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How Much Money Can We Musicians Earn Online


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I sent my recent song to one internet radio and asked can I get some stats on playing. I wasnt thinking about money but when he said that they provide playlist to reporting bodies I realized that they do pay some royalties based on plays(but I might be wrong?) or course not to authors but to reporting bodies.
Then I searched google a bit and came to a couple of articles about online earning for musicians(authors).
Here are the links
1. site: BBS Spotify reveals artists earn $0.007 per stream

2. site The guardian Music streaming: what do songwriters really get from YouTube or Pandora?

 

So based on these numbers its rather low earn huh?

I have total of 395 plays of all my songs on Soundcloud .

if imagine its on Spotify it would be 395*0.007=2.765$ not to bad for nobody like me. If on the other hand I earn like Ellen Shipley something likle 0.00001817 per play on Youtube Id be still waithing for my first cent(0.007177$) lol

 

Any thought or even experience to share anyone?

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My only reality on it right now is that I pay Soundcloud to post my music....not the other way around...so who's making the money?  :)

 

I would be interested to hear what is happening with mid level musicians using Amazon and iTunes to sell their music. I know of a guitar player who is one of the best anywhere in classic rock and he has an album on CD Baby. His Soundcloud is not doing well at all which goes to show you that ability isn't necessarily reflected there.

 

I wouldn't quit my day job. Honestly some might do better with voice overs and radio work than CD sells. Some are doing it successfully because they have an interesting niche.

 

I have recently been dealing with some labels on another front ( not my music) and it is as much about the push behind you as it is the music itself....it really helps to have a marketing engine behind you. I'm going to go a step further and say I think it is probably more important than the music....just look at some of the talent on the radio now.

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My only reality on it right now is that I pay Soundcloud to post my music....not the other way around...so who's making the money?   :)

 

Why do you pay them then? I took a look at your SoundCloud and even though you have considerably more listens than I do, I'm not sure if you need to pay for all the bells and whistles. I guess my question would be, "What do you get out of the pay version that makes it worth it?"

 

Randy

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Get out and Tour. Sell hats, t-shirts and an occasional CD.  

 

Currently the only real way to make money with your music.

 

There's the one in a billion chance you come up with a hit. How will it become a hit though? More than likely by posting it on sites where you won't make any money (Think Beiber or anyone discovered online). Are you prepared for a hit song? Assume you do have a hit song that comes about through YouTube/Reverbnation, wherever. That is spectacular, but you didn't make any money on it yet. At least not enough money to live on. It's what happens after that, which will make you the money. Do you have a CD to sell? Do you have a band? Are you prepared to tour? Do you have any merchandise to sell? T-shirts? Getting a hit song out there, while remarkably hard in and of itself, is only the tip of the beginning. If you're extremely lucky, your hit song will be wanted for a commercial or something of that nature. What people used to call "selling out". So, with that in mind … are you ready to sell out first thing? Sadly, unless you're independently wealthy or don't mind living in a box, that may be what you have to do just to keep on going. Which makes touring and hawking your wares seem the better route to go. Again, even with the commercial hit, you'll still need to get out and tour to continue making money.

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I did a long diatribe on the uselessness of soundcloud and bandcamp way back when.  Any fans that you get are usually fellow musician types trying to lure you to their work.

 

 

When youtube was young. It offered greater opportunity for expanding lister base and occasionally getting a record deal with a major label.  However those deals often went unsupported.  So even with the contract in your hand expect nothing from the label.  I can go on an on about could have been should have been would have been major music players who broke through all the right barriers and still nothing.....

 

 

You indeed may be the next Paul McCartney, Paul Simon or Paul Carrack. and... your music may fall on death ears.  Listenership has changed along with the (inferior) medium of delivery

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I can go on an on about could have been should have been would have been major music players who broke through all the right barriers and still nothing.....

