It was not too long ago that a music fan could walk into an actual record (or music) store and peruse thousands of record albums, CDs, and singles; but today almost the only place to find an actual CD in the United States is at a live concert or the used book sale at the local library.
Currently most of the music purchased in the United States comes from digital downloads. The Daily Swarm has released some startling statistics on just what it takes for a musician to make a living in the music business.
When a musician or a band has a deal with a record company, the artist receives seven to 10 percent of each album or CD sold. With digital download services the artist receives about nine cents per song.
In the US there is a national minimum wage for workers of $7.25 per hour (some areas pay more). This translates into $1,160 per month before taxes. For artists to earn the same amount as a minimum wage worker, they would have to sell 1,161 physical CDs, 1,299 digitally downloaded albums, or 12,399 singles.
And when it comes to audio streaming services, it can take anywhere from 849,817 plays to over four million plays to make the same amount of money. What makes this even more difficult is that the various audio streaming and digital download services are not available everywhere.
Emusic is available in 27 countries
iTunes is available in 23 countries
YouTube is available in 21 countries
Vodafone is available in 17 countries
7Digital is available in 16 countries
Spotify is available in 12 countries
Last.fm is available in 10 countries
Amazon is available in six countries
Deezer is available in four countries
Pandora and Rhapsody are available in only one country
These numbers do not take into account the number of hours an artist or a band spends practicing each day, the time spent writing songs, and recording those songs. For many musicians the only real source of an income is by touring and some bands spend more time on the road then they do at home trying to survive making music. And just because the concert figures reach into the millions, the artist does not get most of it; that goes to the venue, roadies, technicians, lighting and sound engineers, and any number of “expenses”.
Like the best selling writers, there is a very small percentage of musicians who regularly make millions each year from touring and album sales; while the majority strive to eek out a living,
Making music can be fun but for the professional musician it is also a lot of hard work that often times shows very little in physical return.
Musicians Earn What????