Think you know everything there is to know about music? Prepare to be blown away as we take a look at some of the most interesting, unbelievable facts about musicians and the music industry.
1. In 1994, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of TLC got into an argument with her abusive, NFL player boyfriend, Andre Rison, over how many sneakers he bought for himself. Lopes ended up setting fire to a pair of the shoes in the bathtub, but ended up burning Rison’s entire house down. She was arrested for felony arson, and had to pay a $10,000 dollar fine on top of five years probation.
2. If you’ve got big dreams of striking it rich in the music industry, think again. 63% of album and download sales go to the label, and another 23% to the distributors. By the time the lawyers, publishers, producers, and managers get their cut, the average musician sees just 2.3% of the profit.
3. The music industry can be even tougher to break into if you are a woman. According to a recent survey, almost 88% of credited songwriters and 83% of musicians in the recording industry are men. Of the 12% of songwriters who are women, only 26% have worked more than once in the last six years.
The gender gap gets even wider when you look at producers: just 2% of credited producers in 2017 were women. In fact, less than 4% of the producer’s guild is female.
4. That rock n roll lifestyle can take a toll. According to one Australian study, the lifespan of a musician might be lower than the average by 25 years. This lower lifespan includes increased chances of accident and murder.
That low average is due, in no small part, to the 27 Club. Music fans have noticed the eerie frequency with which music stars die at the age of 27, a tradition that seems to begin all the way back in the 1930s with blues guitarist Robert Johnson (it might even start as early as 1892 if you’re an Alexandre Levy fan). Other members of the club include Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain.
5. Virtually all the music you hear on TV and radio is released by three giant corporations: Universal, Sony BMG, and Warner Music Group. They cover more than 90% of the market.
Of the 38 weekly top-selling albums of 2017, all but two were released by one of the Big Three or their subsidiaries.
Weird Music History
Freddie Mercury's famous overbite was the result of him having four extra teeth in his upper jaw.
The extra teeth in Freddie's mouth pushed his front ones forward, giving him his signature overbite. But he never got them removed because he feared the surgery would affect his voice and vocal range.