£££: Top 1% of musicians earn 77% of all revenue in recorded music

Top 1% of musicians earn 77% of all revenue in recorded music

Study reveals a remarkable disparity in the music industry’s distribution of wealth.

recently-published piece on The Atlantic has revealed a number of interesting facts about the state of the music industry in 2014.

Titled “The Shazam Effect”, the piece states that the top 1% of musicians earn 77% of all the revenue generated across the music industry. This is largely put down to the increasing digitisation and streamlining of the music industry – particularly in the major label market. 

Artists’ social media presence is stated as an increasingly important factor of their career prospects. Alongside all major labels (and presumably a number of independents too), New York-based music analytics company Next Big Sound analyses Spotify, Instagram and other social media sentiment to compile a yearly top 100 list of artists it expects to break through over the following twelve months – a data scientist with Next Big Sound is quoted in the article as stating, “If you signed our top 100 artists, 20 of them would make the Billboard 200.”  

The potential impact of this on new and underground bands is, obviously, huge. However, those who do manage to break through should expect far greater dividends than previous generations were granted – supposedly a hit has far greater impact in the modern musical world than ever before. “Even though the amount of digital music sold has surged,” the article explains, “the 10 best-selling tracks command 82 percent more of the market than they did a decade ago.”

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