2 Examples And Preliminary Results

We want to avoid influencing the ongoing survey, so we are not showing important preliminary results. The aim of this chapter is to show examples of the survey’s capabilities. The preliminary results are based on about 900 answers.

CEEMID mainly works with nationally representative data, and financial indicators of authors’, producers’ and performers’ national organizations. CEEMID currently uses about 1000 indicators to help evaluate the value of rights, compensation for private copying or the value transfer, or to prepare more realistic grant calls and export promotion targets.

Our musician surveys are aimed to fill in the gaps of other existing data sources. In some countries, for example, in Hungary and Slovakia we have managed to create verified representative market surveys. In some countries it is likely that our surveys will not be fully representative, nevertheless, we believe that they provide the best information available on these markets. You can read more about our methodology here. The first Hungarian music industry rerpot and the Slovak music industry report contains a detailed methodology overview.

While each year we make efforts to include technicians, educators, journalists and managers in our panel, the primary targets are musicians. The composition of the most frequently mentioned primary roles in 8 countries is shown below.

2.1 Market Data

In the 2010s very few artists can make a living from recordings or compositions. Both in the popular and the classical music scene, the most important breadwinner for musicians is the live performance.

The live music business is very much labour-oriented. On small venues, 5-35 people operate a stage, in larger venues this can go up to several hundred people. As a result, organizing concerts and DJ events in high labor cost countries is getting very expensive. Small venues, typically categorized with an audience capacity of less than 500 visitors are suffering from the UK and Australia to Slovakia and Hungary.

Unlike some centralized markets, for example, the Netherlands, the CEE countries do not have a centralized ticket sale, and there is very little information available on the live music market.

2.1.1 Concert Opportunities

We are asking musicians, DJs, technicians and managers about the conditions of their music event markets in their capital cities, in the countryside and abroad. Some regional capitals, like Wien and Budapest dominate their national music markets, so we collect separately capital city data. In other countries, for example, in Croatia, the capital city has a less dominant role.

In our sample, Armenia, Bulgaria and Seriba are characterized by high number of concerts. Musicians in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia usually play far less shows. In these countries, expected revenues and expected costs are both higher.

We will analyze concert revenues, costs, number of events in the final report.

2.1.2 Meeting The Audience

Musicians need to find the audience of the recording on literally hundreds of channels. Some of these channels, such a radio and television are regional or national, and they have an important local cultural gatekeeper role. Others, like YouTube, Spotify or Google Play are global.

While payouts on YouTube are deemed as problematic in Europe, because of its cheap and global platform, it is in every surveyed country the best channel to meet the audience. In emerging markets, where Spotify and Apple Music is not present, niche players like Bandcamp or smaller platforms like Deezer or Google Play have an important role.

Physical formats, especially vinyl and cassettes are making a comeback as high-value products. In genres where this configuration is excepted, they can contribute very significantly to the sales. However, in some countries their sales infrastructure must be rebuilt.

2.1.3 Other Market Data

We are collecting market information about music promotion, tour routes, recording and publishing royalties across the region. This information will be presented in the Central European Music Industry Report, and the national Slovak, Czech, Hungarian, Lithuanian reports.

2.1.4 Living conditions

We are asking standard attitude questions from the musicians. These questions are asked at least twice on nationally representative samples in all EU countries, and occasionally in neighborhood countries like Serbia.

This allows us to gauge the sentiment of musicians in comparison with their colleagues in other countries, and also with other professional groups, such as office workers, doctors, managers in their own countries.

In order to get a high-level comparison among the living standards of musicians, we use the standard survey question used in Eurobarometer surveys for decades: how often have had the respondent difficulties with paying bills in the past year? This is a very good starting point because it makes comparable the rough material standards of musicians and other professional groups in the EU, irrespective of local earnings and living costs.

