“There’s No Money In Music”

The world’s biggest lie. 

If you have decided to pursue being a professional musician, or work in the industry at all, you have likely heard this more times than you can count.

According to Live Nation Entertainment’s income statement, their revenue in 2014 was over $6.8 billion. More recently, Forbes reports that One Direction made $130 million in 2015. Sure the label and management take a cut, but that is proof of cold hard cash.

What about recording revenue declining every year?  

The money hasn’t disappeared; it is finding itself in a different place. For example, vinyl is on its way toward being a billion dollar industry. Touring seems to be another place where the money has moved. Live entertainment will never cease to exist, and fortunately for us, it will never cease to bring in money.

What about the bands claiming to lose money on tour?  

If you have read this article, you see that a band made $135,983, only to spend $147,802 and result in a net loss of $11,819.

The key here is that they generated $135k doing something your parents told you wasn’t possible. For every budget there need to be constraints, and if you can’t afford to lose money, don’t spend it. The glam of rock and roll and spending $50,000 on a music video is a thing of the past.

A good example of a more reigned in budget was the response to the previously mentioned article, where each band member could take home about $5,000 after a month long tour. [click here to see if I’m lying]

The purpose of this article is not to denounce your every doubt, but if you are still not convinced, go to Google and type in “music industry revenue” or something of a similar fashion. Numbers don’t lie. The trick to making money in this business is getting creative.

Explore multiple revenue streams, keep your budget efficient and effective, treat your band like a business and never forget those people who told you “there’s no money in music”. Don’t wave the first dollar you make in their face, it’s much more entertaining for them to just see you on TV one day.


Live Nation Income Statement:
Forbes – One Direction earnings –
Photo by Desi Mendoza