At the bottom of this blog entry, you will find a fascinating link to a website entitled, 'Information Is Beautiful - ideas, issues, knowledge, and data— visualized!' It covers all sorts of topics and does so with infographics that are easy to understand and always informative.
This particular post concerns itself an interesting model that pretty clearly and simply demonstrates just how much money music artists earn from CD sales and music downloads. It provides actual numbers of sales required in each category, to reach the average monthly minimum wage in the USA. For example, a musician needs to sell 143 self-pressed CDs per month at a cost of $9.99 to earn $1,160 per month. That same musician needs to have someone play his or her track 4,053,110 times per month on Spotify to earn the same minimum wage amount. For a musician with the backing of a massive marketing engine of a major record label, that's hard work. For an independent musician, it's positively heroic!
Of course, in the day when big record labels dominated the music industry and vast fortunes were made by those corporations, if you were a musician without representation you earned practically no money at all. Digital downloads have made it simple for any musician to publish their own music and to try and make a living. You don't need the support of a corporate record label to make a go of it however, with so many musicians producing so much work, now the issue becomes the struggle to be heard above the tidal wave of artists - both past and present - that are selling and streaming music on-line. If an individual song was a needle, the various internet-based music distribution platforms would be the equivalent of a planet-sized haystack. Good luck finding it!
New streaming services can help, though. In many ways, they have replaced record companies, radio stations, LP, CD and digital downloads in one mighty blow. Music streaming services such as Tidal provide 16/44.1 streaming music, the same quality as CD, with catalogued and curated selections that allow you to easily connect with the music you enjoy. They do this for the remarkably low subscription price of approximately $20 per month. High quality, 25 million tracks, instant accessibility and low price provide a lifetime of music for virtually anyone.
For the musicians it has been, and always will be, a struggle to be heard. But for the people who enjoy the music they make, there has never been a time when so much music is so widely available to so many people for such a low price.
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