The Average US Musician Makes Almost $5,500 Less Than the Average American

A survey of about 5,000 US musicians turned up a troubling fact:  they make less that the average Joe.  Quite a bit less, too.

The average gross 12-month income for a music professional was $55,561.  Deduct taxes and other non-negotiable expenses and you come up with a net of #34,466.  The average non-musician nets $39,945.

Full details at Hypebot.  Tell me again how it’s fair to download music for free?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “The Average US Musician Makes Almost $5,500 Less Than the Average American

  • December 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Sadly people will still try to find a reason to justify their music theft. Even more sad is that it doesn't have to cost a lot to legally support music if cash flow is your issue. Look at services like Rdio. 10 to 15 bucks a month for almost anything you want! Granted the artists share of that minimal revenue is miniscule at least it's something.

    I'll still purchase music, especially from independent label bands/artists. They entertain me for endless hours it's the least I can do.

  • December 6, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    The idea that the "average" musician could make a living from their recordings is a myth. Most musicians, even those with record deals, never made a dime from their recordings.

    Even back in the days when record companies had a monopoly on distribution, and artists were signing big fat contracts, it was only the biggest hit-makers who made any money on actual recordings. First record contracts especially are notoriously bad for artists, and there are plenty of stories of bands owing their labels money after having reasonably successful records.

    This isn't to say that there aren't other major differences in the industry that are affecting revenues. Radio & MTV used to make stars because of their great influence; that is no longer the case. It is now much harder for any musician to build a real following. But this has nothing to do with recording revenues, and everything to do with the Internet & digital media.

    The way to make money as a musician is to perform. Practice your ass off to perfect your craft, tour relentlessly and build a fan base.


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