MUSIC BUSINESS Q&A:
Kaitlin Curtin asks:
In terms of the Big Top you said that about 10% make it and they make 99% of the money. The music industry has changed so much over the last few years in terms of how money is being made -- has that changed the percent of profit that the Big Top musicians are making? In other words, are the musicians who are not considered to be at the Big Top making more money these days because of things such as MySpace, Facebook, and other such technologies, or is the division of profit still about the same?
If an artist lacks ambition and wants to sit around and wait for the business to come to him, find another act. This is the most competitive environment on the planet and with the easy entry provided by digimodernization only the most aggressive and inspired artists will reach the survival plateau.
Only 10% of the bands competing will make a living from music without having to have a day job. They will share 99% of the money spent on music. The other 1% will be earned by the remaining 90% who will compete for a time and then get sucked down the black hole of broken dreams. Bands marketing themselves on MySpace, Facebook, will split that 1% without record company support. The ones who are truly talented will grow there fanbase and reach the survival level.
The tough part about this equation is that the top 1% of artists will split 90% of all money spent on concerts and recordings. This is a core principal that does not change. It is a very small, elite group who battle their way to The Big Top, and to whom most of the fame and fortune accrues.
We are experiencing the emergence of an entire generation of musicians who have received an extraordinary amount of musical training. They start younger with "toys" like Guitar Hero and Rock Band and many, experiencing the thrill of performing are inspired to take up "real" instruments. These fledgling artists enter the competition early and grow faster.
With thousands of colleges and universities around the country presenting majors in songwriting, recording and performing curricula, these musicians are learning more than the few chords utilized by the originators of rock & roll. These students are also being taught the systems, mechanics, protocols and politics of the every evolving music industry.
After graduation, college educated musicians will combine their musical talents with their accumulated knowledge of how to execute business strategies. They will create a new, sophisticated quality of music that will inspire their peer groups to support their favorite bands. It is even possible that the bonding experience created at live performances might inspire the public top pay for the music.
They may already have "shared" the artist's music, or why are they at your show in the first place. However, the connection between artist and audience is strengthened at live events and the fans saw MTV, they know when they buy the CDs and T-shirts at your gig that they are contributing to your survival. The artist's survival will depend on their ability to attract, nourish and maintain a relationship with the fans who respond to their music and are willing to come back for more.