How Much Does A Band Earn From Each Music Platform? Uniform Notion Shares The Numbers

image from www.uniformmotion.net Like most indie and d.i.y. artists, Uniform Motion relies primarily on digital sales and streaming to earn income from their recorded music.  Without the benefit of profits from brick and mortar retail, as Uniform Motion released a new recording, they decided to research and share with their fans what each source of income was going to pay them. While its an unofficial snapshot of what one EU based band is earning, it provides a valuable primer for any artist or label:

1 EUR = 1.36 USD
  • With Spotify, we’ll get 0.003 EUR/play. 
  • If you listen to the album all the way through, we’ll get 0.029 EUR.
  • If you listen to the album 10 times on Spotify, we’ll get 0.29 EUR
  • If you listen to it a hundred times, we’ll get 2.94 EUR
  • If you listen to the album 1,000 times (once a day for 3 years!) we’ll get 29.47 EUR!
  • If you use the free version of Spotify, it won’t cost you anything. Spotify will make money from ads. If you use any of the paid versions, we have no idea how they carve up the money. They only disclose this information to the Major record labels…

DEEZER: (A Spotify like service in UK and France)

  • Deezer seems to pay a little more.
  • We’ve been getting 0.006 EUR/play from them. That’s 0.052 EUR/album play. If you listen to the album 10 times on Deezer, we’ll get 0.52 EUR. If you listen to it a hundred times, we’ll get 5.2 EUR. If you listen to the album 1,000 times (once a day for 3 years!) we’ll get a whopping 52 EUR! 
  • If you use the free version of Deezer, it won’t cost you anything and Deezer will make money from the ads. If you use any of the paid versions, we have no idea how they carve up the money either.


  • eMusic is a subscription service. The cost of the album will depend on the plan you have. We get roughly $0.29/song or $2.60/album (9 songs). 


  • You’ll pay 7.11 EUR to download the MP3’s. We will get 4.97 EUR of that. That’s a 70-30 split.


  • The album will cost you 8.91 EUR to buy from Apple.
  • There’s a 70-30% split there too, so we will keep 6.28 EUR/album.
  • That being said, it costs us 35 EUR/year to keep an album on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon (105 EUR per year for all 3 of our albums!) so we don’t make any money until 24 people have bought a digital copy of the album on iTunes, or 150 single songs, or if we get tens of thousands of listens on Spotify! In most cases, it’s actually more economically viable not to sell the music at all.

But what about if you buy the Digital version directly from us?


  • We allow people to pay what they want for the digital version. If you choose to pay 5 EUR, Paypal takes 0.37 EUR, Bandcamp takes 0.75 EUR. Uniform Motion keeps 3.88 EUR. it doesn’t cost us anything to have a page on bandcamp.
  • If you decide to pay nothing, well, we get nothing, but at least you didn’t give money indirectly to major record labels, which seems to be the case with Spotify!!


  • If you buy a CD, directly from us for 10 EUR, Paypal takes 0.515 EUR, Bandcamp takes 1.5 EUR. So there’s slightly less than 8 EUR left for us. But hold on a second, it costs a fair bit to make the CD.
  • The CD itself costs 1.2 EUR, the booklet costs about 50 cents, the CD packaging is 1.8 EUR and the sticker on the front costs 35 cents.
  • That’s a total of 3.65 EUR
  • So in reality, there’s 4.34 EUR left for us.


  • If you buy a 12” Vinyl from us at 15 EUR, Bandcamp takes 2.25 EUR, Paypal takes 0.646 EUR so there’s 12.10 left. The cost of the Vinyl itself is 3.06 EUR
  • The labels cost 1.3 EUR. For a total of 4.36 EUR
  • So there’s 7.75 EUR left for us.
  • However, we had to press 250 of these (because that’s the minimum order), so it’s very unlikely we’ll make any money on them.
  • We need to sell 72 copies before we break even on the vinyl edition. We’ve sold about 30 so far.
  • If we break even, we’ll lower the price a little bit. 🙂

via Techdirt

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  1. If Uniform Motion can’t sell 24 albums on iTunes, they shouldn’t be worrying about trying to sell music at all.
    Not for at least another year.

  2. I really don’t see the point of using exclamation points regarding Spotify. There’s obviously going to be ZERO transparency from that fascist cloud from hell.
    In fact, if they are streaming on Bandcamp already, it boggles my mind why they are on Spotify too…

  3. Or you can simply crowdsource a salary to make music at http://patronism.com and share it with the people who help you make it, your patrons.
    The average pay-what-you-feel subscription there is $10/mo and $8.50 of that goes to the band. Every 117 patrons there equals $1000/mo net to the artist.
    The purpose of the site is to act as a catalyst for the creation of new work, by connecting the people who love music directly with the people who make it, in an ongoing, mutually beneficial way.
    Check out the link to my website, which is my profile there.

