It's never been cheaper to distribute music, and recording costs are now fantastically inexpensive. That's old news, but it looks like marketing costs are actually increasing, and the number of artists making ends meet remains depressingly slim. In fact, the latest finding shows that less than 30,000 artists are actually earning a living, according to stats shared by Topspin CEO Ian Rogers at New Noise Santa Barbara over the weekend.
More specifically, the number is between 25,000 and 30,000, and the original source of that calculation is Songkick cofounder Ian Hogarth. Essentially, Hogarth analyzed his database of bands by the types of venues being played, and the likely incomes associated with that level of venue. "You can decide that number is slightly lower or slightly higher, you can argue about what the definition of making a living is, but it's probably on that order of magnitude," Rogers told the audience at the Canary Hotel in downtown Santa Barbara.
Meanwhile, the costs of actually marketing music effectively is increasing. "Technology has allowed the cost of production to come down, and the cost of distribution has come down," Rogers relayed. "But the cost of marketing has come up, because you have empowered consumers and unlimited choice."
Not only that, successful marketing is extremely time-consuming, resource-consuming, and the results highly unpredictable. Welcome to the new music industry, one whose real dynamics are just starting to come to light - and forcing entirely new approaches and expectations.