We reported last week on the debate sparked by a feature in the New York Times by Steven Johnson painting a positive picture of the US creative economy – including musicians. After criticism from the Future of Music Coalition (FMC), Johnson has published a new piece responding. “The FMC authors are undoubtedly right that it is impossible to know exactly how many musicians are working in the United States right now, and how much money they are making,” he admits, while defending his choice of data sources.

And while Johnson still thinks “the story of music since 1999 is one of steady but small growth for musicians” he adds that “for what it’s worth, I think musicians (and other creators) deserve to see an even bigger piece of the pie”. For another perspective, see journalist Robert Levine’s Billboard rebuttal to both pieces: “The biggest problem with Johnson’s piece is that he’s asking the wrong question. He’s trying to figure out if creators as a group are making more money. There’s considerable evidence they’re not. What we should be looking at instead is whether creators can sell their work in a fair and functioning market that will reward them according to the demand for their work.”

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