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Music download sales drop 4%, streaming up 59%

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Ukiah Bass, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
  2. Musicians make money from streaming as well. iTunes radio, Pandora and the like all pay royalties.

  3. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006

    From the articles I've read, the established acts are not making much off streaming royalties. A fraction of minimum wage.
  4. Hi.


    If You want minimum wage, go flip some burgers or sweep some floors.
    If You want more, educate Yourself.

    Musicians usually have other sources of income as well, or should they get above minimum wage from record sales, above minimum wage from gigs, above minimum wage from merch sales, above minimum wage from commercials, above minimum wage from misc. appearances, etc. ?

    Any musician who goes into music business dreaming they can support themselves just by making a recording every now and then, and perhaps a gig or a two sometimes, do need a reality check.
    And that reality check often comes sooner rather than later.

    Too bad the worst IMO seem to have the best people behind them and just go on and on and on ;).
    They make craploads of money for the machine though, but that's what it's all about.

  5. Turxile


    May 1, 2011
    This is hilarious.
    But makes you think...
    Let's manipulate this idea further (with lots of loop holes) People pay more for a burger than for a song. Hence the perceived value of a burger is higher than that of a song. Hence you create more value when you flip burgers. Hence you earn more. Is that it?
  6. brownie_bass

    brownie_bass [this space for sale, cheap]

    Oct 3, 2013
    New York, NY
    If this is true it should self-correct - artists with the leverage to hold out will do so for a better deal. Remember that acts were also supposedly making less on downloads than CDs initially, but no one complains about that anymore.

    In the long run I'm sure the issue with streaming revenue will be the same that it always is and always has been since the beginning of the recording industry: it's a winner-take-all type model where the most popular acts can command a good deal for themselves, and everyone else has to make do with peanuts now in the hope that they get popular enough to strike a better deal in the future.
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Streaming royalties are tiny, not at all comparable to mechanical royalties for CDs/LPs.
  8. Perhaps the problem lies with the collection of "everything sounds the same and it's all very boring" artists that have been hanging around for way too long. No one is trying to market music to the people who would actually purchase it. 25 years ago I spent around $50 a month on music, today I don't spend that in a year, not because I don't want to part with the cash, but because there's nothing worth buying. I'd love to be buying that much music again, but, as a listener, if I hear 1 new song a month that intrigues me it's a lot... Yet, I'm the demo that's got plenty of disposable income...
  9. Chromer


    Nov 28, 2012
    Then you're not looking very hard. Most weeks there are a dozen or so new albums released I'm interested in, and most of those in a genre considered "20 years dead" by "the industry."

    Whats killing the music industry is that there is so damned much new music around these days. Bad for business, fantastic for music lovers..
  10. brownie_bass

    brownie_bass [this space for sale, cheap]

    Oct 3, 2013
    New York, NY
    Of course it's not apples-to-apples. Per-download royalties are higher but you download once and play for free forever, streaming royalties are lower but it's paid on every listen (more or less). What matters at the end of the day is how much the artist earns in aggregate over some longer window of time for having published a song of a certain popularity, not the precise breakdown down per download or per play.

    Anyway, I stand by my belief that top acts will renegotiate the deal if it turns out to suck for them. Everyone else will continue to make peanuts, but they already do and always have.
  11. Chromer


    Nov 28, 2012
    Streaming play = radio play/station audience

    Or at least, that's how I think it should be viewed.

    If a radio play royalty is $2 for a station with 100000 listeners, then a single stream royalty at more than 0.002 cents is a better deal for the artist than radio....
  12. Hi.

    Hilarious, perhaps, but it's the truth.

    Not necessarily sad, reality.

    If You have Your own burger stand, you can make way more than an average musician, and the hours are the same ;).

    Even if You're flipping 'em for someone else, good chances are that you still come ahead compared to your idealistic musician friend.


    If the mus.. eh, burgers of Your own ban... I mean stand plain suck, or at least aren't that good compared with the competition, you won't reach that minimum wage.
    Same if You price yourself out of the competition.
    Or if You don't respect the customers.

    Now, if we take a look at the products, burgers and songs do indeed have a lot in common.

    There's burgers/music You don't EVER want to eat/hear again.
    There's go-to burgers/music that never let You down.
    There's those special ones that bring up memories.
    The list is endless really.

    Good burgers, just like the good songs will live forever.