Musicians everywhere, including rich countries like Germany, Austria and Slovenia have more problems with paying their bills than the general population in their countries. The only seemingly different country is Bulgaria, but in this case, the self-reported difference is small, and generally Bulgarian musicians and other Bulgarian people have similarly frequent difficulties with paying their bills.

Working in an emerging economy is more stressful than in a mature economy – making ends is more difficult, risks are greater and usually rules change faster. No wonder that people generally report higher level of life satisfaction in countries where the living standards are also higher: average life satisfaction in a country is greatly influenced by national income and general health level, measured by life expectancy. However, it is also recorded since the 1970s that after reaching a certain level of living standards, life satisfaction does not increase further with economic conditions. Other factors, such as vocation, work-life balance and political factors play a role, too. Working in an emerging economy is more stressful than in a mature economy – making ends is more difficult, risks are greater and usually rules change faster.

In the emerging music business countries, it is very important to see that the musicians not only earn little money, but as freelancers their income is mainly based on live performances, peaking in the festival season and in December. This income is usually taxed at far higher rates in the CEE region than in Western Europe or in non-creative industries. Royalties, which should balance variable live performance earnings are far lower both as a percentage of total musician income and in euro terms than in advanced markets. This is often coupled with higher taxation, too.

To avoid the bias of higher satisfaction levels in richer environments, we measure musician’s self-reported life satisfaction levels against the national averages from the 2018/11 Eurobarometer sample, scaled between the numerical values of -2 (not at all satisfied) to 2 (very satisfied).

Our comparison shows that in most of our surveyed countries, musicians are more satisfied with their lives than the average person, despite having more material difficulties. Of course, age, and other factors can contribute to this, but a vocational calling is certainly an important aspect, too. The exceptions are, interestingly, Austria and Slovenia, where the general population has a very high level of life satisfaction, and where both musicians and the general public are generally more satisfied with their lives than in the other countries. In these cases, compared to the general population, music professional are less satisfied with their lives. In Serbia our sample is too small to draw real conclusions.

Career in music can lead to higher life satisfaction than other similarly paid jobs in Europe. However, music market stakeholders should focus on increasing the level of music professional earnings and reducing its variance within the year and over the years, because the material living conditions of musicians is significantly worse than the conditions of the general population.

You can read a lot more about this research here.

2.1.5 How Are Things Going … ?

We asked musicians about how things are going in their country in general and in their country’s music scene. We ask both questions, because people who do not fill good in their country usually do not feel good about their professional position, either.

In Austria musicians usually have a more positive view about the music scene than the country in general. Our survey was conducted during a political crisis, which may negatively affect the view on the country itself – but nevertheless, Austria is the country where at least half of the musicians have a positive view about their music scene. In most countries, the musicians believe that the things in the music scene are going worse than in the country in general, except for Czechia and Slovakia, where generally musicians have a negative view on both the country and the music scene.

In Hungary, views are more polarized, firstly, because the country is extremely polarized politically, which is represented in our survey: one half of the respondent have a very positive, the others a very negative view on the country. A minority of the musicians has a positive, the majority a slightly negative view on the music scene.

In Croatia, Serbia and Armenia the musicians’ view on their music scene is significantly worse than their view on their country. Armenia is a curious country, because even though this is the country where musicians are the poorest, they are significantly more optimistic than the other countries. And while in Hungary and Slovakia, at least a minority of the musicians have a positive view, Croatian and Serbian artists have a very negative view.

2.1.6 Expectations

The future expectations are somewhat different. While Croatian see the present rather gloomy, their expectation are positive. Armenian musicians are also very optimistic about the future. In the other countries, a minority of the musicians have positive, a majority have negative expectations about the music business. On the household, employment and domestic economic conditions views very by country. For example, Austrians and Slovaks believe that their household’s position will improve, but they have a negative expectation about the music business. The Czechs seems to be most concerned about their music business, which, in the light of the political success of the Pirate Party in the country is not surprising. This is the country where musicians are the most threatened politically. In Hungary, people have negative expectations about their household situation.