Recently some new friends at www.consumersadvocate.org reached out to me with a very cool infographic regarding the amount that each streaming service is paying artists per stream. They also include the total number of streams that an artist would need to earn a minimum wage using these calculations. Needless to say, the numbers are a little scary and disappointing.
Here it is:
Without a doubt, this is somewhat sobering information. However, I don’t think that artists should see it as all doom-and-gloom. Do I think artists should be paid more? Of course! Should the streaming services examine the way that they distribute the money differently? Absolutely. It would be nice if they could change their methods of payments from a Service-Centric system to a User-Centric system. That would allow the artists I listen to, instead of Drake, to make more money per stream. But, you know that the services are not going to change the way that they are doing things for the little guys. It would be easy for a smaller artist to get down.
Instead, ponder this, “How many artists were making minimum wage from their earnings as an artist during the pre-digital era?” I would wager probably around the same number. Artists have always struggled since the beginning of time. Upstart artists of any era didn’t make real money until they had a large, activated fan base that went forth and spread their music and message to the masses on a national and international level. That is the key to why I am sharing this information with my readers.
Artists should look at streaming as the LAST piece of the income puzzle not the first. Artists need to be on the streaming services because that is where their fans are getting their music from, but they shouldn’t look at it as income. Instead, they should look at streaming as a potential discovery opportunity for new fans. If they are cultivating their current fans and providing them with the attention and nourishment they need, they will bring others into the fold and consequently, success on ever-higher levels will come.
So the key to avoiding depression after seeing these numbers is simple- grow new fans every day. Start today with pictures of them on your website and social media. Sending them some behind-the-scenes video or a Facebook Live Q&A. More fans = more money. That is what we try to show you how to do here at Big Sky DIY Music Blog!
Thank you to Steven Regener and everyone at www.consumersadvocate.org for their contribution to this article. Check out their page when you get the chance. It is great!
Please share your thoughts.