The New York Times runs some numbers. They figure out how much money is spent each year on organ grinders, restaurant musicians, philharmonic performers, pianolas, sheet music, opera singers, piano teachers, phonographs, and every other form of music they can think of. They come up with a total just shy of $7,000,000 and wonder if it’s all worth it. I think the answer is yes, and I’m kind of surprised they bother to ask.
One thing I found interesting in the article is that “records which immortalize in wax or celluloid Caruso’s sobs, Tetrazzini’s fioriture or Sousa’s brassy thrills, cost from 25 cents to $5 apiece.” Converted from 1911 dollars, that’s between $6 and $120 today. But you can still get tons of great albums for just $5 apiece on Amazon. Huh.
NEW YORK PAYS ABOUT $7,000,000 YEARLY FOR ITS MUSIC: Opera the Biggest Item, But Other Sources from the Hand Organ to Symphony Make Up the High Amount. (PDF)
From March 19, 1911