Study: Most Musicians Do Not Feel That Their Music Is Being Devalued…


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Last week, Google Play executive Tim Quirk strongly asserted that ‘music cannot be devalued‘ at the Future of Music Summit in Washington, DC.  Now, it turns out that a survey conducted by the Future of Music Coalition itself finds that most musicians actually agree with that sentiment.

The breakdowns speak volumes, however.  The minority that feel that their music has been devalued skew more heavily towards songwriting and recording revenues, and were making a lot more money before (see above).  The group that disagrees is more diversified, and came into the picture with far less revenue to begin with.


34 Responses

  1. R.P.

    because they asked most of the relevant musicians that are actually successful in the industry. I’m not against this, but shut the fuck up already with these fake graphs and metrics. Getting sick of this bullshit circulating on the net like it’s truth.

    • FarePlay

      Agreed, look at the source and the participants. I wonder how many times the Google guy and his posse voted.

  2. Jason Miles

    “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” this is one of the most screwed up surveys I have ever seen or heard of. If you go to a musician who has made a living in the studios, written sings for a living and is over 40 you will hear the truth about how much money there used to be in the music business for writers and musicians.
    So hear this all you musicians who think music isn’t devalued. When I was spending my time in the NY studios,
    The C List was making 50 K a year. Are you comprehending this. The C list. The B a list was making more because they were picking up the overflow from the A Liist guys who had way to much work. People were in studios everyday and for writers mechanical royalties and radio play we’re making many people a very good living.
    So all you folks who think music isn’t devalued I hope your happy with your next royalty check of .003 cents because that is your future.

  3. G.D.

    Tim Quirk is right, music can’t be devalued. But its value can be transferred from creators to distributors. The haves have lost a lot in that transfer. The have-nots haven’t really lost anything — “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”

  4. Danwriter

    Looking at the graphics, the differences between yea and nay are negligble. Other than that more people disagree with a given statement than agree, this survey reveals nothing. Which, in many ways, underscores the fact that yet another bullshit music conference has come and gone, also revealing nothing meaningful.

  5. Paul Resnikoff


    Some comments got munched last night and early this morning by our new spam filtering system, so please re-enter if you don’t see your comment. We’re refining the process now.


  6. GGG

    In my opinion, the value has sort of shifted from the music to the artist. In other words, people get more invested in the actual artist because there are so many outlets they can directly interact, or appear to directly interact, with them. Katy Perry has millions of followers. Her singles sell like crazy. But her album sold what, like 200K? Clearly they don’t care about her long playing “artistic statement.” Musically, they only really care about her latest hit. But they also care enough to have made her a successful branding tool. Hell, I think even Bieber barely breaks 1M album sales. Same with Lady GaGa. But we all know they have insane fans.

    Now, obviously not everyone is going to be able to or want to promote some brand, so you can’t rely on landing a spokesperson role. But if you embrace your fans, they will treat you right. I’ve seen a few examples, of the most active/engaging artists I know making more money than artists 2-3 times as big because their fans find there is a lot more depth and activity than an album every 2 years, a tour every year and nothing in the middle.

    • FarePlay

      GGG. I think what you’re talking about is the commoditization of music. The Internet has pushed music into becoming a marketing tool, not an enlightening, insightful, inspirational art form.

      And yes, this is all part of the “devaluation of music”.

      • GGG

        In the case of a Katy Perry or most pop stars, certainly. You are 100% correct. But certainly not in other cases. There are a number of musicians I love and/or personally know who make a fantastic living doing what they love, because they work at it. And are objectively fantastic musicians, so are in demand. Something my entitled, but-my-mom-says-im-the-best! generation lost sight of and actively stopped caring about.

        • FarePlay

          GGG we’re talking about 2 different, unrelated entities. The music industry, yes tech is the “new boss” and individual artists who no longer have to deal with a gate keeper.

          • FarePlay

            “Something my entitled, but-my-mom-says-im-the-best! generation lost sight of and actively stopped caring about.”

