.How Much Musicians Make (or Don’t Make) Online

Just how many .99-cent downloads would a musician have to sell to earn minimum wage? About 12,399 a month on iTunes or Amazon (not including publishing royalties), according to a revealing infographic designed by London-based writer and designer David McCandless on InformationIsBeautiful.net, using data from CynicalMusician, DigitalAudioInsider, Music Ally, and “industry sources.” Sales via CD Baby are a bit better — earning musicians about 74 cents on the dollar (requiring about 1,562 downloads per month to make min. wage). Still, that’s a lot of downloads. Based on this post about the sad state of digital compensation, the data indicates that streaming is even more pitiful (apparently, Lady Gaga‘s “Poker Face,” which was played more than 1 million times, only earned her $167 from the streaming site Spotify). Full data here. The bottom line: Even though the web has seemingly eliminated the need for the middle-man, independent artists and musicians still make next to nothing.


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