Labels may be losing money, but artists are making more than ever

The Times Labs blog takes a hard look at the data on music sales and live performances and concludes that while the labels' profits might be falling, artists are taking in more money, thanks to the booming growth of live shows. The Times says that they'd like more granular data about who's making all the money from concerts -- is there a category of act that's a real winner here? -- but the trend seems clear. The 21st century music scene is the best world ever for some musicians and music-industry businesses, and the worst for others. Which raises the question: is it really copyright law's job to make sure that last years winners keep on winning? Or is it enough to ensure that there will always be winners?

Why live revenues have grown so stridently is beyond the scope of this article, but our data - compiled from a PRS for Music report and the BPI - make two things clear: one, that the growth in live revenue shows no signs of slowing and two, that live is by far and away the most lucrative section of industry revenue for artists themselves, because they retain such a big percentage of the money from ticket sales.

(It's often claimed that live revenues are only/mostly benefitting so-called 'heritage acts'. Unfortunately, the data doesn't shed any light on this because live revenues are not broken down by type of act, gig size or ticket price.)..

It's interesting too that, overall, industry revenues have grown in the period - though admittedly not by much - which arguably adds strength to the notion that, when the BPI releases its annual report claiming how much 'the music industry' has suffered from the growth in illegal file-sharing, what it perhaps should be saying is how much the record labels have suffered.

The graph the record industry doesn't want you to see (via We Make Money Not Art)
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