Case Study Of A Background Singer’s Financials: Mailbox Money and Union Support

20-feet-from-stardomFuture of Music Coalition (FMC) adds another case study to its ongoing Artist Revenue Streams project. The study looks at the financials of a background vocalist based on "income from her work as a session musician and background vocalist only – both in the studio and live on tour." The importance of "mailbox money" aka residuals are revealed as is the role of unions in negotiating and administering royalty agreements.

FMC's "Case Study: Background Vocalist" peels back more of the curtain raised in "20 Feet From Stardom."

The Background Vocalist who shared her financial records:

"performs regularly on network TV and in widely-released films. She also performs live on tour, and as a singer on many recordings. "

The study provides an individual look at the two key ways money is made by background vocalists:

"(1) from the initial performance or appearance, and (2) from residuals, often referred to as 'mailbox money.'"

Two important takeaways include:

"Mailbox money, or residual income, is important but unpredictable."

"Unions play a critical role in negotiating rates and managing residuals."

The union's role in negotiating residuals and royalties as well as collecting payments is an important piece of the puzzle.

The full report is available as a free download.

[Thumbnail image cover of "20 Feet From Stardom."]


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is currently relaunching All World Dance. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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