A wide-angle examination of the music industry which found, among its many conclusions, that artists earned just 12% of the billions flowing into its coffers last year has been criticised by the industry itself as “incorrect or incomplete.”
As previously reported, Citi’s 88-page study Putting the Band Back Together: Remastering the World of Music gave a fairly bullish appraisal of the music biz and all its moving parts, though music creators, in a big surprise to no-one, were found to collect just 12% of the US$43 billion generated last year in the United States alone. This so-called “value leakage” was largely attributed to the costs of running distribution platforms like AM/FM radio, satellite radio, online streaming and download services and, of course, the record labels.
Now, industry bodies and music professionals have weighed in and, in some instances, shot down the findings. U.S. labels body the RIAA and others have hit been critical, in part because they weren’t given a heads-up on the study.
“We welcome investment community interest in the music business, but it’s unfortunate that some of the methodologies and analysis within this report are incorrect or incomplete,” an RIAA spokesperson told Billboard. “Going forward, we would encourage anyone interested to better consult leaders within the business. For example, RIAA data was extensively cited, but none of our senior team was consulted.”
The U.S. trade title reached out to various execs and peak bodies for comment. Those critiques are boiled down into three key areas: the companies identified and studied in the report never heard from Citi’s analysts, apparently raising questions about incentives and conflicts of interest; the report’s methodology was shaky; and its conclusion that consolidation could benefit creators was just, plain wrong.
Kevin Erickson, national organizing director at Future of Music Coalition, told Billboard: “Is the percent of industry revenue that makes it to artists really a good measure of how well the industry is doing? If all working artists quit what they were doing and went out on the street and started busking, they would make 100 percent of that revenue, but that would be stupid. In isolation, that data point doesn’t capture much about what’s going on.”