Record Sales Are Up, Why Aren’t Musicians Making More Money?

By Andrew Catania

The financial overhaul of the music industry has revolutionized and transformed a lot of areas and functional paradigms of the industry. Talent now has a price, a much exuberant one indeed; however, not all of it goes into the account of the artist. Here’s where all the record sales money goes.

An Insight into what it takes to bring out a record

For the information of the non-technical music geeks, an album is not only a handy hard stack of a couple of songs, nor is a song a combined result of some beautiful words uttered in a melodious discourse and enhanced by the subtle tunes of some handpicked instruments, though it may seem like this to you.

The discussion of designing a music album requires a long haul of processes as well as a multitude of essential stakeholders, as in the artist, the lyricist, the composer, the distributor, the producer, the manufacturer, the retailer and of course, the record label.

With so many stakeholders putting in their dabs of efforts to design and launch a proper CD album, it is apparent that the revenue that the record generates has to be divided too.

The breakdown of the profits on the sale of the records is such that the producer receives 2.2%, the distributor receives 22%, the retailer gets 30%, the manufacturer receives 5%, the songwriter earns 4.5%, and the record label grabs around 30% of the profits on the sales revenue. In contrast to all of them, the artist only takes home 6.6% of the profits – that’s true, just a little more than the writer and the manufacturer.

This is the breakdown for an MP3, and if an artist intends to release a video album, the idea takes on board some other essential stakeholders such as actors, dancers, directors, screenplay writers, choreographers, makeup artists, costume designers and many others. This makes a further addition to the expenditures and more expenses only translate into increasing the production cost and minimizing the profit.

The cut and slash in the expenditure primarily go against the interest of the artists and the more they aim for in their album, it mostly means that they will have to compromise on their profits. So, this ruptures the bubble of the widespread perception that music is an incredibly rewarding profession for passionate musicians regarding career growth, fame and above all, the money making prospects.

It must also be noted that the comparable rates of royalty vary from artist to artist and from record label to record label. The top ranking musicians of the industry bag a much higher percentage of record sale profits and sign the deal on their terms. However, the cohort of new and budding musicians often have to settle for a comprised percentage of profit, that is even less than what they deserve.

The key to making a decent figure of earnings for young and growing musicians is to cut down on the intermediaries and rely more on cost-effective measures such as promoting and selling your work through websites, social media, and other digital mediums.

1 Comment

  1. I know a hip hop artist that does it ALL himself with the help of his fellow musicians. They also get paid a descent amount from YouTube to play they’re videos. Cut out all the middle men if you want it bad enough and making and playing music is your true passion. This artist is from a small town and busting his ass WITHOUT paying out all the fees to others. He’s getting his dues and is blowing up huge. It helps that he’s amazing! Just saying……

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