About the Project – FuturOfMusic.Org
The Importance of Understanding Musicians’ Revenue Streams
Meteoric transformations in the creation and distribution of music over the past ten years have drastically changed the landscape for musicians. New technologies like digital music stores, streaming services and webcasting stations have greatly reduced the cost barriers to the distribution and sale of music, and a vast array of new platforms and technologies — from blogs to Bandcamp to Twitter feeds — now help musicians connect with fans.
Many observers are quick to categorize these structural changes as positive improvements for musicians, particularly when compared with the music industry of the past. It’s true that musicians’ access to the marketplace has greatly improved, but how have these changes impacted musicians’ ability to generate revenue based on their creative work? Almost all analyses of the effects of these changes rest purely on assumptions that they have improved musicians’ bottom lines, or on top-level assessments of the music industry writ large, based on traditional metrics: number of albums sold, number of spins on radio, even stock price valuations.
Since our inception in 2000, Future of Music Coalition has strived to provide artists from all backgrounds and genres with valuable information about the issues that affect their ability to earn a living. Consequently, these questions about musicians’ ability to make a living from their music in the 21st century are critical. In 2010, FMC launched Artist Revenue Streams – a multi-stage research project to assess whether and how musicians’ revenue streams are changing in this new music landscape.