About once a month, we get an email from a researcher, journalist, policymaker, or a student asking us a simple question: how many musicians are there in the United States? Given our work on Artist Revenue Streams, it makes sense that they ask us, but our answer is the same for everyone:
There is no reliable way to measure the real size of the US musician population.
There are three particular challenges in estimating the size of the musician population in the United States:
– There is no agreed-upon definition for “musician”, nor certifications or qualifying tests.
– There is no one organization that represents all musicians.
– The government’s statistics excludes a huge chunk of the musician population by their own counting standards.