Could the Music Industry’s Downfall Leave Artists Unscathed?

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As labels falter and lose revenue, artists have seen marketing budgets slashed and albums sales plummet. It doesn’t take a genius to see the correlation between album sales and artist revenue. Conventional wisdom suggests that as labels fail so do artists. Surprisingly, a new study challenges that hypothesis with solid data suggesting that artists’ income has increased in the face of label failure. The study tracks artist income vs. label income in the UK from three main sources, live revenue, recorded music revenue and publishing, and concludes that artists are actually making more money as labels make less. Although the study is based on the UK, its methodology makes it just as relevant to US artists. Contrary to the complaints of the FIAA, the downfall of recorded music appears to have artists still standing. Even as the future of labels is in jeopardy, the future of artists remains on solid ground. One issue with the study’s results, however, is that the data for specific artists and genres is unavailable. This leaves the study’s results open to speculation about exactly where the increased artist revenue is going. Is it shared by emerging groups or just further enriching aging stadium fillers like the Rolling Stones? Nonetheless, the study injects some much needed qualitative data into the debate over the future of music. Check it out here.