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How Much Do Music Artists Earn Online?
sstair
metanerd
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Location: Austin, Texas, yall
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Posted 1.25.13 :: 2:28PM :: How Much Do Music Artists Earn Online?
Front, is this information accurate? http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/how-much-do-music-artists-earn-online/

Or does the listed label/artist split for downloads not apply to you?
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aceupmysleeve
ultranerd
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Location: Gotham city
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Posted 1.25.13 :: 2:49PM ::
Wow, sstair, thanks for posting that link! I'm not in a position to verify any of it, but I'm very interested in what Front has to say on the matter. I think I'd find that chart pretty scary if I were thinking of going into music for a living.
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imzadi
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Posted 1.25.13 :: 11:38PM ::
But look at them cheering, notice what? They don't sew!
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aceupmysleeve
ultranerd
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Posted 1.26.13 :: 7:59AM ::
imzadi wrote:
But look at them cheering, notice what? They don't sew!


Hahaha how did I forget about this? Very relevant!
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aceupmysleeve
ultranerd
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Posted 2.4.13 :: 1:46PM ::
Does anyone know of any artists who really like Spotify? I've heard a lot about how it's bad for artists, but I wonder if any of them actually like it.

And I wonder how the model could be improved for artists. It seems like it'd be hard to increase the amount they get without cutting the service substantially for the users, just because of the amount of music that a user my listen to - if someone pays the price of 1-2 albums for a month of Spotify and then leaves it playing music nearly constantly, it seems like it would be hard for Spotify to guarantee themselves a profit while promising artists a decent payment per play.

It seems to me that either Spotify-like streaming will go away, or artists will just have to hope that streaming will lead to buying (of music/merch/tickets) down the line.

Another issue is the 'lost sales' point... if an artist gets a very small payment from some listens, but those listeners would never had checked out the artist without the opportunity to do so on Spotify, then they haven't really lost the £x that they would have earned if those listeners had bought the albums instead of listening on Spotify (since they never would have made that money in the first place).


I guess it's all pretty complicated, and a lot of it will come down to the mathematics, which none of us can do without the statistics that Spotify presumably collects and doesn't like to share with just anyone.

Maybe I think about it too quantitatively....
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Front
ubergeek
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Location: internet
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Posted 2.6.13 :: 5:02PM ::
Spotify pays allllllmost nothing. I mean, Pandora pays almost nothing, and Spotify pays a miniature fragment of that. It is nice to be on those services because people use them for music discovery, and I always prefer people to hear my songs instead of not hear them. But it is definitely problematic that listeners assume I (or any other artist) is getting some of their subscription money.

I don't have any label in between me and the revenue, thank goodness. I do have CDBaby brokering to 60 or 70 online streaming and "e-tailing" (blech) outlets. They deal with itunes and zune and spotify and etc etc etc, because that's a lot more accounting than I could ever deal with. They charge a flat percent (I think it's 9% for most CDBaby clients, though I talked them down a little after I got established as a strong seller). They're worth it.

So here's some data points, just for example (and if anyone wants to know what music listening/downloading outlets to use when they're feeling maximally supportive of the project):

After paying CDBaby's cut, here's some money I receive:

For a napster stream, I get about a cent and a half.
For a spotify or zune stream, about two fifths of a cent (if they're streaming to subscribers. They also stream to free users, and for that I think I get something between one and five HUNDREDTHS of one cent)
For an itunes download, about 65 cents.
For an itunes europe or australia download, about 85 cents.
For an amazon song download, about 50 cents.

The itunes actually adds up after a while, which is nice.

The way I make more substantial money is from direct sales. I sell the albums here http://frontalot.com/mp3store in mp3/aac/flac for 9 to 12 bucks each, and I (well, I and Spellah and Gm7) keep all of that except for paypal's ~5%.

The physical CDs are even better: I print and package them in large batches for about $1.25 each and sell them for $15 at shows or $11-14 at frontalot.com/store.

That profit margin is just printing-against-sales, and like all the 3-rd party digital income I was listing, it doesn't account for amortizing the production costs (buying mics, pre-amps, computer parts, software, other gear, paying musicians and singers and illustrators, etc etc etc) or promotion costs (hiring a publicist for album release, making music videos). But I make the albums as inexpensively as I possibly can, and usually recoup 100% of that cost in the first few months.
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Vlietstra
super mega nerd
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Location: Chippenham, UK
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Posted 2.20.13 :: 7:09PM ::
Thats actually really eye opening. Would you say to an extent it's not worth bothering with Napster and Spotify and focusing on Itunes specifically or do the others eventually add up?
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Front
ubergeek
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Location: internet
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Posted 2.28.13 :: 3:27PM ::
If you want to feel financially supportive, itunes/amazon is good (and in my specific case, http://frontalot.com/mp3store is twice as good).

If you want to just listen to music however you want to listen to it, use your favorite streaming! Artists who have serious objections can opt out of those kinds of services.
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imzadi
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Posted 4.24.13 :: 8:33PM ::
Out of curiosity why do you eschew bandcamp?
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Front
ubergeek
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Location: internet
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Posted 4.24.13 :: 10:16PM ::
originally because I didn't want to have more accounting to keep track of, but it really stuck around and seems to work well so I should probably put everything on there.
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Karl Olson
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Location: kirkland, wa
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Posted 5.14.13 :: 3:18AM ::
While you'd still make more with your direct mp3 sales, I have to say Bandcamp has been really good for myself and everyone I'm working with. Plus, if you have your songs have ISRCs, Bandcamp counts towards the regular charts. Yeah, the 15% + Paypal % cut isn't great, but it's better than the other companies.

Plus, you'd have enough sales and back catalog to spring for the Pro account and get that bulk uploading feature/lower sales fees.
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sstair
metanerd
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Location: Austin, Texas, yall
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Posted 6.26.13 :: 8:23PM :: More info in this area
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sstair
metanerd
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Posted 7.19.13 :: 1:29PM ::
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sunchangping
nerdling
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Posted 9.16.13 :: 5:13AM ::
They deal with itunes and zune and spotify and etc etc etc, because that's a lot more accounting than I could ever deal with. They charge a flat percent (I think it's 9% for most CDBaby clients, though I talked them down a little after I got established as a strong seller). They're worth it.
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sunchangping
nerdling
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Posted 9.16.13 :: 5:14AM ::
sunchangping wrote:
They deal with and zune and spotify and etc etc etc, because that's a lot more accounting than I could ever deal with. They charge a flat percent (I think it's 9% for most CDBaby clients, though I talked them down a little after I got established as a strong seller). They're worth it.






They charge a flat percent
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TripleDigitFan
nerdinaire
Posts: 462
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Posted 9.18.13 :: 11:18PM ::
Ha ha ha! This spambot is hilarious! Taking previous posts and regurgitating them ...plus responding to its own post with more follow-up copy pasta. Fantastic. One day the spambots will become self-aware and start talking to each other.

(Note, by "hilarious" I mean hideous)
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Mikal kHill
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Location: 11th Circle, NC
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Posted 10.26.13 :: 2:33PM ::
Bandcamp is my main source of music income (not counting commercial art commissions). I am on spotify, and it basically just pays for itself, and the amount I make off itunes is miniscule compared to bandcamp. Front, I might suggest moving to tunecore from cdbaby? That's what I did, and they don't take a cut of sales at all except for a yearly fee of like 50 dollars. Int80 told me about it a few years ago, and I'm so glad I made the jump.
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