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Thursday, January 24, 2013

10 Levels Of Artist Income

Here's a great post from Digital Music News from a while back that looks at the 10 levels of artist income. You'll see a picture who's size is commensurate with the amount of income, then find an explanation underneath.

I never have to work another day in my life, thanks to my royalties and other music-related revenues. If I go on tour or make new music, it's because I want to. I can live a fairly outrageous, lavish lifestyle, and enjoy this healthy stream of income for the rest of my life.
I never have to work another day in my life, thanks to my royalties, touring receipts, and other music-related revenues. However, it could run out: although I can live quite comfortably, I have some budget considerations and long-term financial planning to consider.  
I am making a very substantial amount of money from my music, but I cannot retire. I tour, release albums, and write songs, not only because I want to but because - frankly - I have to.
I am a middle–class musician, producer, or other music-related professional who makes a decent, livable wage that supports not only myself, but my family as well.  I can put some money into long-term investments, like retirement funds, property, etc., and can get a kid or two through college. 
I'm a working musician, producer, or other music-related professional, and making a decent, livable wage that barely supports myself. Or, I can cover the costs of a team, touring expenses, and my own expenses, but not much else.
I am not quite breaking even, but staging full tours, creating serious recordings, and hiring others to help manage things like digital distribution, tour management, and social networking.   
I am making the equivalent of a minimum wage salary and surviving off of my music.
I make a modest amount of money from my music, but I must work another job at least part-time to survive.
I make little to no money from my music, and rely entirely on other sources of income. I may not be trying to generate income from my music, but still face some expenses related to this hobby. 
I've unfortunately given up, due to financial challenges related to making music. I'd blame this partly on piracy, and the generally low level of compensation from most performance outlets. I've found another profession, or am looking for another profession.
I can't tell if this is depressing or not. Which one are you?


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Jef Knight said...

Since I was a child in the 60's my only hero was Gomez Addams, from the Addams Family.

As much as I wanted fame and forture, I saw the later as more important but the music industry at that time prefered to pay in the fame any time they could.

I played, recorded and toured from 1975 to 1991, opened my recording studio in '85, and socked away my dosh.

I was never into the whole musician lifestyle and I hated the people I met in the industry, sleezeballs and druggies, which made it hard for me to care about the music biz.

So I had landed at #6.

All I really wanted to ever do was write and record music. I'm a fine arts guy, but I wanted to be a recording arts guy and make audio paintings. There's not much of a demand for people like me.

So that still meant I had to either slog it out playing cover's I hated live or get a real job. Or be Gomez Addams.

So I took all my dosh and began investing in the stock market. Turns out I was good at it.

I'm now a #10.

I was able to achieve my primary goal of funding myself via the market so that I didn't have to work or play crappy gigs, unless I wanted to. I retired when I was 39, bought an estate with a pool and built a great little composition studio where I spend my days writing and recording music, as nature intended.

I have managed released 19 albums (#20's on the way), have another 10 I haven't released and another 30 or so that I hope to live long enough to release. I guess I'm nothing if not prolific. I've done film scores and soundtracks have had 5 cable access TV show and get tons of critical acclaim in my region.

Thanks Gomez. Now, lets go blow up the train set...musically speaking.


Puiu said...


It would be really interesting if you could find how many musicians are in each category.
In my opinion most of them live day by day with little to no income. (a really harsh live) - respect for those who actually continue living like this and still make good music.

Nichole said...

Bobby, I see the focus here on traditional musician paradigms and I did see your helpful Youtube Revenue Article. Since we're in a unique time of history esp. in the music industry, what about those “touring musicians who don't have to tour but who love to tour?” The ones who have built their own Passive Income Streams- from scratch in utilizing free advertising via other types of legitimate internet income..and not dependent upon 1 type of internet income stream(since google owns youtube)... that totally covers the majority if not all of their expenses(no joke here)? Particularly the ones who have never been on a major record label and who may never be on an independent label but who are just as passionate about playing live as any other major artist, “who love to tour 60 or 200 dates out of each and every year” the ones whose music may only be received well at certain aesthetic venues. Do you have upcoming articles with interviews on those musicians who have done that or at present doing that? Which musician(s) in the US or Otherwise is having this type of Abundance?

Rand Bliss said...

...depressing or not...?

Here's two examples from one extreme to another



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