Independent musician graciously reports earnings from streaming services


Read the original Reddit post here.

A Reddit user and independent musician by the name of Samuel Orson recently did a very awesome thing: he shared his earnings from various streaming services where he hosted his music.

Services used included: iTunes, Bandcamp, YouTube, Spotify, and more.

While not a hip-hop artist, the man is independent so he sets a good example as to how things might work for other independent musicians of similar status.

How much one independent musician earned from iTunes, Spotify and more

From iTunes (and Amazon), Orson reported earning roughly $228 from 293 songs downloaded and getting $0.77 per song (the songs were sold for the standard $0.99). This was the third highest revenue source for Orson.

Spotify earned Orson the second most, at just over $700 and over 176,000 streams.

There were several services in Orson’s report that yielded very little revenue from sales, namely Pandora, Deezer, Groove, and the DistroKid Referral Program, which all paid out less than a dollar each.

Other services like Google Play, YouTube Music, and Tidal did not yield great results either, albeit more than $1 each.

Total earnings from streaming services

The Music Revenue Breakdown - Samuel Orson - Total Earnings
The Music Revenue Breakdown – Samuel Orson – Total Earnings

Orson also posted additional screengrabs of his earnings to show the exact numbers and each service’s payout breakdown. You can view those images on Imgur.

Bandcamp, the outlier

Not included in the image above is Bandcamp, where Orson hosts his music for free with the option for listeners to pay whatever they want, a popular method artists use when hosting on the service.

Interestingly, despite not explicitly charging a specific dollar amount for his music, earnings from Bandcamp (two albums, not including single song downloads) have exceeded $1,000 for Orson, making Bandcamp the highest earner for Orson.

Bandcamp says that they take a 15% cut from music sales, but as Orson points out, with PayPal fees, it tends to be more than that. A fan buying one of Orson’s albums for $5 gives Orson himself $3.90, or 22%.

Orson notes, however, that the more the listener pays for the music, the lower the cut is for Bandcamp. Paying $10 for Orson’s album will yield him about 80% of that money.

As noted in my Soundcloud Alternative Guide, Bandcamp is definitely one of the better options for independent musicians to host their music, and Orson’s personal case study seems to support that.

What does this mean for musicians?

With the information provided, you may add this to your research when trying to decide where to host your music. In my opinion, sites like Soundcloud, Bandcamp and YouTube are a must for hosting music, while iTunes, Spotify and others should be additional if it makes sense for you as an artist.

Hint: Ask yourself these questions: Do I have a big enough fanbase? Does my music contain copyrighted samples? Etc.

Please be sure to take these findings with a grain of salt, however, as again, this is only one artist describing his personal experience.

Everybody’s experience varies, but we can at least thank Mr. Orson for sharing this data with us so other independent musicians can make the decision for themselves where they will invest their time and money for hosting their music.

Tags : BandcampiTunesSoundcloudSpotifyStreamingYouTube

The author Stone

Stone is a hip-hop enthusiast residing in NJ/PA. As an aspiring hip-hop producer, Stone studies communications and shares his passion for music by letting the world in on the wonderful world of hip-hop.