Music Downloads and Streams In Cold, Hard Dollars

Illustration for article titled Music Downloads and Streams In Cold, Hard Dollars

Just how much moolah do musicians earn from online downloads and streams? For the artist to earn the US minimum wage ($1,160/month), they need 12,339 iTunes downloads or 849,817 streams on Rhapsody.


Lady Gaga apparently made just $167 from 1 million streams of Poker Face on Spotify—to earn minimum wage from that service, an artist needs 4,549,020 streams, according to statistics. Brain-fodder for the aspiring musician, for sure. [Information Is Beautiful]


They're missing 2 key points.:

1, they're directly comparing a single song sale/download to an album sale/download. It takes an artist and producer roughly 12x longer to produce an entire album. So of course they have to sell more singles to make the same amount of money as the album, but on the other hand, the single is more profitable when you factor in the amount of work that went into ONE song as opposed to 12 songs.

2, You can't compare music SALES to streaming music. I buy a CD or MP3 once...that is, if you're lucky enough for me to happen to see it, search it, or pick it up PLUS wanting to make the purchase.

Streaming music is profit per listen. If I buy an MP3 once and listen to it 500 times, you make 99c. If I stream it 500 times, you get paid 500 times, that works out to $1.10 on Rhapsody. In addition, most music streaming is random, like the radio. I listen to NEW music every day, I listen to MORE music every day, stuff I would've never heard before, stuff I would've never even thought to purchase, and here's the kicker, if I like it enough, I'm just likely enough to STILL make a purchase, because Streaming isn't always available on my MP3 player.