Music Business

Most Music Creators Typically Earn Less Than $270 Annually From Streaming

An average annual income of $270 from music streaming might still seem shockingly low. Unfortunately, it’s actually pretty typical, writes Bobby Owsinski.

Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

A survey by The Ivors Academy and Musicians’ Union in the UK found that 82% of their music creators are making less that 200£ (or $270) from streaming music each year. This is despite the fact that the major record labels have claimed to have earned about $4.4 billion dollars so far this year.

There were more revelations as well:

  • 92% said less than 5% of their earnings came from streaming last year.
  • 50% said their income from recorded music has declined over the past 10 years.
  • 43% said that insufficient income from streaming caused them to get a job outside of music.

While this sounds pretty horrible, it’s really no different than it’s ever been in the music industry. If you’re in the top 1%, then you’re making plenty of money from recordings, and you can trace the numbers back to the 60s. If anything, artists have better royalty deals than ever before, but that doesn’t mean much unless you’re in that top echelon.

One of the fallacies of having a record deal is that it automatically guarantees a life on easy street, but nothing could be further from the truth. A deal just gives you the opportunity to earn more money, but in the past when physical media was king, you still had to have some substantial sales to begin to realize any of the money that you earned. Even then you were subject to recoupment costs (just as now) that meant that you might not see a dime for years.

The fact of the matter is that a million streams sounds like a lot, but in the grand scheme of things today that number is barely getting you in the game. Remember that a minor hit is around the 50 million mark, and many top artists hit this mark regularly in just a week. In fact, real hits these days are in the 100 millions and even billions of streams.

Music creators must realize that one is owed a living from music and it’s a fact that the industry is trying to keep every dollar for itself. Expect that you will be come up short when it comes to money until you’re a superstar.

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