Do musicians actually make money?

A great article from the one and only Rolling Stone I recently found on the nine ways that musicians make money in the age of downloads and piracy.

  • T-Shirts and Merch

Merch has been a staple in touring artists’ revenue streams for decades, and it’s especially crucial for tween-focused pop stars like OneDirection – their fans’ parents pay for everything. It can also be a major earner for rock veterans from Iron Maiden to the Who. Those distinctive shirts and caps are always classic.

Potential payday: $225,000 per show

  • Movie and TV Licensing

Low CD sales have prevented artists from making as much money off publishing royalties as they used to – but licensing fees from movies, commercials and TV shows from The O.C. to Breaking Bad have picked up some of the slack. One top music-business source estimates that Green Day made hundreds of thousands of dollars by licensing “99 Revolutions,” from their upcoming album !Tre!, for the end-credits of the recent Will Ferrell-Zach Galifianakis political farce The Campaign.

Potential payday: $250,000-$600,000. About half usually goes to the performer, with the other half going to whoever owns the song’s publishing rights.

  • Fashion Lines

Fashion reporters have estimated the yearly grosses for Jessica Simpson’s namesake Collection, with its populist hats and jeggings, at anywhere from $750 million to a staggering $1 billion. Simpson is making slightly less, but the money’s still good: according to Forbes, she scored about $15 million in a licensing deal that gave the Camuto Group the right to market her name.

Potential payday: $15 million

  • Perfume

Everyone wants to smell like the Biebs – which is why Justin Bieber’s women’s fragrance, Someday, netted $3 million in its first three weeks this summer. According to Jo Piazza’s book Celebrity Inc., A-listers can haul in between $3 million and $5 million up front, plus five to 10 percent of sales, by licensing their name to a fragrance. Beyonce, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez are among the other stars whose scents have raked in tens of millions in recent years.

Potential payday: $5 million or more for a hot star like Bieber

Read the other five here: Rolling Stone


One thought on “Do musicians actually make money?

  1. These will, of course, have to be internationally know musicians.
    I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anything “Danny K” on me. No matter what it smells like.

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