More Musicians Making More Money Now Than Ever

image from upload.wikimedia.org Nick Mason of Pink Floyd got interviewed by BCC. He's been appointed to co-chairman of the Featured Artists' Coalition and is challenged with the task of giving acts advice on how to navigate the new industry climate. Like others, Mason recants that it's tougher to make a living off music. It's difficult to break through. Pink Floyd had opportunities that other groups just won't get today.

And imagine that, back then, without buying a record, fans couldn't hear music.

There are many groups around now, but it's a tougher journey to the top. If this sounds like something you've heard before, it's because you have. Not that there isn't some truth to it. But, are things really that dire for up-and-coming artists?

Plus, artists today can argue otherwise. It's they who have opportunities that Pink Floyd never had. They can get their music funded by their fans, upload their album to iTunes in an instant, and connect to their fans directly—without a PR.

Thinking about this, I am reminded of that often said remark that more musicians are making more money from their music now than at any other point in history.

In regards to questions raised about a blog post that TuneCore CEO Jeff Price wrote, he illustrated this assertion rather well. Reviewing Manson's claims and listening to what Price has to say about this, I had to side with Price. Yes, it's harder to become Pink Floyd. The point that he's likely making. But, it's also easier to not be Pink Floyd too. Price frames the argument in these terms:

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  1. There are more artists making money off of their music nowadays, that’s pretty obvious no?
    It’s just a lot easier nowadays for bands to do absolutely everything themselves.
    From marketing to merch to even tours (backofthevan is reducing this cost for a lot of artists), it makes sense for a lot of musicians to earn a healthy income (With a a large fanbase…) by going it on their own and keeping as much profit for themselves as they can.

  2. There’s more artists making hardly anything. I am in a band that does everything by themselves but when you run the numbers of how much you make compared with the time you put in plus the money you’ve spent to get to this point, you are making less than minimum wage. And it’s harder to get tothat next level because labels don’t have money to put into an artists growth, so yeah there may be more artists, but most even bands that are selling out small venues aren’t making shit, touring is expensive. I hate articles like this with an idealistic view of how it works. CD sales and touring are still your main sources of revenue. So no you dont need labels, but hopefully you havea rich telative because you still need money for PR, tour support, travel, per diem… Very few people are making anything, you’d better really love it.

  3. The 1960-1995 was just a short historical blip where artists could make money out from released music. We are now back to the normal historical timeline with either live playing or having a sponsor/patriot for musicians and artists. There are some exceptions, film/game music.

  4. If you follow the careers of musicians who have always been unsigned and doing it themselves, I think you’ll find that their individual incomes have not increased. Gigs are harder to come by than in the past and what those gigs pay per band tend to be less than in the past. Bands that used to sell CDs (and before that cassettes) directly to fans at shows aren’t likely to be selling as many of them as before and if they are, they are selling them for less per unit. Even if they are now selling more merchandise and vinyl, the margins on those tend to be lower than they used to be on CDs and fans just don’t buy as many t-shirts as they did albums.
    Overall spending in the US on entertainment went down from 2008 to 2009 (I can show you the figures). Plus you have more entertainment spending outlets, so logically there’s going to be less money going to musicians than in the past.
    And the places that used to provide salaried music jobs, like schools, are cutting back, too.
    When people say musicians are making more money now, they tend to cite artists who used to be on major labels who are now unsigned. Sure, they may be keeping more money from album sales. But if you are citing working musicians who were making their money on their own 10 years ago and who are still doing it now, I doubt that they will report things are better now.

  5. “More Musicians Making More Money Now Than Ever”
    Sure!…That’s what she said.
    Of course more musicians are earning money, but none of that equates to real income that could even serve as a part-time job.

  6. This is the best bunch of replies for a Hypebot post ever. Bottom line: ignore anyone who has a service to sell. Listen to other bands – they won’t have the answers, but they’ll have the skill sets and the experience to tell you what does and doesn’t work.
    Seriously, like the rest of the guys posting here, I’m am sick of the relentless assertions of how great everything is from people who have everything to gain from perpetuating the myth.
    I’m not saying that people that go to the gym regularly don’t need a gym membership. But I am aware that the model is based on those who don’t use or need the facilities yet still let the money go out every month.
    I like Tunecore I think it’s a good service. But I’m not going to let some guy from Tunecore tell me how it is.
    In fact you know what? I’m pretty tired of everyone telling me and everyone else how it is. Only the bands know. We should all talk more.

  7. I think a lot of the comments come down to mindset: is the glass half empty or half full? I think it’s hard to deny that there are more opportunities for bands to make money than ever before, but that doesn’t mean that they will or that it will come easy.
    The musicians who are willing to learn about the business and marketing end of things will have the advantage. Adversity is the price of admission to success, nobody is going to just show up and offer you a career. If something isn’t working, change it up. Too many people keep employing the same tactics expecting different results – not going to happen.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.
    The services out there aren’t evil, but it’s up to you to choose which ones to use and when to use them. Every band is different and what works for one won’t necessarily work for the next.
    Bottom line, think for yourself. Try things out, experiment. Stop doing what doesn’t work and do more of what’s working. You’re going to stub your toe from time to time when you’re fumbling around in the dark until you figure out what works best for you.
    It’s not good or bad, just how it is. Deal with it and move on or quit while you’re ahead. The choice is yours.

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