After the Spotify hubbub a few months ago, I decided to add a portion of my back catalog to it for a short period so that I could see for myself what an independent artist earns. Because Spotify doesn’t deal directly with artists, I went through CDBaby, who distributes my old albums (*see note). For comparison, they also distribute some of my music to Rhapsody and Napster.
It’s not easy to get financial detail from the companies themselves and misinformation abounds. So, in the interest of helping other independent artists make decisions, I’ve posted all my streaming data for the month my “content” went live.
Total streams for 1 month: 6926
Total amount earned: $32.07
Average price paid per stream after CDBaby’s 9% cut:
Rhapsody has a fixed stream rate. I don’t know the respective formulas for Spotify or Napster, but price-per-stream varies:
Napster: $0.01658813 to $0.01721973
Spotify: $0.00102187 to $0.01158124
(Not being in finance, I have a hard time grokking all those decimal places. My spreadsheet defaulted at two, which made the price-per-stream $0.00 for Spotify )
Nothing really eye opening here. It is pretty clear that it should not be for financial gain that an independent artist makes their music available for streaming, but instead it should be done for the purpose of exposure, etc.
My strategy, today, is to stream a portion of my back catalog on Spotify and my new album only my own website.
(*note: I distribute my latest album directly on iTunes with no middleman. However, back when I released my first album CDBaby was the only way to get into iTunes. When you switch distributors all your reviews, playlists, likes, etc disappear from iTunes and you have to start over and re-upload your album as though its a new release. So I’ve put off transferring my back catalog from CDBaby but I plan on making the switch anyway later this year…after which time I’ll have to find some other way into Spotify if I want to continue with it.)
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