And it’s better than it was five years ago.
The amount that artists get paid from digital music and services like Spotify has been widely discussed for many years now. One of the most memorable instances was in 2010, when Information Is Beautiful (also responsible for a great book of infographics) published an infographic based on a post by The Cynical Musician that broke down just how many monthly streams a solo artist would need to make the US monthly minimum wage. The number – 4,053,110 – was depressing enough before taking into account how much music would have to be streamed for whole bands to make a living.
In 2015, the streaming landscape has changed a fair bit, so Information Is Beautiful has revisited its infographic in a remixed form to take recent developments into account. The US monthly minimum wage has now increased $100 to $1,260, but proportionally, things are looking up for musicians – it now requires a comparatively paltry 1,117,021 streams of a track on Spotify in a month to make that total. The worst offender is now YouTube, where you’d need to hit 4,200,000 plays a month for the same amount.
Conversely, the most generous streaming service is Google Play where you need just 172,206 streams, closely followed by Jay Z’s Tidal service. The rapper recently said artists would be getting a better deal from Tidal than other streaming services, and though Tidal does pay more than Spotify, as Information Is Beautiful also points out, Spotify has more users, making it more likely that someone will play your music there.
However, one thing hasn’t changed from 2010 – if you’re an independent artist you’re likely to make more money selling your music yourself online, though now Bandcamp is one of the most profitable places to do so. View the whole thing below, and read more on the economics of streaming services at Ryan A. Didick’s Bandwidth column. [via RA]