Hi all,

I am writing a paper on my one friend who is a musician. As we all know, it is extremely difficult to break into the music business and be successful. But how difficult is it? Does anyone have any sources giving some insight as to how difficult it is to break into this industry? Maybe some statistics. Or maybe some statistics on how much music is stolen or how much profit is lost to piracy? I tried looking but couldnt find anything. thanks!
100% of the time it depends on the situation, genre, state of the industry, individual player, region, type of fan base, and a million other variables.

Music sales went up when piracy increased btw, I remember writing a paper for piracy a year or so ago and the stats actually said that piracy let lesser-known artists get noticed; Tosin Abasi even said in an interview that he has a neutral view on it because of the exposure it got AAL. People are more likely buy after listening to the music for free and enjoying it.
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There is alot of information and statistics you are asking about, as far as piracy issues are concerned, available at a website called AzOz. The gentleman who owns the site (George Ziemann) calls into question many of the statistics given out by the RIAA with facts figures from other reputable sources.
I'm the only player to be sponsered by 7 guitar companies not to use their products.
The problem with coming up with any kind of statistic is that you need some way to measure "put some effort into creating a career" to use as your denominator. Coming up with a workable number for the numerator (some definition of success) is relatively easy.

eg, in Hollywood, I know people often use screenplays registered with the WGA as a denominator (those are screenplays written on spec, which the authors are intending to circulate enough to need to protect.) But how do you define the number of people who think they're creating near-professional quality work in music? It's almost impossible.