To take a step back from my previous article, I wanted to know if an unsigned artist could actually make a living off digital streams. Research done by Alexandre Perrin, a professor at the renowned school Berklee College of Music, breaks down for us very simply how much an artist would make from the top streaming services.
Let us pretend that a local acoustic folk singer out of California,”Beth Love”, wanted to make a living recording her music and make it available on the top streaming services. Beth believes she can make $1,599 per month from streaming alone. With a residency at a local bar where she also makes about $250 weekly, she is able to pay rent and buy groceries.
Refer to the graph below:
If the goal is to make $1,599 per month, Perrin demonstrates how many units Beth would need to actually sell on all platforms. Selling a CD would make the goal relatively reachable. As an unsigned artist on iTunes with a 30% cut for a single track download the goal seems a little bit more out of reach.
Looking at streaming, on the right Perrin shows us that an unsigned artist makes 60% of any revenue from the main streaming platforms. On youtube, with 60M active members Beth would need just under 900K views per month just to make ends meet.