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We have the Facts.
There are more reports on the way, but you can start looking through the wealth of data at money.futureofmusic.org
There’s a widespread myth that musicians dont make any money off of sales of CDs, LPs, or legal downloads. We’ve all heard horror stories about the accounting practices of major labels, but that doesn’t represent the reality for most working musicians today.
Oh my bad! He’s not on that version. Hmm.
I found it for you.
Whether a digital download earns an artist more or less than a physical sale depends on the deal with their label. We’re all familiar with the terrible stories of major labels. You might be less familiar, though, with the way royalties work for many independent labels, many of which are run by artists, and strive for fair and transparent accounting practices. It’s not uncommon for artists make a greater percentage of revenue than they would for a physical sale, because of the lack of overhead for physical stores and the lack of warehousing costs with retail distributors, etc, in addition to cost of reproduction.
Information on the ways payout works for various digital services can be found here:
It’s worth noting that most indie labels are pretty enthusiastic about iTunes Store–partly because they reliably pay for sales quarterly–something that has historically been a challenge for certain physical music distributors.
The Future of Music Coalition actually studied this, with a survey of thousands of working musicians. Contrary to what many people think, merchandise (t-shirts, etc) accounts for only 6% of an average artists’ income. And touring only accounts for 28%.
Whether or not artists make much money from album sales is up to the individual deals with their label (unless of course, they’re self-releasing). If they’re working with one of the many indie labels that adhere to the classic 50/50 artist label split pioneered by Touch & Go, Dischord, etc, then album sales can certainly be a meaningful stream of revenue.
Such a good song! Such a good band!
Album of the year, decade, generation, whatever.
Anacortes Über Alles!