The Dutch world of pop music

An enterprising pop musician develops a healthy and sustainable balance between his or her artistic, organisational and financial activities. In this three-pronged approach, planning, pricing, audience, publicity, paperwork and calling in the right people are key issues. Use the ‘10 P’s checklist’ as a guideline for this.

For each project, a successful business has good insight into the costs, income and time (abbreviated as KIT within the pop department, which is short for kosten, inkomsten en tijd). You generate income by performing live, selling your music –  both digital copies and physical albums –  or via advertising revenue. You can also earn money from copyright and neighbouring rights, merchandise, or payment from other activities, such as teaching or session work. There are also costs attached to all these sources of income. It’s also important to realise that you can only spend your precious time on one thing at a time.

There are important websites and organisations that can support you as artist, but nowadays you can, and you will also have to, run a business yourself. Here you will be given tips and tricks to help launch your business. Lift off and reach for the stars!

Video: earn money with music

Figures for live music venues 2018

Live music venues
In 2018, the live music venues organised 15,733 events. This mainly concerned music, such as live concerts and club evenings. In total, 26,030 music performances were given. The majority of the acts were Dutch.

In 2018, almost 5,5 million people visited the live music venues. 71% of the audience visited a music programme. Well over 87% of the visitors paid for admission.

The ticket sales only covered part of the programme costs in the case of small venues (71%) and medium-sized venues (88%). In addition to programme costs (35.6%), the most important expenses were for staff (32.2%) and accommodation (11.6%).

The most important income consisted of ticket sales (36.3%), catering (23.3%) and subsidies (24.1%). This financing mix varies somewhat depending on the audience capacity of the live music venues. Large venues derived more income from ticket sales. Small live music venues had a larger share from subsidies.

In 2018, live music venues had 7,762 employees. 42% of them were paid employees and 58% were volunteers or trainees. Most working hours were put in by paid employees. Expressed in full-time equivalent (FTE), 72% of the work at large live music venues was paid. In the case of small and medium-sized venues, 54% and 52% of the work was paid. Volunteers are very important, particularly for smaller venues.

Music festivals
The 44 music festivals organised by the Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals (Vereniging Nederlandse Poppodia en -Festivals, VNPF) that took place in 2018 attracted 2 million visitors that year. The majority of the festivals had an admission price (64%), but the largest audience came to freely accessible festivals (60%).

The music festivals had 329 music stages where 2,841 music performances were given. More than 77% of the music festivals took place (partly) outside.

Source: Dutch live music venues and festivals facts and figures

The figures come from 56 venues and 48 festivals that were affiliated with the VNPF in 2019.