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The Challenges Facing Musicians In 2013. Free Research Report.

Back in June Right Chord Music launched The Big Survey in association with Farida Guitars.  Our aim was to better understand the realities of being a musician in 2013. The online survey was completed by 200 musicians, of which three-quarters were unsigned or independent. Two-thirds of the respondents reported they had released at least one single.  The vast majority of respondents came from three countries: UK, Australia, and the USA.

Results highlight the increasing number of sites and services used by artists to promote their music. It’s no surprise that Facebook dominates, but it’s interesting to see the growing importance of Soundcloud and Bandcamp and the much heralded fall from grace of Myspace.

Just over one-half of the respondents reported paid live shows were the primary source of their monthly income. Digital download sales (13%) and CD sales (12%) were second and third respectively. Over six different incomes streams were reported. Although average incomes from live shows were not captured in this survey Right Chord Music would expect income from live shows at this level to be between £20-£50 per show, and a band to be playing a maximum of three paid shows within an average month. It’s clear once income is divided up between 3-4 band members and petrol, parking, hire, and rehearsal costs are factored in, income does not necessarily mean profit.

Music Discovery

Bedroom and DIY culture is very much alive and kicking, with just under one-half (49%) of respondents reporting they record all of their music at home. Twenty-eight percent (28%) reported they record demos at home before heading to a professional studio to add a professional touch to their work.

To professionally promote music costs money, Right Chord Music estimates between £300-500 for online PR, and £600-£850 for radio plugging for a minimum of two months. Then there is press and TV, the cost continues to rise. Based on these costs, and their unsigned status, it is no surprise that the vast majority (87%) of respondents in this survey reported they have to promote their music themselves.

Respondents reported over seven different ways they sell their music, with selling CDs at live shows remaining the most popular sales channel. Bandcamp’s growing influence among the unsigned community is clear with as many respondents reporting they use Bandcamp as iTunes to sell their music. Ten percent (10%) of respondents reported they sell their music directly from Facebook.

How Do You Sell

When respondents were asked to highlight the biggest challenges they face as musicians two dominated: ‘Getting our music heard’ and ‘Making enough money.’ But equally noticeable is the large number of challenges they recognise and struggle to overcome. It is certainly not easy to be a musician in 2013.

To download your FREE copy of the full report visit:


Reader Comments (3)

I think everyone deals with the money issue but the hardest part about being poor is how it affects your craft. In order to pay the bills, I have been in a tejano band, church bands, americana bands, jazz bands, performed at weddings, you name it and I've done it. Some of these bands or styles were fun to do but none of them were the reason that I started playing guitar 14 years ago. I lost that some where along the way and am struggling to get it back. Making money made me hate music and look at it only as a job and now I'm at a point where I just don't know what to do any more. It is my job.

August 16 | Unregistered CommenterD

I feel exactly the same way.

August 18 | Unregistered CommenterB

really useful info!

December 6 | Unregistered CommenterBob

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