 

 

I watched Running Down A Dream, the Tom Petty movie just last night. It amazes me how easily everything happened for him. Got some friends together, instantly they sounded great together, got an easy and early following, etc... While watching it seemed like everything went their way. And yet, it was still a struggle for years before they got what they wanted. And some didn't. Some of the early members of Mudcrutch were dropped for not being good enough, even though they were in a band that had a lot of fans and record deals.

 

Nothing in life comes easy.

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I watched Running Down A Dream, the Tom Petty movie just last night. It amazes me how easily everything happened for him. Got some friends together, instantly they sounded great together, got an easy and early following, etc... While watching it seemed like everything went their way. And yet, it was still a struggle for years before they got what they wanted. And some didn't. Some of the early members of Mudcrutch were dropped for not being good enough, even though they were in a band that had a lot of fans and record deals.

 

Nothing in life comes easy.

 

What isn't mentioned is, what connections did they start with? The circles you move in have an immense impact on both band member recruitment and on the prospects of your band. You can of course improve this if you know how, or you know someone who does!

 

Online earnings, you can of course earn, and earnings relate to popularity, so "how much?" is the same as "how long is a bit of string?".

 

The money is, for now, in touring and merch, but look for that to be changing as the public are pushing back on the pricing of both. Streaming is becoming a more mature delivery so I would expect some movement in income share to artist.. just what direction is another issue. Equally I would expect more opportunity for indie artists to work with production houses, perhaps as an evolution of music libraries.

 

The online and mobile platforms have changed a lot. In part the involvement of the US and EU legislation on copyright infringement and on Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc bids to dictate the abuse / use of copyrightable materials will have a large impact. On the otherside is how those legislative bodies protect the creative industries, not just music.

 

All the old methods, albums, singles etc, still make money, just much less than they once did. Still, with the right approach to sales and marketing you can as an indie minimise the impact of pirate platforms, which are themselves in decline. You have to apply the same creativity that you use in your music, to the marketing process , to see any return on effort. Go old school and expecty to see total album sales sub $100.

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What isn't mentioned is, what connections did they start with? The circles you move in have an immense impact on both band member recruitment and on the prospects of your band. You can of course improve this if you know how, or you know someone who does!

 

True that. I guess my point was even though they had it easy, it was still a lot harder than what most people with "rock star" dreams would ever imagine, or be able to handle.

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Oh yeah, it is hard work. Sure, loads of parties :) but after a while that can even seem like work because often, it is. In fact, the opportunity is there to turn almost every waking moment into work. If you have a good work ethic you will get ahead. If you don't, all too often you simply become another music industry casualty.

 

Worse, often all it takes is one member of the band to have a poor work ethic to trash the chances of the entire band.

 

The trouble is that many oportunities yo uget schmoozing at parties, hence the opportunity to get wasted is almost always present.

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Just 1L

 

To answer your question about why I use a paid version of Soundcloud...I guess my aspirations were much bigger than my actual production has been up to this point :) I pulled about 15 of my songs off of soundcloud and I'm thinking about pulling more because i am trying to get a certain level of song up there. I haven't accomplished that yet but I'm trying. IMO I have a few stinkers still posted...maybe some think they all are :) I am trying to get quality to win over quantity. 

 

 I have no pie in the sky dreams at this point.If a song becomes popular great, but that's not why I'm in it. I am being realistic. I enjoy playing and I can post music so why not  :) Realistically spending money on SC is probably a waste. I do value the people who I have met through soundcloud.

 

You get to see more stats with the paid version. I'm not really using it right now. Sometimes I might look at it and see who really was interested in my music, but really the stats don't tell you a whole lot about why someone might have listened to a tune. I'm no where near making an album yet...one can dream I suppose :)

 

The small time people who are making money in music seem to be doing radio voice overs and selling to music catalogs...joining Taxi...that sort of thing, or they are in a local or semi-local band who has an income stream.

