The music industry is turning digital. Album sales have dropped 50% over the past decade and record sales now account for only 10% of a singer or band’s annual income. So how do the poor superstars survive?
By playing corporate concerts.
The UK Music Measuring economic survey, which is a catchy title if ever I heard one, asked 900 composers, musicians and songwriters to reveal how they earned their money in 2013.
Singers received 49% of their earnings for playing corporate gigs. And when you look at the figures you can see why they would be seduced to perform for a set of suits.
Lily Allen got £120,000 for a 40-minute performance at the Nokia Christmas party. Beyoncé got $1m to perform at parties thrown by Muammar Gaddafi’s playboy sons in Italy and the Caribbean.
And if you think that was a questionable gig, Jennifer Lopez – who has made an estimated $10m from corporate bookings – was paid $1.5m to sing happy birthday to the President of Turkmenistan, one of the world’s most repressive countries. Not very nice work, even if you can get it.
On a lighter note, Robbie Williams, Stevie Wonder and The Beach Boys shared £3m when they played at Sir Philip Green’s 60th birthday party in Mexico.
Sir Philip runs the Arcadia group that includes Topshop, BHS and Dorothy Perkins.
Which makes you think. A percentage of the profit on that blouse you bought from Topshop went towards Robbie’s paycheck. Still, he’s worth it, isn’t he?
Comedians and sporting and show business personalities make a nice living on the after-dinner speaking circuit and Tony Blair has made millions from lectures and advising despots.
You wouldn’t think he would have the time seeing as he is the Middle East Peace Envoy.
Or is that just a joke?
Fired by all this corporate opportunity I was wondering if I could crash the gig and offer my talents, limited though they are.
I could make any businessman or woman the hero of a short story or novel.
If, for instance, Sir Philip Green fancied being James Bond I could bash out 50,000 words quick-sticks for a modest pound a word. Go on then, two for the price of one, as they might say in Topshop.
You sir! Fancy the starring role in an erotic masterpiece to knock Fifty Shades into the shade? Just state your preferences and the job’s a good ‘un.
If international figures are slow in coming forward I am quite happy to accommodate local folk in the meantime and be paid in kind – fruit and veg, groceries, steak dinners, free beer. Any takers?