The rich music industry! Or is it?

The rich music industry! Or is it?

Yash Yadav

Hey there,

Today the calendar shows its multiple faces. Today holds a damn list of special days.

-         World Yoga day
-         Fathers’ day
-         Solar eclipse day
-         Music day
-         KnowledgeDay

… and

-         Sunday!

While I can’t just be discussing about all these special days, it’s a perfect opportunity to talk about something I read a read a while ago. Turn up the volume, it’s a music day! Help thy neighbours celebrate!

If I could, I really would put up some background music while you read this issue. I love music. Not limited to but I’m a metalcore person in particular 🤘

The rich artists life! Or is it?

We all do regularly see the music artists among many other the entertainment industry and no doubt it looks packed with nothing but money. Really, who doesn’t listen to music or watch films?

But do you also know this is one of the most vertically growing industry? What that means is, the strugglers consistently have harder times getting traction while the rich keep getting richer. We could say the case is the same in the domains, but the entertainment industry has its way pointier.

Then and now

In the past, the windows/glasses used to break if the artists sang well. Today they break when artists sing bad, because of the stones from neighbors.

Which is not the point. In the past, the artists were typically dependent on the physical sale of their music through albums, concerts, and some from radio...if they have a censored version of their song about Ice.

Today, no one buys albums. Also, radios are majorly meant to play the top 10s throughout the week. Who decides the top 10s? Public votes. On what basis? Booties in the Youtube videos.
The more you know: Money earned this way is called  Milf Money.

There we have it, the artists today benefit from a plethora of ways they can spread their music, from streaming services to music videos, selling individual songs through platforms like iTunes and Google Music, and more. Thanks to the college dropout named Mark, they also have social media to promote their content and catch the audience for Concerts and attract lazy bums to their songs about booties. ()

But how does this create an imbalance between the different artists? Money is a necessity to keep the music flowing. From small artists who just got their first gig at a local bar to huge venue headliners, below are some of the most common ways that musicians make their money in the current industry:

Physical Purchases: Today? What? Yeah nobody buys CDs, but we’re including the merchandise here too. However, unless they’re cutting the CDs and printing their own t-shirts, they are heavily taxed by their manager and record label. In some cases, for every $1,000 in albums sold the average musician only makes about $23.

Digital purchases: Not including the streams, this is losing the traction as well. But even with all the purchases (minus the manager, lawyer, and crew payments), the band is left with around $.09 per song purchase.

Concert Tickets and Touring: The primary way artists made money in a pre-COVID era. Sure, they have all the extra fees and crew charges, but this does help them with some cash. The headliners, of course, have their travel and some other costs sorted out. Others must cut that share from their earnings.

Streaming: The most sought out way for artists to reach a global fan base, to be discovered, and to have their music available to everyone all the time has its costs. Spotify, the most popular streaming service globally, Pays between $0.006 to $0.0085 per stream to the rights holder. If the rights are signed to the label, the artists don’t get to see a penny and only about 1.7% of artists on Spotify make minimum wage through their monthly earnings.

Others: Having music featured in TV commercials, movies and games is awesome and rewarding but is so infrequent that it generally does not apply to the majority of bands.

Do they have alternatives?

Artists crave change and fair pay, but listeners go where the link from their friend takes them: to Spotify and iTunes (well, mostly its YouTube but we only looking at the audio platforms here).


Yeah, the long word from [bitcoin issue] comes back! Because if you look above, you’ll only see that the middlemen between you and the artists are eating up almost everything. The industry is ripe for decentralization and is going to benefit the most if platforms stop eating such big chunks from artists’ earnings.

Sure, the businessman in you just got an idea to fix the problem we have. You’re not the first, we have platforms attempting to solve the same problem. The only problem is, this industry is not welcoming for newcomers, in any form. What can we really do to move listeners to a different platform when these big boys offer free streaming that just works. But regardless, I list a few decentralized platforms targeting the middleman problem, skip the text let’s look at a comparison table real quick.

Some decentralized platforms. Credit: HowToToken

It should come as no surprise that the industry is ripe for change. Spotify will almost certainly stick around, but we may indeed see an increasing number of artists making their way to decentralized platforms as the general feeling towards blockchain technology continues to increase.

The End

What? Did you expect drum rolls throughout the text? Well, this was all a disappointment for me as well when I found out even though the facts above don’t affect me in any way. This is killing the creative industries and people are turning towards other boring but comparatively lesser exploited industries.

Things need change. Things will change. We’re only here to open minds a little.

While we're at it, let's listen to a new song by a local band from Mumbai that I recently found:


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