 

In order to make money at music streaming most need to identify with a large audience...but not only that...they need to have an audience with money who spend it on music. It's one thing to get 10,000 plays on Soundcloud, quite another to translate that into cold hard cash.What's 10,000 plays at .007 a play?

 

It seems to me that it either takes a good working team who compliment one another, like a talented individual and a cut throat business man who does whatever is necessary. or a very rare type "A" personality who is also creative and talented to make ends meet in music. Most creative types are not business savy.

 

Certainly knowing the right people goes a long long way towards making it. Big stars have the wind at their backs....huge social networking and TV budgets and teams of people to help make it happen and theres always something in it for them...I'll call it induced popularity.

 

Being on top means staying on top. There's always another vocalist, guitarist, whatever out there who would stop at nothing to take your place. You will get old and if your popularity rests on your image then you either need to continually reinvent yourself or get out of the game and let someone younger take the slots.

 

I admit being slightly pessimistic about all of it. I know people are making money. I really hope some can pull it off. I wish you the best!! Be optimistic but also be realistic.There are thousands of talented people and it's more about the push and the way you push than the talent.

 

I recently spoke with a man who has invested thousands of dollars in himself and in his music. In my opinion he is talented but nothing extrordinary.He is quite popular on social networks, but he admits to spending far more money than he has ever made on any of it. He has the money to spend and pay studio musicians...and he spends it. Maybe one day it will all pay off. But so far...after a lot of money spent it hasn't.

 

Maybe my views are skewed..if they are someone please correct me...but this is how it looks to me.

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Sounds like we're in the same boat. Same routes taken. I've also removed a lot of the songs I had on SoundCloud and Reverbnation. It kind of hit me like a ton of bricks one day. I removed just about every song, as I really didn't want someone coming to listen to my songs, hear crappy recordings and never look back. I even went so far as to to change my Reverbnation user name so people couldn't find me. Not sure why I even have that account still at this point. I guess I figure one day I might use it. As far as sound cloud goes, the main reason I use it is because it is so easy to share songs on songstuff. 

 

I'm going with the "strike while the iron is hot" theory. I realized I don't have enough accomplished to really, truly be ready for a lot of fans. Not to mention the fact that having fans in and of itself is a major hurdle and one I have no clue as to whether or not could actually happen. But in reality, you have to believe you will or you're only hurting yourself. I don't think you need to be full of yourself in confidence (although a lot of professional musicians are), but you definitely need confidence and have to have the belief in what you are doing. I came to the "strike while the iron is hot" theory after (he says patting himself on the back) I won the June Songstuff song contest. Jan interviewed me for it. It was really cool. But I realized, "OK. I've actually got people that are reading the interview and I won a contest. That's great, but if on the off-chance someone truly liked it and wanted more from me, what do I have to offer? Zilch. Not saying anyone would have bought or downloaded anything but the "what if" did pop up. What if the odds were beaten, and I struck gold on YouTube or SoundCloud with a song and people wanted more. I have nothing to offer. People move on and 9 times out of 10 don't look back. And the iron cools down. 

 

I too am/was working on an album. I'm proud to say I'm working on my last song for it. I have all the artwork basically finished for it also. When I first started the album quest, I thought writing the songs would be the hard part. The songs I want are written, yet, I'm still eons away from actually finishing it. I have the songs I want on there yes, but none of them are even at half the quality they need to be and without a lot of money, chances are they never will be and the album/cd will never happen. I'm kind of fine with that though. To me, music is personal and the satisfaction I get out of finishing songs is what it's all about. Not to mention those times you're stuck on something and then a really good solution arises. I guess to me that is my favorite part. It's kind of like a puzzle or game and I feel great when I get it figured out. I'd be happy with using my cruddy recordings and just printing out the artwork and making about 4 CDs just to keep as kind of a family heirloom and for something to remember me by. On the other side, if it makes money, I'd be happy as well. Especially knowing I could maybe upgrade my equipment or help pay off some debt. 

