Can musicians still make money?

Since taking the leap on January 1st, we have learned a lot about the music industry. With revenue from music sales taking a sharp decline with the increasing availability of digital music, there are many questions about the ability to live on a musician's income.

While it may seem impossible to make money like musicians once did, there is plenty of room for creativity, and many musicians are finding ways to become successful without huge record sales.

The chart below shows how much of a musician's music must be consumed (purchased or streamed) for the musician to earn the US minimum wage of $1,260. This is a monthly figure. The main source of a musician's music revenue comes from selling their own CD's at shows. They would need to sell 105 copies a month. Here comes the staggering numbers. To earn the minimum wage of $1,260 on digital outlets you need the following: 547 album downloads on iTunes or 1,846 single downloads on iTunes. 

Now for everyone's favorite way to listen: Streaming services. For an artist to make the minimum wage of $1,260 off of streaming they would need 70,391 plays on Google Play, 29,302 plays on Tidal, 70,000 plays on Beats Music, 104,132 plays on Rhapsody, 180,000 plays on Spotify, or 700,000 on YouTube.

This data is precisely the reason we choose to focus on other ways of making money. Namely, merchandise sales and performance fees. We want to encourage our supporters to listen to music however they see fit, but we also believe people should be informed about the current state of the music industry so that they can support the artists they love in a way that makes the largest impact.

Our suggestion? Use the digital outlets to find new music you love. If you get to the point where you want to purchase something from an artist; spend wisely. The best place (where they keep the largest percentage) is at their live shows. Start buy paying money to see them perform. If you can't make it to a show, buy merchandise and music through their webstore, not a label site or secondary retailer (Like Bestbuy, etc.). The more layers between you and the artist, the smaller percentage they get. Buy a physical copy as they get a larger percentage and most physical copies come with digital downloads included, which are typically higher quality audio than what you find on iTunes. Buying non-music merchandise options also provides a boost to an artist's income, so purchase T-shirts, Hoodies, Stickers, etc.

For the latest Catch Fever merchandise, click here.

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