It almost doesn’t pay to be a musician these days.
We’ll take that back and rephrase: it LITERALLY doesn’t pay to be a musician these days. And yes, we are using the word “literally” correctly in that sentence..
With more and more businesses deciding to hop onto the STREAMING MUSIC bandwagon, one would think that the greater exposure would result in greater earnings for the musicians and songwriters who are getting their music spread far and wide.
It’s been said that there will reach a point in time where every single piece of recorded music has been written. There are only so many combinations of notes on a musical scale that can be made.
So that’s where the ability to make variations on a theme come into play. Combining two different songs to make a completely new one. Sampling music in order to add your own voice, style to something that already exists.
Whether you get your music listening fix from your own MP3’s stored on your cellphone/tablet/desktop, from the local AM/FM radio station, or a streaming service like PANDORA, SPOTIFY, or others — you know that nothing is ever free.
Whether it be listening to advertising, viewing popups, or purchasing the audio files from your favorite vendor (Apple, Amazon, Google Play, Best Buy) — that music has to get to you somehow. And it’s that transport that’s going to cost someone, somewhere.
It’s time once again to take a look at HOW MUCH MONEY MUSICIANS MAKE each year.
Web Watch knows what you’re thinking — with iTunes, the Amazon Music Store, Google Play and other services, let alone the money that comes in from Youtube from display advertising showing with all their posted music videos — that successful artists would almost literally be rolling in dough.
Rock band THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS wrote a song all about what it allegedly took to get a song on the radio, aptly entitled Hey Mr DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal. In it, the lyrics read, in part:
I struck a bargain with my radio DJ
I said I’d like this song to be number one
He said I’d really really like to help you my son
And then I knew that I would have him to thank
Because he asked me how much I had in the bank
He said the record wouldn’t have to be hot
And no one ever seemed to care if it’s not
It would depend on something else that I’ve got
Hey Mr. DJ, I thought you said we had a deal
I thought you said, You scratch my back and I’ll scratch your record
And I thought you said we had a deal
There are lots of financial obligations when you’re a solo musician or in a band.
You have to worry about getting gigs, writing music, obtaining copyright or other legal paperwork. Then there’s the infighting, splitting appearance fees, and paying for samples in your hit song that borrowed liberally from clips you found on YouTube.
Yeah – music royalties may not pay a lot, but they do end up paying something. But sometimes, what you get from those royalty checks isn’t enough to make ends meet.
So when we see reports that Friday has only earned around $45,000 so far, Web Watch begins to question who is right when it comes to calculating payouts and royalty checks for viral YouTube videos. So let’s take a look at this again, shall we?
While that post was about the best band in the world and how they are still in debt to Warner Brothers even after millions of albums and downloads sold, new information has come to light regarding more current and popular artists and how they are affected by music royalty payment calculations… or lack thereof.
TOO MUCH JOY was a band in the early 90’s that not a lot of people knew about, although they had a reputation for being one of the best live bands around. Web Watch knows this first-hand, having been lucky enough to have the chance to see them play more than a few times over the years.
If you’ve seen the film SHAKES THE CLOWN, then you’ve heard TMJ’s song “CLOWNS” (which also was part of a lawsuit brought by Bozo the Clown). Web Watch recalls that “CRUSH STORY” was used on some television special about teen idols in 1992 or so. And fans of magicians Penn & Teller should know about the band, as Penn as praised TMJ repeatedly in print and has sat in with the guys in the studio, and Teller directed one of the band’s music videos.
In other words, Too Much Joy has been around the block a few times. They’ve released a few albums, made national news covering other people’s songs, had some radio play, have celebrity fans, and have done pretty well for themselves in the subsequent years. They’ve even been called “sell-outs” by some of their fans. What’s not to love?
Because many things have changed in the music industry since we we wrote that original piece. That music royalty calculator link is still valid, but we found another one that you might want to look at as well.
retail price of the record. CD pricing averages to around $11.98 apiece, and indie record deals expect that 80% of your sales to come from CDs.
What the royalty paid to you is
How big a promotional budget will you have? This is monty that is coming directly out of your pocket, so spend wisely.
Producer paid from record one
Percentage of Sales royalties are calculated on
The calculator will determine, based on the info you’ve provided, how much money is made on each actual sale and how many sales you need to have before you start making money. Of course, this is only going to be a rough estimate – your actual successes may vary.