 

I definitely agree about the thousand more talented people comment. I think that's true in almost every profession. I take a very tiny grain of comfort also realizing that it takes more than talent. I know at this current moment, there are probably thousands of graphic designers that are way, way, way better than I am, that are unemployed, flipping burgers or heading back to college. They are more talented, but they seem to have lacked the luck and possibly the communication skills to land them a job. 

 

I think the fact that you are pessimistic could point toward you also being smart. It does take a lot of hard work. I see that as a good thing and a bad thing. Especially considering, again, I feel like we're in the same boat. Sometimes it's a whole lot better to go into things blindly. If not better, easier. It's my wood floor analogy. Back in '99 we moved into a house and we really loved it, but the wood floors were in bad shape and needed refinishing. I had absolutely no clue as to how to do it, but I had the determination to get it done. I read a 2 page article on refinishing floors and went off to rent a drum sander. Damn, that job was really tough and I hated about 75% of it. The floors turned out really great though and I was super proud of them. Knowing what I know now though, you'd have to put a gun to my head to ever do it again. LOL. With music I feel I know more about what needs to happen than I did with the wood floors, and that's what makes the hill seem even higher to climb.

 

Good luck on your album as well. If nothing else, they make a great keepsake that can be stored in boxes in the attic for years. :)

 

Randy

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I didn't know you won a contest. Congratulations!! I guess I should keep up with more of these things. Which song was it?...I'll check it out.

 

I never want to discourage someone with a plan. Honestly dude, if someone came to me today and said..."hey we want to sponsor you and pay for your tour"..I'd be like...I really need to think about this. I like where I live. I don't want to be on the road for a year. I don't want a manager to call the shots on my life. I would probably bow out :) I have everything I need and then some....doesn't take much to please me. My concept of wealth is kind of like this-

 

I might own an apple tree and I can see 1000 apples on it but how many can I eat at one time and how many do I really need? I make music for personal satisfaction mainly, so I'm not beating paths to record companies doors. To me a simple life is a better life. I'm not saying I have all the answers and I am not trying to put my life into someone elses vision....I wish you the very best on making the album and on continued success. I don't think it's for me really. If you believe in yourself you're most of the way there :)

 

I personally don't like competing.Competition distracts creativity. I want to be good at whatever I do, but I don't want to measure that according to what someone else is doing,and to me the music biz is all about competition. We all do what we do for different reasons. Mine are probably different than many. To be in the company of others who do something similar to me is a good feeling and probably why I'm here a lot.

 

I can certainly relate to doing something without realizing the implications. I bought a fixer upper house about 10 years ago because I had a good" feeling" about the place....two remodeled bathrooms, a remodeled kitchen, a remodeled living room/dining room with a whole wall book case/TV build in , bedroom remodels, a totally redone exterior..including a  wrap around porch..most recently replacing a garage door (not done yet) ...new heating/AC. New electrical service upgrade...I'm getting tired :) I did 95% of it all on my own....if I had it to do again I think I would have walked the other way LOL!! I do have one of the nicest places in my neighborhood though! All of that time I could have been working on music  and been satisfied with a basic house. I'm to the point now where I don't want to do any more but Ive poured the foundation for a rear addition...so I'm not out of the woods for some time yet.

 

And you know what...none of it really matters.Nada...it's something to sit and look at.And what does any accomplishment really mean? The satisfaction that you can say you did it? That feels good for a little while but then what?....see I'm pessimistic :)

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Thanks for the congrats.

 

Again, it sounds like we're in the same boat. Hell, I don't even have a band or the desire to get one and start playing out. It'd be fun for sure but my life is too busy, and happy, to interrupt at the moment. I think the album idea is really just something I want to do to prove to myself I can do it. Doesn't really matter what becomes of it, just something I feel I need to do for myself. I agree to some extent on the competition. If there were definite rules and regulations then yes, it could stifle creativity. The main reason I entered it was because it's not really my normal music style and I thought if people hated it, at least it wasn't a true representation of what I like to do. :) Safety net deployed. 

