We have just over 300 responses to the Music Photography Rates spreadsheet. This includes data covering rates for tour photography, festival media teams, editorial work and more. I thought it would be interesting to collect some of the graphs available in the backend of the Google Form and share some of the data.
First, why pay transparency? Because being open about what we charge and what clients pay empowers us all to advocate for our individual and collective worth. More on value of sharing our rates in my article The Importance of Pay Transparency.
Now to the data.
The majority of work is reported as music photography only. Reading into the sheet, it's more common to see photo/video hybrid work specifically for tour photography.
Client Types for Music Photography
So who pays for music photography? The largest client type by reporting are artists — when combined with work for labels/management, it's clear that working directly for an artist represents a large client base.
40.9% — Artist
27.9% — Promoter/venue
13.3% — Management/label
Related, we see shooting individual concerts for artists represents the largest job type, with photographing for promoters, venues and festivals in high proportion.
25.9% — Concert (artist, non-tour)
16.6% — Concert (promoter/venue)
15.9% — Tour
12.3% — Festival (in-house)
7.9% — Portrait (promo)
4.3% — Concert (editorial)
4% — Festival (editorial)
3% — Image licensing
2.6% — Concert (brand/sponsor)
Interestingly, the type of venue that stands out for paid music photography work are club venues, making up nearly a third of jobs of those reporting.
29.6% — Club
18.9% — Festival
11.3% — Concert hall
8.3% — Theater
8.3% — Various
7.9% — Arena
7% — n/a
6% — Amphitheater
When it comes to licensing, the majority of clients request social licensing. Collating social/promo in total, this type of license is the majority by far. In contrast, buyout licensing is relatively rare.
For deliverables in music photography, photographer selects are the most common, followed by retouched selects. It's much more rare to deliver all images or RAW files.
Of those reported, most jobs in music photography appear as a inclusive fee — either flat, or a per day/show basis. What appears less common is charging per hour.
For self reported rates, of those answer the optional, open write-in for gender identity, responses are nearly evenly split.*
Collating for write-in answers:
51.3% — Men
48.7% — Women
* It should be noted that this question was added after the form launched, so there are fewer responses. In addition, it's important to note that based on the collection of rates per jobs, one individual can submit multiple entries.
With experience of music photographers reporting rates, we can see a clear trend toward those with 5-10 years of experience, and the majority of all paid work with at least 2 or more years of experience. Only 2.1% had less than 1 year of experience.
If you haven't already, if you are a music photographer who has been paid in any capacity, please add your job experiences to the Music Photography Rates sheet using this Google Form.
You're encouraged to submit multiple entries to the forms if this helps reflect your work experience for different clients and/or jobs. Every entry helps us in understanding the landscape of what clients are paying, be it high or low.
The ideal entry is in the format of “$500 USD flat per show.” The more specific, the better. The forms are intended to collect rates from specific jobs, rather than ranges or generalizations. This is so we can have clear, scannable data points about real world jobs and experiences.