Superstar Economy


The music industry is a Superstar economy, that is to say a very small share of the total artists and works account for a disproportionately large share of all revenues. This is not a Pareto’s Law type 80/20 distribution but something much more dramatic: the top 1% account for 77% of all artist recorded music income. A star system is just a way of packaging a bell curve. Winner-take-all distributions come about when there is a global sorting of people within a single framework. But broader forms of reward like academic tenure and research grants are vastly more beneficial

All rituals in which anointed individual will suddenly become rich and famous are winner-take-all rituals. Winner- take-all Distributions, amplify errors and make outcomes less meaningful . To rely on them is a mistake — pragmatic, ethical, but also a mathematical one. ​ Top players are rewarded tremendously while almost everyone else starves.

To get a bell curve of outcomes there must be a variety of paths, or sorting processes, that can lead to success. Henry Ford made a point of pricing his cars so that his own factory workers could afford to buy them. Digital networks have been mostly applied to reduce benefits of locality, and that will lead to economic implosion.