    And when the cranky old burger stand owner flips his/her last burger, there's no telling whether their successors will live up to the standards set by the patrons.

    Forget about making music, go flip some burgers :D.

  13. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    That's odd, I am an Android user, and I also buy almost all of my music (well, that which is not gifted to me). The article here is ridiculous at the very least as the irony is that it's almost vilifying Android users, when it was Apple that created the 99 cent cost model in iTunes (that was brought up later in this thread).

    At least when I bought 45's in my youth, they cost TWO dollars, AND I had something tangible to hold in my hand.

    I too am of the opinion that creative marketing of your art goes far beyond simply plunking down the tunes in Itunes store and hoping to make a living. It's a lazy path...anyone who has a song and pays the fee to get listed can do it. And as such, unless you have the juggernaut press machine doing the big push for you, or you're the one-off underground novelty song that grew legs off YouTube traffic and media mentions, you're eating Ramen.

    There are plenty of other ways to monetize your art. Stop being lazy and looking to articles like these to play the blame game. Or, as the article should have said in subliminal fine print: GO APPLE YER THE AWESOMEEST AND ANDROID IS DOO DOO
  14. Same as physical CDs and iTunes, you mean?
  15. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    There are two kinds of revenue you can earn from music sold online: first is the traditional "purchase-to-own" download sale such as with iTunes or Amazon. The other, which I'm more interested in here, is revenue from streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora where a listener consumes it for free and the artist is reimbursed via ad sales revenue, or the listener rents the service an injects more money into the platform, which then disburses it to artists according to its payment formula, usually based on number of plays.

    The bottom line is musicians seem to be earning comparatively less from streaming plays than downloads.

    The classic story is Zoe Keating's, which you can read here:

    Other famous musicians have recently been writing about the same disparity. None seem to be happy with revenues from streaming services. Of course the same argument occurred when radio appeared and challenged revenue from record sales. I suppose the cycle goes on and on. It's worth discussing if you're trying to make a living off of music. Most are unable to do so as revenue from direct music sales is dropping to a small fraction of a musician's total revenue stream. Last number I heard was about 7%.

    Disclaimer: I pay Spotify a monthly fee for that streaming service. I like it. It's an extremely useful way to listen to whatever I want on demand. And a terrific resource for exposing myself to new music I'd otherwise never hear. And that helps me learn how to play new music, which benefits people at my gigs. As with many other consumers, I now rarely (almost never) buy music to own.
  16. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    The royalties that reach musicians from streaming are even worse than on iTunes, which was worse than CDs.

    But let's be honest, except for superstars very few musicians ever got a fair share of any recording sales. Just read the average record contract and what kind of ridiculous things they deduct. And that is before their creative accounting, the accounting that is done by one of the parties in the contract and cannot be verified by the other. Throw in unethically long contracts and keeping musician's careers hostage and it isn't pretty.

    The major reason why you can't make money of recordings anymore is that there are too many musicians who will do it for free, which isn't new, but what is new is that they can produce recordings of high enough quality to reach market share, without having to require payments. So mix in cheap recording opportunities and there you are.
  17. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    Certainly the financial message here is those seeking to derive a career from music need to leverage the "core" product of music (which spins off very LITTLE revenue) into multiple revenue streams.

    I suppose one comparison of a success story for implementing this strategy is people who get elected to Congress or get appointed to high political offices. Many enter with comparatively little net worth and leave as multimillionaires. Wonder how that is done? They surely don't amass wealth solely from modest government salaries. :ninja:

    Likewise, professional musicians need to get clever in identifying as many ways as possible to turn their skill into cash. Otherwise being a musician will be, as it is for most of us, a passionate hobby.
  18. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
  19. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    From a new book by Harvard Business School Professor Anita Elberse: Blockbusters: Hitmaking, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment

    • 98.9% of all digital music tracks in existence in 2011 sold less than 1,000 copies (7,931,408 out of 8,020,660 tracks)
    • 73.9% of all tracks sold less than 10 copies in 2011
    • 58.4% of all albums in existence sold less than 100 copies in 2011 (513,146 out of 878,369)
    • 97.1% of all albums sold under 100 copies
    • 400 albums released in 2011 grabbed 40% of all sales
    • 1,514 songs out of 8,020,660 in 2011 grabbed 40% of all sales

    More info available in this news story.

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