Musicians only got 12% of the $43 billion the music industry generated in 2017, and it mostly came from touring

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  • Recording artists received just 12% of the $43 billion that the music industry generated in 2017, according to a Citigroup report.
  • Consumer spending on music generated an all-time high of more than $20 billion last year, but music businesses, including labels and publishers, took almost $10 billion, while artists received just $5.1 billion, the “bulk” of which came from touring.

Recording artists received just 12% of the $43 billion that the music industry generated in 2017, according to a Citigroup report published on Monday, and led by analyst Jason B. Bazinet.

$43 billion matches a 12-year peak that the industry hasn’t hit since 2006, the report said.

The proportion of the total music industry revenue artists are capturing has actually risen since 2000, when artists took home only a 7% share of the revenue.

But this increase is due in large part to the growth of concerts and touring as a revenue stream that is largely distinct from the intermediary of their music labels. Artists are still taking home a meager share of the increasing revenues in streaming for their music, where music labels and music streaming services act as intermediaries.

The report shows that “consumer outlays,” which includes streaming, concert sales, and purchased music, generated an all-time high of more than $20 billion last year. But music businesses, including labels and publishers, took almost $10 billion, while artists received just $5.1 billion, the “bulk” of which came from touring.

citigroup music

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Citigroup

The report anticipates (and is likely to spur calls for more) “organic forms of vertical integration” in the industry, where existing music providers like Spotify and Apple Music could “organically morph into music labels,” allowing artists to capture more of their music’s value by releasing their work directly with the services.

The group concluded the report by highlighting an alternative voice in the industry, with a commentary from Bjorn Niclas, cofounder of Choon, a cryptocurrency-based music streaming service.

“Currently artists are at the end of the line,” Niclas said in the report. “They get the smallest piece of the pie even though they are the ones creating the content. In any other industry you typically see much better returns and margins.”

Read the report here.