            GGG, this is your generation, not mine. Any and every Schlub with a recording device and access to the Internet thinks they’re a musician. You do realize part of the driving force behind the “free” movement is this legion of hobbyists. My stuffs free, obviously you’re just in it for the money, you greedy limo riding fraud.

          • GGG

            Yea, that’s why I said “my generation.” You won’t get an argument from me, I’ve made that point like a hundred times on this site. And that’s exactly why I’m a dick to so-called “artists.” Nobody takes responsibility. You want to bitch about Spotify payouts and piracy? Fine, there’s certainly reason to. But if you’ve got 300 Facebook fans, Spotify doesn’t even register your play count because it’s below 1K, and 8 people show up to your gigs, you’ve got more important things to focus on in the short term.

          • FarePlay

            I didn’t realize we were talking about Spotify. I’m just talking about tech; the “new” music industry in general.

          • GGG

            Right, so am I. I’m talking about everything. To loop back to my first post, in the new music industry, your career is not a career based on recorded music anymore, unfortunately. It’s a big part of it, obviously, but not as big as it once was. It’s a career based on being a person with enough depth that you keep fans interested and engaged. And that means putting out 12 tracks every 24 months might not be enough. Certainly not enough to pay your bills, so why keep limiting yourself by an old system that’s currently not working?

            And you’re absolutely right that it includes the negative idea of commoditizing music, but that doesn’t mean you have to create it as a tool. You can still create what you want and try to commoditize it then. In that case, it’s not a bad word anymore. That’s what people have been doing since the first guy got paid to play music.

          • FarePlay

            “Your career is not a career based on recorded music anymore, unfortunately. It’s a big part of it, obviously, but not as big as it once was. It’s a career based on being a person with enough depth that you keep fans interested and engaged.”

            How can you denigrate Katy Perry, then advocate that for artists to be successful today they should learn how to tap dance and do magic tricks? bob dylan would be working at KFC for sure.

          • GGG

            “How can you denigrate Katy Perry, then advocate that for artists to be successful today they should learn how to tap dance and do magic tricks? bob dylan would be working at KFC for sure.”

            Why does doing anything besides sitting in a studio recording a 12 song LP have a negative connotation to you? It’s so bizarre. I’m not talking about tap dancing and magic tricks, it’s being a good enough and/or active enough musician that you keep fans engaged. I advocate it because the old model does not work anymore. That’s why we’re all on this site bickering at one another. Because you can’t live off album sales.

            And I denigrated Katy Perry for the same reason you did; highly commoditized music. And that’s what pop music is for the most part; groupthink. Doesn’t mean you have to go that route to be successful. There’s tons of examples proving so.

          • FarePlay

            And your plan for songwriters? Ventriloquism perhaps?

            The old model doesn’t work, because the vandals stole the handles. I know we shouldn’t cry over spilt milk and then there’s my favorite ADAPT. Oh, yes adapt is what you’re talking about, isn’t it?

            And those stupid artists, stop painting? Publishing? hold the presses. Movies? forget it. But it’s okay, because it’s progress; look at all the cash twitter made today. Did you catch the five of them on the podium this morning at the New York Stock Exchange? FIVE and one was the kid. But they’re fine, they’re probably into Adelle. And twitter can no afford to have her play during their catered lunch. That’s it Google and FaceBook and Apple can save the day and hire as many f ing bands as they want.

            Phew, I was worried for a minute there GGG…..

            But thanks for the insight. The digital world loves to put value on the exposure they deliver. The message is: Now that we’ve destroyed the value of your content, just think of all the other things you can do to make money. So far, you guys haven’t come up with anything that works. Merchandise, nah, touring nah, advertising, nah.

            And remember how we complained about clear channel homogenizing radio. Awesome, now we have computers picking hits and putting together playlists.

            Now your latest and greatest idea is for everyone to go to charm school or develop their talents as a comedienne or wait I’ve got it. These cooking / travel shows are really hot and bands do travel and they need to eat. Yeah, there must be an App for that.

