By Jeff Price
In the words of President Obama, ” … if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts, we are not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side shows and carnival barkers…”
This “average income” conversation is the strangest I think I have come across in quite some time. We are sitting in the middle of a transformation of a sector and the conversation is about a silly useless statistic around dividing Lady Gaga’s income into other people’s bottom line?
Sorry to disappoint anyone, but the truth is just not that exciting, but here it is: some artists make a lot of money from the sale of their music, others make a moderate amount and many more make very little. This is just as it has always been (and will continue to be). I’m not certain what the point is around this average income statistic – it would be the same as stating the average amount of money for a band on a major label is Lady Gaga + Eminem + Jay-Z’s income added into all the other bands and then divided. Huh?
(On a side note, artists signed to major labels typically did not make their money off the sale of their music but via other income streams. Artists today can make revenue off of all income streams)
May we all agree that there will be fewer superstars than non-superstars and move on to the real story? Despite the traditional music industry releasing less music now than at any point over the past 15 years there is actually more music being distributed, bought, sold, streamed, shared, discovered and generating revenue for more artists/songwriters than at any point in history. Is it not more important or interesting that the gatekeepers are gone and that there are hundreds of thousands of artists who, for the first time, have: access to distribution, the opportunity to be discovered and are actually making at least some money off their art?
In addition, the revenue these artists are generating–no matter how little or much–is coming in from a variety of sources, some new and some old.
No, not everyone is a mega-superstar–to suggest as much is ridiculous (the major labels have a historical 98% failure rate). Yes, there are mega-superstars, but now also a larger strata of musicians and labels who are able to generate revenue, fame and notoriety through their craft and businesses.
Some of these artists will be signed to record labels, others will do it themselves, and some will have other types of deals.
Let’s not get distracted from the true changes and issues at hand by the side shows and carnival barkers who make up silly little numbers to be sensational in an attempt to drive web traffic .
(By the way, if you add up the ad dollars from the Huffington Post, TechCrunch and all of AOL and Google’s blogs, and divide, you will end up with the average amount of ad dollar money a blog will generate.)