6 Interesting Facts About the Music Industry

The lyrics or beat to a song may seem simple, but the work behind the scenes during the creation of the song is anything but simple!

For most people, their perception of the music industry matches the fairy-tale story of Justin Bieber—who was discovered on Youtube by an ambitious talent manager who turned him into the biggest pop star of the century. Or some think of Calvin Harris, who was discovered by music manager Mark Gillespie on MySpace and skyrocketed him to becoming a globally recognized DJ.

It takes a lot of teamwork to create great music! Justin Bieber and Calvin Harris wouldn’t have achieved the success they had if it was not for their dynamic teams who helped drive the business of music for them–including sales models, promotional plans, and target audiences.

That is why we are sharing the top six interesting facts about the music industry and shedding some light to just how complex the music business really is!

1. Streaming is overtaking digital downloads

Remember spending hours on iTunes listening to snip-its of songs before spending .99 cents for the right to download and own it? While digital downloads are still a multi-million dollar industry, streaming services have overtaken the industry—accounting for nearly one trillion songs streamed every year! Streaming services are set to continue their rise for the foreseeable future—with consumers demanding subscription-based services.

2. Vinyl records are making a comeback

While streaming services are on the rise, so is the return of vinyl records! With many listeners looking for ad-free immersive listening experiences, vinyl records are a growing option for many. That is why current chart-topping artists such as Taylor Swift are going old school and releasing vinyl records. The sales data is further supporting this trend, with vinyl sales growing by nearly 200% from 2006 to 2019!

3. Songs are getting shorter by the decade

Did you know that in twenty years the average length of a song has decreased by nearly a full minute? This is largely a response from the music industry to tap into the streaming service advertising model so that maximum profits from a song can be made. Let’s just hope songs don’t get too short!

4. Most musicians earn an average of $30 an hr 

While being a musician seems like a glamorous and luxurious gig, only a handful actually make the big bucks from their music! The most recent data shows that the average musician can barely pay their bills each month with their earnings working out to be around $30 per hour! Making it in the music industry definitely takes a bit of luck as well as many years of hustling. The ones who do make millions of dollars a year make the majority of their earnings through stadium tours rather than actual album sales.

5. Warning labels on music are optional

Songs or albums that come with warning labels for explicit or mature content are entirely optional. The music labeling system is one that is completely optional with very broad guidelines, so it is up to the individual artist, their manager and the recording label to decide if a sticker will go on or not.

6. Signing a new artist is expensive

We aren’t exaggerating—it is really expensive for record labels to sign a new artist. In fact, it costs billions of dollars to do so for the collective agreement to develop, record, promote and sell their music! On average, that means it can cost over a million dollars a day for a recording studio to fulfill the contract they have signed for an artist. No wonder there is often so much pressure to deliver from the artist’s end!