            Wait, I’m going to start a government subsidized training school so musicians can learn to become>>>>> programmers. That’s it………

          • GGG

            First of all, half this comment isn’t remotely coherent. Not sure if you’re drunk or what, but seriously, what the hell are you talking about? How in the world do you not understand there is a slew of music-related things you can do besides release a record. I’m not for one second saying people should be running out and joining the circus, I’m saying there’s more ways to create/distribute stuff people enjoy than a 12 song LP every two years. Why is that so difficult for you to understand? I’m now praying to every god out there that when I’m 64 my brain isn’t so dull to have the lack of imagination you do. I was trying to be nicer before, but you’re seriously the epitome of an old, out of touch moron.

            And what’s your solution? Adapting, for whatever length of time, might not be the best solution, but simply complaining about piracy is a hell of a lot worse. And I’ve been making money working directly with artists for 5 years now. Not riches by any means, but enough to live in NYC and they’ve all got plenty of room to grow. Your company’s aim is to make sense of the digital world? Have you had one useful suggestion? Has FarePlay helped one single person earn more money? For a solutions business you’re pretty shitty at what you do.

            So again I’ll ask: why does anything that’s not sitting in a studio recording an LP have a negative connotation to you? Are you really that lazy and boring? And please, tell me what is so crazed about advocating artists do more than rely on an album release. I saw you quoted me on your Facebook, since all you do is report news/comments from here. Makes it even more clear how unimaginative you are.

  7. George Johnson

    .00000012 per song is what Google, Spotify, Pandora and all other streamers value music at, so it can’t go much lower. Google can run it’s mouth all they want but actions speak louder than words. Pay the songwriters and publishers first – you know the people who created and paid for the creation of the songs that these serial copyright thieves are subsidizing their own wealth. Time to put Sean Parker and Tim Quirk in JAIL for copyright infringement!

  8. FarePlay

    Unsound, the movie. Artists speaking out about the digital economy and their lives. Here’s your chance to contribute to your future.

    Find out more on indiegogo..

  9. blahblahblah

    Yeah, it’s been devalued. People don’t want to pay for it because they can get it for free. But that’s just devalued in the monetary sense. It’s also become extremely disposable. There’s so much coming at people so quickly that they don’t latch on to an artist or band the way they did before the “T.M.I.” age. Sure, you still have your music nerds, young and old, but the population as a whole cares a whole lot less about music than it did 15 years ago. I’m right. : )

  10. cjhoffmn

    Surveys like this are always problematic. That’s a very amorphous survey question to begin with – and in culture issues like this, it turns out consumers have two different “values.” They hold personal values (how much they might like something) and a financial value (how much they might be willing to buy or sell it for). So this survey question is really not very good at all – the participants probably just answered how much they like music – not their financial value of music.

    People still LOVE their own music especially… So the question has a significant bias embedded there as well…

  11. david k

    This study is BS… I work with over a dozen artists who all think that the music is being exploited and devalued..
    that’s real data 12/12 artists are not happy… nuff said. surveys are for the rich corporations like spotify and deezer. in order for them to continue ripping musicians off.. Lets not kid ourselves.. those services give no f**cks about musicians they care only about one thing and thats how to get rich while they can.. Once the musicians wake up its over.

  12. Rauh

    And let’s not forget the fact that the ‘neutral’ participants were grouped into the ‘happy smiling’ section. Looks to be a biased survey, but the industry is far from a neutral role in this type of survey.

    From what I understand it seems that we are seeing a struggle between two corporate backed business models: possession of a physical product (a record, for instance and materialized in the form of the ‘old music industry’) versus access to information (Google Play and the ‘new digital distribution’). In this context it seems Google is playing the ‘nice cop’ role with musicians, in an effort to gain sympathy from them, and more importantly, their fans.

    Ultimately I do not see a redistribution of money towards artists in the digital distribution model and it seems that we are seeing more continuity than change here.

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  14. lady miss kier

    who are you kidding ? this chart appears to me, a musician, to be nothing more than a presentation to ease the consciousness of the corp. execs at streaming sites that pay musicians a fraction of a cent for thousands of plays ……c’mon !!

    • GGG

      Just out of curiosity, on avg, how many DLs of ‘Groove is in the Heart’ were sold per year from say, 2000, to now?

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