Have we lost 41 percent of our musicians? Depends on how you (the RIAA) count

From Arts Technica:

He appeared before the Personal Democracy conference in New York City on June 12 of this year. Such was the tension in the audience as Cary Sherman approached the stage that the moderator offered some cautionary words.

“The world changed this winter with the fight over SOPA and PIPA, and everybody is evaluating what that means,” his introduction to the guest began. “To some degree it is a cliche; it is a little bit like Daniel entering the lion’s den… I also think we owe him the same civility that we would respond to any controversial speaker no matter how controversial their views, so I’m expecting you all to treat him with respect.”

With that, the CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America took the podium and, to no one’s surprise, inveighed against copyright infringement and piracy. No sparks flew. The audience treated Sherman in a cordial and friendly manner. They even laughed at his jokes, which is probably why his presentation didn’t get much immediate news play.

One factoid from the speech, however, has taken on a life of its own. Sherman offered it alongside a chart about 14 minutes into the speech.

“The fact that I think is very interesting, but I think that most people don’t know, is that there are fewer people trying to make money as musicians today,” he explained.

“According to BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] data from the Federal government, the number of people who self describe themselves as musicians has declined since 1999 by 41 percent. Obviously piracy is not just a problem for our economy, but for our culture too.”

Continue reading the rest of the story on Arts Technica