  4. None of this matters – if you’re main revenue source is digital, no matter what the format and what it pays, unless you’ve got a serious budget to get the word out, you’re not going to make a dime. I wish everyone would wake up already and stop worrying about the pennies they’re going to make.

  5. “it costs us 35 EUR/year to keep an album on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon (105 EUR per year for all 3 of our albums!)”
    how come? I have albums on all three and it doesn’t cost me anything *per year*
    There was a one-off setup fee with CD Baby that get’s an album into iTunes and Spotify (and many others), can’t remember the terms on Amazon exactly, I don’t think there was any yearly fee though or I’d not have done it.
    I also sell by far more (in terms of value) CDs at gigs than I sell digital downloads, but maybe that’s because I have a real band.

  6. Your maths on the vinyl section appears to be wrong.
    72 records would get you 1080 euros at 15 euros each
    the total cost to produce the records ( I’ve used 15-7.75-your profit per record) is 7.25
    so 250×7.25 = 1812
    your about 48 records under in your break even estimation (given you take home 51% of the total cd cost it should be fairly obvious that you need to sell 50% of the records to break even)

  7. Dom – that section is missing some information. They actually didn’t buy 250 labels. Only a small amount. Enough for them to break even. This is why he came up with the 72 number. I agree though, it’s confusing. I emailed the band a week or so about that. It all checks out.

  8. “According to Nielsen Soundscan, it is the 15th week in a row where year-to-date album volume is greater than the prior year.” http://www.narm.com
    Independent artists, bands and labels need to stop buying the line that physical sales are dead.
    I hear them say it everyday and meanwhile the Majors are continue to enjoy the majority of the store sales. Yet we know that consumers and fans will buy “new” or indie music when they are given the option.
    As the rest of the world is barely digital if at all and when US artists don’t make physical releases how do they expect to be part of the global trade of entertainment.
    The trade numbers speak for themselves, The U.S. used to supply 80 percent of the worlds music or 36 bilion dollars worth of EXPORTS. The last trade numbers showed the us only exporting 2 billion. Meanwhile the world market for music grew by 2.7 percent.
    We are being tricked by the majors to entertain our economy to death and there is a very simple way to turn this around so that we’re exporting (((Art not Arms)))

  9. I believe that you cannot really compare sales and streams this way. A sale is a one time event. Done by a small audience.
    Streams have a far lower threshold and they go on and on for years in a row. Chances of your song being streamed are way bigger than your song being sold.
    In the end streams may well bring more revenue, but it takes time and only time will tell.
    The good news is that the Spotify payout is still rising. Up 100% since January. Check http://www.spotidj.com/blog/?p=264 for details

  10. This post has the band name spelled wrong in the title.
    As a former manager of a string of unknown bands, it’s interesting to see run-downs like this, about what pays and what doesn’t, and where the break-even points are for various services.
    I found though consistently that the best money was to be made by having a loyal fan sitting at a table at the back of a gig, selling CDs/t-shirts etc.

  11. yeah, that seemed like an odd statement to me as well. Why would it cost money to maintain an album on itunes, once fees are paid?

  12. a bit late, but @ paul gardner, CD baby takes 9% of your net income from digital distro partners. so you have to factor that in VS a yearly fee.

  13. why would bandcamp take 2,25 from the vinyl sale?
    normally one buys vinyl directly from a label or from the band.

  14. Mmmh, seeing that numbers makes me thinking:
    this numbers are not that low – i’d would have expected much(!) lower numbers for the artists 🙂

  15. gee thank you. being trampled may not be a sign of dimness, but a sign that focus is elsewhere…for instance on making good music, not maximizing profit. it is true, we’re trampled, but a world where brightness is measured in one’s ability to take advantage of others is…well you know what it is.

  16. Why bother paying Bandcamp? Host your own site and sell downloads for $92/year (73.24 EUR). That’s hosting and domain included. You could calculate the breakeven and stay with Bandcamp until their % fees outweighed website costs, but do you really want to wait until your fan base is that big to say “Hey don’t go to this website anymore, go to this one instead.” I’d personally rather have full control over my central web presence the whole time and build loyalty and reliable traffic with my own domain name.
    Plus, WordPress makes it really easy.

  17. That might be okay for dedicated fans, but Bandcamp is a serious plus for “everybody else”, becuase it is a trusted source and has a good infrastructure. You might be okay setting up your own domain, hosting, CMS, shop system, payment method, delivery… etc., but most artists don’t know how to do that (nor should they have to), don’t want to spend their time on that, or worst of all, don’t know how but try to do it anyway. According to the Bandcamp FAQ that’s why they started the service: because in the age of DIY digital distribution there is a hodgepodge of unreliable websites, unsecure payment processing, sloppy handling of audio content, excruciating delivery, etc. What Bandcamp offers for their percentage is a unified interface and infrastructure that customers can get to know and trust. If I purchase from Bandcamp, I can be sure that none of the technical aspects are messed up.

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