Join Gretsch-Talk Today

How Much Do Artists Get Paid?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by drmilktruck, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    We'll make it happen. St. David is a hop, skip and jump from Stately Synchro Manor.
     
    MichaelHargis likes this.
  2. MichaelHargis

    MichaelHargis Electromatic

    91
    Apr 2, 2017
    Tombstone, Az
    That's Great! Made my day!!!
     
  3. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    We'll make it happen.
     
    MichaelHargis likes this.
  4. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    The ability to copy and not lose quality opened the door. Unfortunately, I fear that door will not be easy to close.
    Very true.
     
    MichaelHargis likes this.
  5. O Riley

    O Riley Gretschie

    241
    Jun 2, 2018
    Sunny California
    .
    Hell, I've worked my ass off my whole life to get were I'm at.
    On the side, I learned to play a mean bit of bad ass guitar.
    I never saw one women give a glance at the dentist.
     
  6. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    And every door is inevitably opened. If it hadn't beenNapster, it would have been something else. Businesses need to adapt to technology, not try to suppress it.
     
    MichaelHargis likes this.
  7. GuadaCom

    GuadaCom Electromatic

    6
    Sep 12, 2018
    New Braunfels, TX
    I heard a really interesting Ben Folds interview a while back in which he was saying that the days of millionaire, rock & roll super stardom are all but a relic of the past with very few exceptions. He made the argument that, if history is any indicator, millionaire musicians' days were numbered from the start. Looking back to the beginning of time, musicians, like other artists, were there to serve the elite. They were eccentric servants. With the exception of rock stars, the vast majority of artists have always fit that mould. And we have seen things moving back in that direction, even for rock and rollers, since the advent of the internet. Think about how many true rock stars there were at any given time from the late 60's to early 90's vs now. Even for those guys, touring was always more of a marketing tool and never a heavy revenue generator. They made their big money off of album sales and songwriting royalties. Because people now favor buying single songs off the internet rather than entire albums, the artists are, once again, relying on touring to make money. And, as it has been said throughout this thread, most of the ticket sales go towards production costs.
     
    drmilktruck and MichaelHargis like this.
  8. GuadaCom

    GuadaCom Electromatic

    6
    Sep 12, 2018
    New Braunfels, TX
    Maybe not at his dentistry technique, but they had a close eye on his wallet. :)
     
    PDogga, drmilktruck and MichaelHargis like this.
  9. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Very interesting point. when we think of the uber-successful artists of the further past - the Mozarts, Da Vinci's, etc. - most of them were supported by patrons - the super rich and powerful. This still survives in some forms - think symphonies, operas and some theaters that are more or less dependent on donors.

    Many people complain that art is controlled by a few, but the reality it has always been that way, from classical composers to musicains in the 50s and 60s - read this wiki entry about Payola. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payola

    While traveling artists have long been able to sustain themselves by consumers, it seems to be only in the recent past that one can become super rich through consumers - and this was arguably only made possible with technology that allows the content to be spread far and wide - recordings, broadcast, and now the internet.

    Interestingly, that technology has now pushed back; where technology once facilitated the profiting from selling music, it is not facilitating copying and never buying music. Musicians now tour more and perhaps charge more for shows for revenue.
     
    drmilktruck likes this.
  10. audept

    audept I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    70
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    I spent most of my life as a touring concert sound engineer. All the big money was made by the merchandising guys. Their biggest problem every night was how to stash huge amounts of cash until they could get it to a bank next day. The sound crew always offered to help.....;)
     
    wabash slim and drmilktruck like this.
  11. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    When I was in the business, and that in a very small way, the idea was to get someone to produce, promote and distribute a record, because records could make you some money. I remember hearing that in the ‘70s, bands toured to promote their record sales. I saw Pablo Cruise, the Steve Miller Band and the Eagles on the same bill for a ten spot at Metropolitian Stadium in Bloomington, MN, back in ‘78. The next day, you couldn’t find an Eagles record anywhere, they were sold out completely.

    This especially worked well in the singer/songwriter era, because if a band was savvy enough to retain publication rights to their own songs, they were paid mechanical rights for every copy of every song on the album. A ten song album with 1 hit, 2-3 decent non-hits and 6-7 songs no one cared about could produce a tidy sum if it would well, and the filler-material songs paid as well,as the hits.

    But duplication and distribution were the places where the most value was added. Even the best recording wasn’t worth much until you could press some records and get them distributed. A bit of airplay and some serious revenue could start to flow. Have even one hit and you will probably be able to hold a following for some years to come. It was a sweet deal, not always for the artist, but it was sweet for someone.

    Now it’s changed. Recording technology is easy to come by, so production costs can be inconsequential. I can duplicate and distribute on iTunes just like the big boys. Airplay is still valuable, but most of the albums I’ve bought in the last 10 years or so were either from forums or Amazon targeted suggestions based upon my prior buying history. I wouldn’t dream of making any money from a recording, certainly not enough to impact my life in any meaningful way, but it might be nice validation to sell a few recordings.

