The Superstar Artist Economy: Artist Income and the Top 1%

The 20,000 Foot View

Since the advent of piracy artists have been told that they need not worry about declining music sales because their core business is making money from live and merchandise.  At a headline level, macro music industry revenues appear to support the argument, but those numbers give little indication of the income that actually flows back to the artist nor of the impact of the hyper-concentration of revenue among the top 1% of artists.

Key Findings (Data Points Are Removed From This Preview Summary)

  • Total music industry revenue declined by X% between 2000 and 2013, down from $X billion to $X billion in 2013.
  • Artist income peaked at $X billion in 2008 before declining to $X billion in 2013, back below 2006 levels.
  • Though higher than 2000 levels the X% artist share of total revenue is lower than a 2010 X% high.
  • Artist share of income ranges from X% for recorded music to X% for publishing.
  • Recorded music delivers the least proportionate value to artists and artists get less from a recorded music retail dollar than they do from other income sources.
  • Music merchandise accounted for just X% of global music industry revenue in 2013.
  • Informal and illegal secondary ticketing represents X% of all live revenue, none of which flows further down the live value chain.
  • Expenses are the largest single component of the live value chain, accounting for X% of all revenue.

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