we have now is a tiny handful of people who happen to go to shows subsidizing the costs of recorded entertainment for everyone else. Which can offer one explanation as to why concert attendance is going down. As live show costs have increased to subsidize the cost of recorded content, that has worked to decrease the already small percentage of people that make up the concert going population. Any honest economist would tell you this is a flawed model doomed to fail.

    The fact is good recorded music takes a lot of time and money to create. And people use and enjoy what it provides. It is not up to the techy’s – or anyone else for that matter – to suggest that musicians no longer have a right to make money from their main creative product.

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