    I think we may have come full circle. Being a musician was not a path to riches for much of history. In the 20th century a lot of small town boys made good in the record biz, but that’s dwindling rapidly and I think that music is returning to folk art as opposed to the massive industry it once was.
     
    loudnlousy, drmilktruck and Henry like this.
  12. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Very true. In Mozart’s time there were poor local musicians who played weddings and other gatherings as a sideline, just like now.

    Eccentric Servants would make a good band name!
     
    wabash slim likes this.
  13. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    I would opine that has been the rule throughout history and the musical success stories of the 20th Century have been the exceptions to the rule. The 20th Century was the era of mass everything; mass markets, mass communications, nearly ubiquitous fads, etc. while both earlier and later time periods did not allow such scales to function. Before the Industrial Revolution it was nearly impossible to arrange a mass anything and since the Information Age, there are so many choices that no one thing is likely to become as ubiquitous as the Beatles were, ever again.

    However, the forces which allowed mass rallies, etc. back in the 20th Century still exist and there could be a global flash mob at some point, which is a chilling thought.
     
  14. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    52
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    There are three brothers in our town that work as artists al their lives. All three are in their early 60ies now.
    All of them are not rich but live a comfortable life today. A decent car and a nice flat inclusive.
    When I worked in the forces they were buskering in Spain and slept on the beach. When I worked 9 to 5 in other jobs they played Jazz on cruise ships or company banquetts. In between thy played dancehall gigs or did some teaching.
    The problem is that most of us got accustomed to certain standards of living at a very early stage and we have to finance it every month.
    The three boys were not married, had no kids to feed and were not too proud to ask their fellows for a cigarrete or a drink.
    I ask myself sometimes: Who led a better life?
     
    drmilktruck likes this.
  15. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    This reminds me of an old story/joke about a fellow visiting a coastal town in Mexico and seeing a fellow come to shore with a small fishing boat. He explained to the fisherman how he could grow his fleet and end up making lots of money. When the fisherman asked where this would all lead, he was told that he could then retire, maybe buy a small boat and do a little fishing. I'm all for success, but success is where you find it.
     
    PDogga, loudnlousy and drmilktruck like this.
  16. Setzerhotrod

    Setzerhotrod Country Gent

    Age:
    58
    Oct 26, 2011
    Anchorage Alaska
    When my wife and I went on vacation this summer, her wealthy uncle took us to the 4 seasons for brunch. I had never been before, but soon learned it was a place for the “well to do”. There was a guy in the corner playing a keyboard and singing, doing a nice job, dressed nicely. I remember thinking that basically he was really in essence just part of the wait staff. I imagined that he was doing something that few in the room could or wanted to do. Then I thought that often the “well to do” are raised with many forms of education that often includes musical training. With a seemingly natural ability to sniff out money, they gravitate to other fields of profession and leave the music to someone else.
     
    loudnlousy and drmilktruck like this.
  17. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    Astute observation. I don’t play music for a living because the income/(time * grief) ratio of computer networking is more favoarable. Persons with exceptionally high skills may be able to make much more income in much less time than they could ever hope to make in music.

    About the only way I could imagine working as a performer would be if one to to write some anthemic song, record it and have a huge hit and then tour on the momentum of that. Besides that, it’s a young person’s game. Promoters are looking for young, attractive and naturally slender, because these three characteristics are essential for an investment that will pay off over the long haul.

    Think of George Strait, whose career has lasted decades and whose appeal continues unabated. He had it all, including experience working in bands from his Army days onward, but even he had a hard time finding a record deal and nearly gave up. And he’s an example of a good investment risk. The problem is, very few people have the talent, visual appeal and longevity of George Strait, and you need all three, plus a bit of luck, to make it in music.

    I find that I actually prefer not playing for a living. I like the occasional gig, but even more I like being able to pick and choose my venues and events. My career dream would probably be to make a living in fewer hours per week and have more time for music, but I would never count on much more than gas money for my musical efforts. :)

    BTW, a good friend of long-standing is a Jazz guitarist in the vein of Jim Hall and certainly every bit as capable as Hall. (I’ve heard them both live.) Even this man, an exceptional player, has had to set out a tip jar on occasion.
     
    loudnlousy and drmilktruck like this.
  18. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    68
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    There wasn't that much money in music when you got a half a cent per 45RPM record. It's gone downhill since then. Unless you were one of the truly lucky ones, music isn't that great of a moneymaking industry for individuals. The record companies have to be hurting these days. I hated playing for the country club crowd. The clinking of glasses and such wasn't too conducive to making music.

    Oddly tho, I grew up in a town with a large Polish population. I knew three guys who put themselves thru Notre Dame playing polkas at Polish Weddings and clubs.
     
    drmilktruck likes this.
  19. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    Muddy Waters was once asked if he was a millionaire. Apparently, he said “no, but all of my managers are”.

    Polka gigs are steady work. I played a lot of them.
     
    loudnlousy and drmilktruck like this.
  20. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    It didn't help that a lot of record companies and producers stole the rights for songwriting, ensuring their future royalties while the artists got nothing.
     
    loudnlousy likes this.