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It's Just Business

One Indie Artist Broke Down What He Makes From Spotify, Youtube, iTunes, Bandcamp, etc.

Posted by on December 9, 2016 at 1:28 pm

Who the hell is Samuel Orson? Outside being an acoustic artist from Washington, Samuel Orson is the man who broke down exactly what he makes from major digital retailers from his music. We've all hear about why Spotify is good and bad, and why YouTube is great and awful, and every side of every coin, but here's the actual breakdown from an actual, relatively unknown artist.

Orson says he gets his statistics from DistroKid.

Itunes. For every sale on Itunes I keep 77% of the sale. So $0.77 cents per song. I feel that is pretty fair for a behemoth such as Apple. Not much more to it than that, pretty straight forward.

Bandcamp is a bit more complex. They say they take 15% as their cut from each sale, but after all the paypal fees, it comes out to be much less. When somebody buys my album of of bandcamp for $5.00, I get $3.90 in my paypal account. That is 78%, about the same as Itunes. Important to note however, the more somebody pays for an album the more this percentage goes up. If somebody pays $10 for an album, I get 8.06, so about 80%, but more or less the same.

I offer my music for free on bandcamp, with the option to pay. This is just a personal preference, and I believe it fosters a better community of sharing and creation. My revenue from bandcamp (from my 2 album sales, not including individual song sales) has been $1,025. From that, 619 people downloaded them for free, and 160 decided to pay.

If you break it down by revenue from total downloads, it comes out to be $1.31 per album. Of those who decided to pay, the average price that was chosen was $6.40. For the time being, I will continue to offer my music for free on bandcamp. I believe if people want it they will download it anyway, and I rather be in control of the channels that they are getting it from.

Now for the Streaming.

Spotify. All in all I have had 176,548 streams on Spotify, which has yielded $706.02. This comes out to be $.004 a stream. This means for every million streams the artist gets paid $4,000.

YouTube. I believe this is the biggest competitor to spotify. From 356,064 streams on Youtube, I have yielded $145.55. This is with every fucking ad option selected. That comes out to be $.0004 per stream. This comes out to be $400 per million streams. Also, keep in mind that a lot of the music on youtube is not on the artist’s channels, in which case they are getting nothing.

Some of the higher numbers from Orson's breakdown include $706.02 from Spotify and $198.80 from iTunes, while he made a whopping $5.49 from Tidal, $28.26 from Amazon, and $0.33 from Pandora. I'm actually surprised at the Spotify and iTunes numbers, because I thought they would be much lower based on the criticisms we've heard over the years… though Orson also doesn't have a label to go through.

Despite his ideology on what his music is worth on Bandcamp, it seems like maybe it wouldn't be worth it to have things up for Buy It Now pricing? Sure, it's beneficial to the fans, but it seems like over 75% isn't ready to pay for his music.

[via The PRP]

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COMMENTS

  • heavymetalrules131313

    As best as I can tell, the new model for making money as an artist is to build a fan base that is willing to contribute to your kickstarter/indiegogo projects. I have a couple of artists I found on Spotify that are smaller, but if they did a kickstarter to help produce a new album I would chip in just to hear new music from them.

    • Dead1

      Yup kickstarter is certainly the way of the future,

      • GoatForest

        There is no future. I've said it before, and I will say it again: the digital age has killed the artist's ability to profit from art.

        • mastema

          chicken little, ladies and gentlemen.

          • GoatForest

            We'll see…

          • Harry Palm

            He's right. All you have to do is look at the numbers.

  • Gordon Shumway

    Meh, heavy music has stagnated to the point where I rarely take an interest in new bands or newer releases by older bands