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The Importance of the Music Festival to Musicians and Artists.

Andy Robertson

In a changing world where the distribution and consumption of music has shifted is it still possible for musicians to earn a living. The music festival is becoming increasingly important to performance artists and musicians if they are to stand any chance of earning an income in the future.


There are very few performance artists and musicians that can earn a living from their own creative work. Many work in other professions with full time jobs while a lucky few may earn a decent living working as a session musician. A live performance or appearance at a music festival is often the only opportunity many artists get to earn money from their chosen profession.

Evolving Industry.
The production and distribution of music has changed significantly over the last 40 years thanks to the reduced costs of distribution via the internet and advances in technology making the production process simpler and cheaper. Record labels, TV and radio stations no longer wield the power they once had in deciding what material got exposure. Consumption of music is now made primarily online with numerous streaming services available.

Promoters and Record Labels. 
Although having less influence than they had a few decades ago record labels and promoters still sign-up talented artists on recording contracts worth large sums. A signed artist will benefit from large advertising and marketing promotional campaigns to support released material. Revenue is earned from royalties and split between the different parties involved.

Revenue Earning Opportunities. 
With so much material being consumed almost exclusively online where royalty revenue can be insignificant the best earning opportunities come from live performances. For artists signed with record labels and promoters this will usually consist of large capacity concerts and tours where sizable revenues can be earned from ticket sales, merchandise and corporate sponsors. For the lesser known and up-and-coming artists the opportunities for earning any revenue are challenging. Online streamed material needs so many hits that it can become difficult to earn decent revenue. Most earning potential is increasingly coming from live performances but small venues rarely pay for appearances, it's the music festival format that possibly presents to best opportunities for any up-and-coming artist.

The majority of music festivals are independently operated and the curation process is not influenced by record labels, promoters and corporate sponsors and this opens up opportunities to create interesting and varied line-ups. An artist that secures a good run of appearances during the summer festival season can earn reasonable revenue. For artists and musicians struggling to earn anything from streaming their material securing a music festival set may be the best way to earn something from what they do. Many festival organisers also allow artists to submit applications in advance for consideration in the curation process.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering. 

Photo by Dariusz Grosa via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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