googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: What Constitutes Making A Living In Music?

What Constitutes Making A Living In Music?

I recently read an obituary for the folk singer and guitarist Doc Watson. Doc Watson had a career that spanned decades even into his seventies but the article said he never had an artistic peak. In other words, he never had a break out hit, he just kept putting out records and playing shows till he got too old or too sick to do it anymore.

How much money does a musician need to make to have music be a full time profession? As of Jan. 1, 2010, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. That’s $290.00 a week and $15,080.00 a year. The official U.S. government poverty level for one person is $11,170.00 a year so someone living off of minimum wage is only $3,910.00 away from official poverty. But let’s use that number for the MINIMUM amount of money a musician would need to make a year to qaulify as a professional.

A ninety-nine cent download on iTunes pays the artist 70% or 69.3 cents. At that rate a musician would have to sell 21,761 single downloads a year. Now that 70% number is what the record label gets from iTunes, not the artist which is paid by the label according to whatever deal was originally signed so what our discussion is about is the self recorded artist.

How hard is it to sell 21,761 digital downloads? Keep in mind we’re not talking about CDs or tapes or anything that has to be physically manufactured as that would drive our costs up considerable. Going through a service like CD Baby costs a $35.00 one time fee and 9% of your sales or about nine cents of that ninty-nine cent sale price. So now take nine cents off your 70% or 69.3 cents and you actually get 60.3 cents so you’ll need to sell 25,009 downloads. A lot of musicians main source for selling music is at their live shows but if we’re talking about digital downloads and not CDs that your fans can leave the gig with and listen to in their car on the way home how many do you think you can actually sell?

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