12% of music industry revenues go to musicians

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/08/buyers-markets-r-us.html


Obviously, this is all Pandora’s fault. /s


Increase competition by breaking up digital monopolists and content monopolists and block future anticompetitive mergers

You know, a breakup of Facebook and other big social media monopolies was suggested over at Breitbart in response to the Alex Jones stuff.

I suggested to one commenter that Reagan was rolling in his grave at the thought of conservatives busting up monopolies, and he told me it wasn’t funny and then he blocked me.

Ah yes, but Liberals are the overly sensitive “snowflakes”. Right.


Hehe. Seriously, though, could “snowflake” not be more descriptive of those guys?


Not surprised in the least.



I am. I would have guessed several points lower.


Re: “Guardians of the Galaxy” above: Shouldn’t that be James Gunn in lieu of “James Wood?”


I found out recently that it’s not uncommon for venues to take 20% from the merch sales of touring bands, which is pretty gross.




Hah, nevermind, confusing gross with score…


I’m curious if this number takes into consideration the recoup process or if it’s blind to it and is undervaluing the payments to musicians.

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It’s a wonder that musicians and other creative artists get even that much. After all, the folks in the content reselling industry are much more well-versed in playing the money game than are artists. When your goal is to acquire money, who you’re taking it from is not too important.


Musicians don’t need money. It’s all about the art, after all.


Honestly I’d thought it would be less than that.


So, the people who make music get 12% of the gross. Both sad and yet higher than I would have guessed. What percentage of gross do people who make sneakers and t-shirts get? I’m gonna guess it’s even lower - not a perfect analogy, mind you, but workers, be they artists or assembly line workers, generally are are screwed out of any meaningful percentage of the gross receipts by industry.


I suspect that the difficulty lies with the fundamental problem that until an artist reaches the very top, the artist is a whole lot more replaceable than the middle-man, be it publisher, music label, etc.

The fact that publishers gate-keep and deliver media in a convenient form really is more important (for most consumers) than the particular content they sell, as long as they have a wide enough variety that we’ll find something adequate. (This has been shaken a little by the Internet, but gate-keeping has become more vital as ease-of-entry has improved.)

As in any industry, if there are many more sellers than buyers, then the marketers become what’s really important.

And the same applies for other workers. My employer’s company relies on its coders, so theoretically I should be worth a lot (it makes a very good profit). But the reality is that I can be replaced in a heartbeat with someone different, but roughly as competent.

An artist’s skills are a little more peculiar, which is why they can be worth proportionately more (and sometimes a great deal more) than I am, but the principle is not that far off.

And to be honest, given the willingness of many people to pirate electronic copies who would never steal a book or an album, it’s pretty clear that a lot of people consider the value of an artist’s output to lie solely on the elements that are provided by the third party.

p.s. I really like the idea of copyright reverting back after a limited amount of time. Reality may tilt towards the middle-men, but there’s no reason not to push back a little against the natural power dynamic.

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How does that copyright reversion work? If I have a copyright, doesn’t that grant me exclusive use of whatever is copyrighted? So if I’ve signed over that copyright, and that copyright lapses because they only last 20 years, would that not then mean it was now public domain?

Sorry I’m quite sick and I’m sure there is a sensible explanation but I can’t see it

I wonder how it works for other creators? For example, what percent of Apple’s revenues goes to their engineers?

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I suspect 0%. They get a salary. But I suppose there’s the occasional $100 bonus for a really great innovation.

It’s called capitalism. Those that risk capital reap the most rewards. The workers that do the work are paid a pittance. Even if that work is creative work, it’s still not valued like cold hard investment cash.

Feel free to both hate the players and hate the game. But acknowledge this is this game we’ve implicitly agreed to play. We can certainly attempt to change the rules of the game, but fundamentally the framework is what it is barring a revolution.