Home Bjorn's Blog Streaming Music is Finally Paying the Bills

Streaming Music is Finally Paying the Bills


Since the fall of the CD format, there was a general consensus that for minor genres and artists music streaming was a very bad business model. Now there’s many reports from New Age music artists that something has changed; streaming is beginning to pay. Indeed, quite a few artists are now living on royalties alone. It seems like the business side of things has evolved. If that is the case, the future of music has arrived!

For a major pop star or group, streaming was a great business model from day one. If you sold a few million CDs or had a few billion streams, you earned about the same. But for an artist who used to sell 2000-5000 CDs a year, it was hard to get the number of streams up enough to make a living from streaming alone. This has now changed for many artists.

A new day
Since we here refer to independent artists, it is hard to get good and accurate data. But once in a while we get a glimpse into the studio economy of independent artists.

By Mr. Adams:

Check out this interview with Michele McLaughlin on DIYmusician.com.

Today more and more artists are able to get several million streams. To get a decent income and avoid holding concerts, touring and selling merchandise, it is safe to assume that you will need at least 10-20 million streams a year – depending on your expenses.

Spotify and Pandora
The driving forces here are, of course, Spotify and Pandora. ITunes, Tidal and radio licensing are rarely mentioned. CDs are still sold, but few New Age music artists sell more than 1000 CDs per release. Usually about 100 albums are pre-ordered, and the rest of the print is distributed to press, radio and contacts.

Artists used to hide the fact they were on Spotify not to hurt CD sales. That is not the case any more.

Pandora really deserves to be mentioned twice. Although the service is only available in the US, it is obvious that it is very popular among music fans, and creates substantial royalties for artists.

It might be a bit premature to declare that the crisis in the music business is over, but there are definitely signs that the situation has improved. Streaming is perhaps not the milking cow the CD format once was, but artists and labels are making money again. That should be great news not only to artists, but to music fans as well.

Above picture copyright Martina_L – Bigstockphoto

  • Chris Parkhurst

    Im curious if new age artists are also embracing the vinyl re-emergence. Or why they might not be. Because other than artists like Laraaji or Eno-related endeavours, I still find it hard to find new age reissues on vinyl. Even Steven Halpern – from what Ive seen- has only one vinyl reissue..?

  • Paul Adams

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8da06170b154a6ab5a9f6e5c7bbadc36e840d468434f3001ffe00ae1759c8bda.jpg It’s been a four year journey for me in being able to live in royalties. It took about 25 years to get there. Music, in the business of music is having a complete change. For someone older like me you can be very frustrating, but I have no choice, I must adapt. The benefit is not being under the directives of the music label. There are advantages to that and I once had a label deal. And I feel pretty darn lucky to be able to make my own three choices now I’m an advocate of sharing information as I think we all benefit. I wish there was a magic formula to streaming in the various outlets, but I have not discovered one. For me, Spotify is the most difficult. Forgive any syntax errors, I’m using Siri

  • Jim N Dakis

    The Omnishere soft ware is one of the most advanced on the market today multi layered Syth sounds are out of this world!