Reports Music

Music creator survey, Q4 2021 Redefining success

Report by Tatiana Cirisano
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20,000 foot view:  As the barriers to music creation continue to lower, more creators enter the field, yet it is becoming harder than ever to earn a living through music, with a finite amount of revenue being split ever more ways. The majority of professional music creators do not earn meaningful income through their craft and must cobble together income from a diverse mix of sources to make ends meet. This is resulting in a recalibration of their objectives, with creators deprioritising fame to focus instead on more modest remuneration and recognition. As these goals clash with traditional music business models, existing stakeholders will need to evolve to meet the needs of the new landscape and the new generation of music creators.

Key insights 

  • Nearly half            music creators have never earned            from their music making, while            quarter are part-time professionals and            full-time professionals
  • Most professional            creators do not earn meaningful            from their craft, with part-time            earning an average of            annually            full-time professionals earning an average                       annually
  • Music creators            a fragmented mix of revenue            to make ends meet, half            which come from selling their            to other creators, and non-recording            is increasingly important
  • Age and            are not strongly correlated, reflecting            lowered barriers to entry for            today
  • In terms            goals and definitions of success,            creators overall are divided:            want            make a living from their            while            make music only for            fun of it – the            reflecting the emergence of the           
  • Full-time professional            creators strive for remuneration and            as            agree that their goal            to make a living from            alone, and            agree that being            and recognised in their scene            most
  •            are particularly            over-indexing for both seeking fame            wanting to make a living            music alone
  • The shift            creators’ objectives is driving many            the creator economy model of            high revenue from a small            of superfans, rather than low            from a mass, passive audience
  • As creators’            objectives and strategies are nearly            those of the traditional music            traditional stakeholders, like record labels            DSPs, will be forced to            if they want to continue            value to creators

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Artiphon, Bandcamp, BeatStars, ByteDance, Epic Games, Fortnite, Internet Money, Juice WRLD, Nick Mira, Orba, Orbacam, Resso, SoundOn, Soundtrap, Splice, Spotify, TikTok, UnitedMasters