Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Indie Artists Rolling in The Dough

As I've written about elsewhere (namely here) the SUN "News" TV Network (AKA FOX NORTH) has been on a holy war against the artists and musicians who have been getting wealthy off of the sweat of the poor oppressed taxpayers. To the extent of having a some hopelessly obscure indie band and some much honoured (but still obscure) dancer on to ambush them with outraged demands that they return the piddly grant money they got. While of course somehow neglecting to point out the millions of taxpayer subsidies SUN TV gets through it's parent company QMI. I'm sure that's just an oversight. A remarkably persistent oversight. Much like their current demands that the CRTC add SUN TV to the basic cable package and force everyone to pay for right wing propaganda that the public had clearly decided they don't want.


At any rate a new survey shows just how much all those "elitist" musicians have been living the high life. Keep in mind this story came out in the National Post, not The Star or Now Magazine.


"The average Canadian indie artist earns a whopping $7,228 a year playing music, plus some other industry stats Republish Reprint
David Berry | 13/03/05 | Last Updated: 13/03/05 5:08 PM ET

With the Conservative Party in power, it’s never a bad time to justify everything you do in terms of how it helps our Gross Domestic Product, which may have been the inspiration for a new Canadian Independent Music Association study on the economic impacts of independent musicians.

Put together via a survey of over 1,500 artists and company officials, it found that those bearded, vintage-clothed guitarists darkening the doors of independent coffee shops and hole-in-the-wall bars across the country are contributing a whopping $300-million to the economy in 2011 (the year examined), which isn’t exactly strip-mining-Northern-Alberta money, but might be enough to convince Jason Kenney to stop in at Zaphod Beeblebrox next time session ends early. Right?

Anyway, though, nestled in among those many millions are some revealing little facts about what being an independent musician in Canada is like. And man, if Grizzly Bear thought they were living rough, well:

Almost half of the music companies in Canada — that’s everything from record labels to people who rent out gear and the like — are sole proprietorships, meaning that goateed guy with the stringy hair isn’t just a talent scout, he’s also your potential manager, groupie wrangler, accountant and entire publicity arm. They are apparently some total lone wolves, though: a fifth of music businesses have been at it for at least two decades.
Music company employees earn an average of $22,250 a year, which may explain why Cribs never really caught on in Canada. Although at least that shades towards taxable income, since …
The average independent musician earns a stunning $7,228 from playing music, although the report (which is, it could be noted here, done by a representative group whose board is entirely music company owner/employees, not saying/just saying) notes that they “only” spend about 29 hours a week on the pursuit. If they got their slack asses in gear, they could stand to make as much as $9,336 a year, or less than half the average minimum wage. But hey, they’re doing it for love.
They may want to start thinking about retirement at some point, though: the average independent artist in Canada is 39.5 years old. And yes, naturally, 73% of artists are men. They do not indicate whether female artists make two-thirds of what the men do.
Oh, and PS, music company employees work a back-breaking four hours a week more than artists for their 300% raise.
Not that any of this is fighting over a particularly big chunk of pie, since about 60% of the industry earns $50,000 a year or less gross revenue.
And before anyone goes off complaining about Holy F–k getting tour grants again, the report is careful to note that for every $1 they get from federal and provincial governments, they contribute $1.22 to the economy. So there, complain-y small-government uncles across the country.
If your taste for music industry factoids hasn’t been sated, you can download the whole report right here. Let us know if you find anything else interesting, like what Brendan Canning spends on beard grooming products or anything."

THERE! I hope all you greedy mooching musicians out there are satisfied with yourselves! The government may have cut back on all those War of 1812 ads, parades and statues and it's all your fault! And then there's those shiny new jet fighters, helicopters and submarines. How do you expect us to be ready for the invasion of Iran if you are going to insist on taking your little busker show on the road anyway?


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