 

Good luck with the house addition. Glad you're keeping yourself busy.

 

I'll send you a link.

 

Randy

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Hey Randy...that D.O.G. song..I don't know how I missed it man. I loved it! 

 

My comments about competition were more directed at the whole music biz thing...I wasn't even tying it into the thing you won here. From what I gather the competition here was more of a light hearted fun kind of thing....no D.O.G.S eating D.O.G.S LOL!!

 

I was thinking more of the artist on the road at the mercy of a manager and record company....not sure how creative that tends to be..know what I mean?

 

Great conversation...in the same or a similar boat...I totally agree. 

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I think we as musicians expect that we can just put our music out there and expect to get "noticed" or paid,  but oftentimes, the people who actually make money have several systems in place and they understand marketing or hire someone who does.  It helps to even understand concepts like positioning, how to write good copy, and understand a bit about how people shop for music online (such as more click-throughs equals less completed sales). Also, while its important to have our music available across many channels, we also tend to spread ourselves too thin, frantically trying a little of everything instead of excelling at a few. 

 

Topspin has one of the best models for online music marketing I've ever seen.  We studied their business model at Berklee College of Music, and it works because it uses the psychology of selling and time tested principles of marketing, just put to use online.  

 

The most important lessons I learned from Topspin:

 

  1. your music sales do not make you money.  Your songs are bait that you strategically give away to lure people to your site where you offer various price tiers of your albums that include various offers such as signed copies, t-shirts/collectibles, advance ticket sales, and even offers to write a song for top paying customers.
  2. Facebook pages, reverb nation, bandcamp, youtube, twitter, myspace, google+, soundcloud, podcasts, blogs, vimeo,, last fm, spotify, all have to work together to bring a customer to your website where you sell.  Feunnel everything to ONE place, stop setting up all these unmanageable independent accounts that lack consistency.
  3. Your unique persona/personality/point of view expressed in your lyrics, sound, clothes, stage presence, and/or album and website design are your brand and they express your positioning-the space you take up in the mind of a customer/audience member, such as Bowie is an androgynous spaceman or a musical chameleon, Jimmy Buffet is a breezy beach bum, Morissey is a depressed celibate.  People connect with and relate to these lifestyles like they do any other product that is symbolic of or aligns with the ideal or image a person has about themselves or how they want to see themselves.  Use your positioning to reach your niche, don't try to appeal to everyone.  (if pop musicians don't actually appeal to everyone, they have unique positioning within the larger market, just think of the difference between Ke$ha  and Taylor Swift, two different target audiences-with a little overlap- with very different messages. 

 

That said, there is also publishing, and if you have the skill, home studio -and some connections don't hurt - there is also money to be made there- no touring, no marketing, no performing.

 

just some food for though.

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Thanks everyone, interesting insights.

 

Just listened to the other song of our fellow Songstuffer on Soundcloud and the recommended song kicked in automatically.

It sounded somehow familiar I thought its again fellow Songstuffer, but then while I was reading the other comments I recognized that melody ... it was Ed Sheeran's "Give me love".

Checked the plays - 16 millions, likes 124k.

So he might earn a couple of dollars with this numbers, but I guess he'll get more with touring or maybe he has silly kitty videos as well.

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Thanks everyone, interesting insights.

 

Just listened to the other song of our fellow Songstuffer on Soundcloud and the recommended song kicked in automatically.

It sounded somehow familiar I thought its again fellow Songstuffer, but then while I was reading the other comments I recognized that melody ... it was Ed Sheeran's "Give me love".

Checked the plays - 16 millions, likes 124k.

So he might earn a couple of dollars with this numbers, but I guess he'll get more with touring or maybe he has silly kitty videos as well.

 

I didn't realize you could earn money on Soundcloud.

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