How much do musicians earn online?

Here’s a reproduced image from a wonderful blog post at the always-interesting site

I’m putting a copy of the post up here to preserve it just in case the original post is taken down, but please do read the original.

In summary, the stats demonstrate that the decline of CD sales has not been replaced – in artists’ income terms – with the rise of digital. So artists were hugely better off in the age of physical CD sales. The original data (which includes some well-researched stats about songwriter royalties) can be found in this spreadsheet.

————- original post below ————–

Recently, the UK government passed The Digital Economy Act which included many, perhaps draconian, measures to combat online music piracy (including withdrawing broadband access for persistent pirates).

Much was proclaimed about how these new laws would protect musicians and artists revenueand livelihoods.

But how much money do musicians really get paid in this new digital marketplace?

This image is based on an excellent post at The Cynical Musician called The Paradise That Should Have Been about pitiful digital royalties. (Thanks to Neilon for pointing that out). I’ve taken his calculations and added a few more.

As ever, this was incredibly difficult to research. Industry figures are hard to get hold of. Some are even secret. Last.Fm’s royalty and payment system is beyond comprehension. (If you can explain it to me, please get in touch)

Note: these figures do not include publishing royalties (paid to composers of songs). The full spreadsheet of data does though. You can see all the numbers and sources here:


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