How to make more money from your music

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2013 music industry revenuesModern music revenue: don’t bet on one stream!

Digital Music News recently posted a slideshow of charts showing the shift in music industry revenues over the last 30 years.

It’s interesting to watch the rise and decline in the popularity of certain formats (vinyl, cassettes, CDs, downloads, etc.), but obviously most relevant to a discussion about today’s music economy is the pie chart for 2013. Take a look: it proves that artists must… diversify.

No matter what your bread-and-butter may’ve been a few years ago (CD sales, downloads, live concert fees, etc.), you shouldn’t rely on any one revenue stream to carry you along these days. The landscape changes rapidly. There are more ways than ever before for fans to engage with your music, and more ways for you to earn money from the usage of that music. 

* Sure, download sales are down, but YouTube ad revenue is going up dramatically every quarter.

* CD sales, well, they’re all over the place; some artists are selling more than ever while other artists are doing digital-only releases.

* Vinyl sales are on the rise, believe it or not!

* Add to the list: sync licensing, publishing royalties, SoundExchange royalties, ringtones, and music streaming — and you’ll see how the concept of music monetization has widened far beyond simple music sales.

To find out how you can earn more money from your songs in today’s music economy, check out the following articles:

1. Twelve ways to earn money from your recorded music and original compositions

2. Five ways to make more sync money from your music

3. How to earn more music publishing royalties

4. Fourteen creative ways to make money from your music this year


How are you earning the most money these days? Do you still lean heavily on one revenue source? Or are you piecing it together from multiple music income streams? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Colin

    For the average artist, how much does one usually make through YouTube? An estimate is fine, just trying to figure out how much I could generally predict through YouTube as I’m setting up a finance plan right now for my music act.

    Also, though I know it’s not related to YouTube but if it could be answered I’d be forever thankful! how much income per month do CD baby artists see coming in through Spotify?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Hi Colin,

    This is a standard CD Baby answer for most revenue questions, but it’s always true: averages are kind of meaningless when it comes to our clients. The reason I say this is because we have over a quarter of a million artists, all of whom are at different levels in their career, all with different goals. Some are hobbyists who happily work day jobs and just want to release an album of their original songs for family to hear. Other artists are Grammy winners, or bands that are touring 9 months out of the year, or people who’ve appeared on TV shows. Most of our artists are somewhere in between.

    The same goes for these artists’ approaches to YouTube or Spotify as a platform. Some ignore them altogether. Some artists encourage their fans to stream their music and use their songs in YouTube videos. So averages are pretty much meaningless. I can say that we have a handful of artists (and not necessarily the famous household names) who’ve earned as much as $40,000 already from YouTube — mostly from fans uploading videos that contain the band’s music. Some artists are earning only pennies from YouTube. Again, most of our artists are in between those two extremes.


    • Colin

      Alright, thanks for the detailed response! Guess we’ll see if either of these platforms surprise me in the future haha