How Much Do Artists Make On Bandcamp? Thoughts On Reaching a Milestone

“10 grand from one sales platform at a time when ‘no-one pays for music anymore’…what does it mean?

I guess for some of you, your reaction is ‘only 10 grand?? I thought you were LOADED!’, in which case, you perhaps need to take with a pinch of salt the over-inflated claims of success of some other musicians pretending to be making millions. ‘Fake It To Make It’ has long been the received wisdom of music promo, but we’re kind of beyond that now. Apart from everything else, it makes it very difficult to build honest friendships with the people who dig your music if you’ve been lying to them for years about how massively successful you are.”


“So what does £10k mean?

Is it wages? If it is, it’s not much of a milestone. Should it be measured against what other artists are making? That seems a bit meaningless, given the role that marketing (and marketing budgets) play in headline figures. There are going to be a LOT of acts–signed as well as unsigned–who will see FAR less than we do go into their bank accounts from sales while still grossing WAY more than we do.

Because, making money from music costs money. And for MOST artists, it costs more than it makes. I could probably sell a lot more music if I assigned myself a sizable advertising and promo budget, if I was willing to do a buy-on tour opening for a bigger name act…but I just can’t afford to do that. That would cease to be sustainable. So I spend what I have–which is time–and use it to tell stories, to present the music in as many different contexts for as many different audiences as I can. For about 80% of my Bandcamp sales, I can tell you where the person heard about me, because I’ve been in touch with them already. It’s an extension of myriad friendships, not the effectiveness of an ad campaign that has bred whatever success we’re looking at here.”

via Steve Lawson | How Much Do Artists Make on Bandcamp? Thoughts on Reaching a Milestone

For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story

“A friend of mine, who is an actress, told me that when the casting for her recent movie came down to two actresses, the casting director chose the actress with  more Twitter followers. I see this becoming a trend in the music industry. For me, this dates back to 2005 when I walked into my first record-label meetings, explaining to them that I had been communicating directly with my fans on this new site called Myspace. In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans–not the other way around.”


“I predict some things will never change. There will always be an increasing fixation on the private lives of musicians, especially the younger ones. Artists who were at their commercial peak in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s tell me, “It was never this crazy for us back then!” And I suspect I’ll be saying that same thing to younger artists someday (God help them). There continues to be a bad girl vs. good girl/clean-cut vs. sexy debate, and for as long as those labels exist, I just hope there will be contenders on both sides. Everyone needs someone to relate to.”

via The Wall Street Journal | For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story

Songs take on lives of their own

But although much of the world makes sense now to Perry, she still can’t explain something like the recent death of Toronto’s Olivia Wise at 16 from inoperable brain cancer.

“I don’t have the answer for that,” she says, her eyes welling up over the girl who recorded Perry’s “Roar” in her dying weeks.

“I feel so bad for her family, but she inspired so many people by what she did, singing with what little strength she had left this song about self-strength. She was an inspiration to me.

“Sometimes these songs take on lives of their own. I write them and get goosebumps on my arms. But then other people, like Olivia, take them and they become bigger than I had ever dreamed.”

Hacker uses bots to top music charts, bumps P!nk, Nicki Minaj

Rather than spend years practising an instrument and writing songs, he compiled music from clunky electronic MIDI files and later by applying algorithms that squashed together public domain audio.

He then purchased three Amazon compute instances and wrote a simple bash script to simulate three listeners playing his songs 24 hours a day for a month.

Filimore wasn’t bothered when online listeners dubbed the tunes “rubbish”, “horrible” and of a quality perhaps only appealing while “on cocaine”.

Rather, the payments security expert was curious whether fraud detection mechanisms were used across music services like Spotify, Pandora and CDBaby.

“I’m not a musician,” Filimore told SC at the Ruxcon security event in Melbourne this week. “But I kept hearing that artists were going broke and wanted to look into it.”

“As it turns out, you’re doing it wrong if you want to make money in music by being a musician.”

via Hacker uses bots to top music charts, bumps P!nk, Nicki Minaj – Networks – SC Magazine Australia – Secure Business Intelligence.

Scooter Braun,, Amanda Palmer and More Argue for Artists’ Role in the Music Industry During Inaugural ‘Disruptor’ Talk | Billboard

Braun said the biggest problem tech companies have is not showing enough respect to artists. “If artists aren’t in the know, they are going to kick your ass. And I learned that as a manger.” He recalls sitting with “the three biggest artists on YouTube” at an event celebrating the launch of Vevo and asking, “’Did anyone from Vevo call you guys?’ They said no. And no one called me either.” Braun said that, because the industry is focused on short term goals, conversations on behalf of the artistic community aren’t happening. Jones of Vevo says “We want to be what the artists want. But the ultimate aim is: We’re trying to monetize a business and trying to do that the best way we can.”

The artists on the panel were eager to let companies know how they could be better serviced. “If Shazam connected to Spotify, connected to Songkick, if they all connected to each other and then could give artists that information, then we could really be empowered and choose how we navigate through this brave new world,” said Imogen Heap, later adding that she would be willing to go online once a week to just talk through these issues with technology companies and labels.

via Scooter Braun,, Amanda Palmer and More Argue for Artists’ Role in the Music Industry During Inaugural ‘Disruptor’ Talk | Billboard.

How Music Services Can Acquire, Engage, and Monetize High-Value Listeners

A report from MIDiA Consulting suggests that 60-80 percent of ad-supported accounts on services like Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer are effectively inactive. These inactive listeners contribute little value to the music service. After all, if someone never logs on, they’ll never see ads.

The MIDIA report confirms something we’ve seen happen with many services: A small segment of hyper-engaged users is responsible for the majority of overall engagement and listening hours in any given month.

Interestingly, we’ve noticed that the characteristics of these high-value users vary from service to service. The traits that make one user “high value” to one service don’t necessarily apply to another.

As such, it’s really important for a music service to understand who those high-value listeners are for their service specifically, and, ideally, to target acquisition and engagement strategies directly to those listeners. It’s possible. In fact, it’s exactly what The Echo Nest has been working on.

via The Echo Nest Blog.