Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

The Lot Of Amateur Musicians

While talking to a friend on the phone yesterday, I was taken by surprise when he said something to the effect of, "Well, I see from the website that you're finally making some money off your music online!" I had to laugh. I told him that in my opinion only very famous bands consistently make much money off streaming and downloads. I explained why with a recent example pertaining to my own music. I belong to CDBaby's web hosting service and because of that I get a daily report on how many times each day people stream my songs or download one. On March 3 and 4, I received the following reports (I won't list each song that was streamed, of course): I had no downloads, but about two dozen of my songs were streamed a total of 116 times, all through Spotify. (If you're interested, the top four streaming songs on those two days were "Can't Pin That On Me", "Different Story - Christmas Mix", "Fade To Fall", and "She Has Mad Machines", each of which was streamed between 18-20 times.) How much did I make from people listening to my songs 116 times? Exactly 25 cents. Several major artists have recently complained to Spotify about the extremely stingy royalty rate they pay. Spotify has essentially responded by saying that's a fair rate so shut up. And I guess if you're Miley Cyrus or Beyonce or whomever, then you probably are raking it in with just streaming royalties alone. I did a little math from the above example. Let's say Ms. Cyrus enjoys 5,000 streams a day. (I have no idea how many times a day a big-time artist's music is streamed.) That comes out to almost $1100. Multiply that by 365 days and you get over $401,000 a year. Nice! I could eke by on that. Add in downloads and you're definitely living the good life. On the other hand, multiply 12 1/2 cents a day by 365 and you get about $45 from streaming. Ouch!