The road to musical fame isn’t always paved with gold but Coutts’ specialist offering helps talented musicians to navigate the way.

Elvis may have famously jumped in a private jet just to get peanut butter sandwiches, but for most musicians the sort of hedonistic spending often associated with rock and pop music is far from reality. While the next young star may already be on the UK’s gig circuit, cutting their teeth with live performances and building their fan base, it is likely to be their ability to manage their money, as much as their musical talent, that will get them to the top.

Seen from the outside, the UK music industry can seem lucrative: it provided a £4.1bn* contribution to the economy in 2015, up 17% on the previous year. But careers are hard won and can be a long time in the making. A great sound and talent alone are not enough to be a success. Almost daily Twitter and Instagram updates from artists are now the norm as they strive to stay connected with their audience. 

This shift to increased engagement should not come as a surprise. While the traditional album may still be viewed as the archetypal long-form artistic statement, on the whole it is no longer the mainstay of an artist’s income. A move towards live performance income is driven in part by the shift towards an experience economy. These experience purchases arguably necessitate a greater level of fan base engagement.

Monetising talent

The digital revolution, however, has not just been about engagement and connectivity. The most widely discussed change is in the way music is consumed. Despite the resurgence of the vinyl market, the overall retail value of both physical and digital sales has continued to fall, replaced by an increase in subscription streaming. Yet, the extent to which artists are benefitting from streaming is unclear and often depends on their individual contracts. Ultimately digital technology is changing careers and how talent can be monetised. 

“The extent to which artists are benefitting from streaming is unclear”

Today’s emerging artists are likely to receive income from their touring activities, merchandise and sponsorship opportunities alongside their recording and publishing contracts. This combination of income streams and the irregular timing of when payment arrives can make it harder to enjoy the things that other people take for granted. Buying a home, for example, may be difficult for musicians who struggle to secure traditional finance.

At Coutts we recognise this and have worked with many artists in similar situations – including some of the industry’s best-known names. We work closely with their professional teams to understand their finances, strategies and goals.

Planning for financial security

While musicians may have a large entourage of people helping them on tour, when it comes to their finances they are often best served by a close-knit team that includes a lawyer, an accountant, their manager, and private banker. No musician can be sure how far they’ll go or how long their careers will last, but we can help to map out and implement a plan for long-term financial security. 

At Coutts we deal with both the personal and commercial financial strategies of artists as part of a connected team. We help with the full range of financial requirements, which extends well beyond our banking services, to mortgages, investments, pension planning and much more.

UK music is a global export and the past four years have seen live music exports increase by 90%*. Managing global income streams is key for musicians and we can assist with everything from making personal spending abroad easier with our market leading multi-currency debit card, through to currency management strategies for touring and recording incomes. We also have a huge network of experts across the industry and can open doors to other professional advisers. Ultimately, we’re here to make sure that our clients’ finances run smoothly in the background so they can concentrate on their career.





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