I am in the entertainment industry. I work as an electrician, in a unionized environment.
I work setting up shows, and running lighting consoles, for theatre and music. I also work in film, setting lights, and running cable. I have what could be called an 'industry insiders perspective.' I could even be that guy that talks at the beginning of the moves, explaining what he does.
There are two totally different worlds between the music industry, and the film industry. The artists are treated and paid much differently, from one to the next.
Movie stars once upon a time, were tied to the studio. They worked for a number of movies, for a set amount of money, regardless of how the well the picture grossed. The producer and the director made off with the cash that everyone worked so hard for. The talent was caught in the same sort of web, being pushed to do all these movies because they were signed on. As time went by the contracts moved to a base plus some of the profit. The cast retains some control over images that the studio uses of them to promote the movie. The cast is also responsible for plugging the movie. Works both ways, the actors plug the movie, and everyone sees more money.
When I work on the movie set, there is lots of overtime, days can stretch from the normal 12 hours to whenever they want to stop. The Director, the Producer, and the Assistants are all aware of how the overtime works. The overtime is there in order that the rest of the folks working aren't being abused and punished to work long hours without eating. Generally we go 6 hours before lunch (law requires after 5). We have plenty of goodies and snacks going around for sustenance until then.
Even with the overtime, the labor cost is usually about 30% of the budget.
Most of us understand how little of the album that actually goes to the artist. On 15 dollars, something like 1$ comes to the artist, and depending on if the artist owes something to the studio, depends on how much from that.
The musician goes into the studio to record their album.The record company charges for them to use their space, and equipment. That gets taken out of their sales. If they rack up 200, 000$ in studio expenses, that comes before you ever see your milllion. Add on any additional promo-fee that they might have incurred and we see how fast they loose. The other penalty is that the record company can decide that if they try to promote you in Europe, and it tanks, and they spent a million, that you could be on the hook for that as well. We can see how the companies like to hold their money. Most do.
When the band goes out on the road, someone has to foot the bill. Either the record company or the ban themselves. U2 is one that does. Most don't. If the tour goes bad, then the band isn't being held responsible. The tour is where the band makes their money. But they are playing for a fixed fee. Mega bands like U2 and the Stones command mega dollars. Even with all this profit, the promotors are crying poor. They place constraints on production, and crew sizes. Everything is geared so that it sets up and goes out quickly. Minimal number of crew, minimal overtime. There are few amenities, they try to make you feel guilty over getting paid. How the the labor budget is killing these poor Promotors. If they weren't making a profit, they wouldn't exist.
If the artists got together and said they wanted a better deal. Told the record companies that they wanted the same thing as the film actors, paid a certain base amount plus profits, and say 3 months of album support (interviews etc.), I think that they would be all better off.
The movie industry realizes that it takes people to make things happen. The music industry grinds through talent to strengthen its dollar. The problem is that the band will never get the exposure that it might deserve if no-one buys the record. So when the album is downloaded for free, they have no real counter of popularity. No tour means no work for us at the bottom level.
There are so many labor hours that go into either an album or a movie. The cost of a DVD or CD, seems almost trivial when compared to that. There is a sense of replay value, in that if they are good, then its worth replaying more then once. The cost of a good album is like that, in that you might listen to it multiple times. Movies are bundled with extras, that people seem to want. I'm not here to justify the exact cost, whether albums should be 10 not 20, etc. I won't stoop to say that I don't feel the pinch at 12 bucks for a movie ticket. There are only a few movies that I will pay that much to see. But to be entertained for 6$ an hour isn't too bad. You dont mind paying 50$ an hour for your lawyer or plumber. Your happy that they keep you out of the shit.
Its ok to make money. Sometimes its how you treat those that got ya there.