Music Revenue in the Streaming Age
As music consumption has shifted from buying full length CDs to downloading mp3 singles to now streaming, the realized value of music has unfortunately drastically diminished. As an independent label, I can confirm that selling CDs is really tough, and the total payout I receive (to split between me and my artists) for streams on Spotify is about 3/10ths of one cent. That’s $0.003. Compare that to $0.64 I receive on a $0.99 download. At that ratio, a fan would have to stream a song 213 times to generate the same amount of income to support the artist. Given that math, it’s easy to see that the music itself is, unfortunately, nearly worthless, and artists earn their living selling concert tickets and t-shirts.
The reasons behind this shift, which actually hurts songwriters and publishers the most, because they don’t have the same performance and merchandising opportunities, are a combination of technological shifts in consumption and unfortunate exploitation by today’s disingenuous “innovators” of US copyright laws written in the 1940s. It’s a little known fact, but songwriter and publisher rights and revenues are strictly dictated by US law, perhaps unlike any other industry or art. I am optimistic, however, that we will find a way to grow the revenue pool and more songwriters will be able to earn a living well in the future.
My reasons for sharing this with you is to ask you to please support the songwriters and artists by attending their concerts, introducing their music to friends, buying their merchandise (t-shirts, hats, koozies, luncboxes, etc.), and buying their music.
Owner, Blue Bandana Records, songwriter, producer, guy who loves music