Nine Ways Musicians Actually Make Money Today - Rolling Stone
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Nine Ways Musicians Actually Make Money Today

With record sales plummeting to new lows, here’s how top stars are helping pay their bills

Jessica Simpson/Justin Bieber/BonoJessica Simpson/Justin Bieber/Bono

Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for Jessica Simpson Collection; Courtesy of Warner Bros.; Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Over the past decade-plus, the old-fashioned way of making money in the music business – selling recorded albums – has dropped off a cliff, splintered into a zillion pieces and been run over by that methylene train from Breaking Bad. Many top stars have switched their focus to selling concert tickets; while this is a prudent plan, generally speaking, it's getting trickier now that everyone else is on the road with the same idea. But there's still money out there. Pop stars just have to be creative. "Despite the fact that the traditional ways to make money are challenged – record sales and tickets in particular – there are ways for artists to exploit their talents that didn't exist 10 years ago," says Gary Stiffelman, a veteran music-business attorney who has worked with Justin Timberlake, Eminem and Lady Gaga. What ways is he talking about? Here are nine of the best alternate revenue sources for rock stars.

By Steve Knopper


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