Friday, 21 May 2010


You'd think that online music sales would be more financially rewarding for artists than traditional music sales involving a physical product such as a CD, record or tape. Unfortunately, that's mostly not how it works. Information is Beautiful has statistics and a graph.

Here is a video of Georg from Sigur Ros talking about Gogoyoko, a new music store designed for artists to sell directly to their fans.

Check out Gogoyoko here. It looks very smart.

Update: The Information Is Beautiful figures have been questioned as they exclude a number of important factors, such as marketing costs, recording costs (if these are paid for by the artist they get a much bigger share of the final proceeds, if not costs may be recouped before any royalies go to the artist). And a statutory royalty payment is always made to the writer(s) of a song whether or not the performers receive one. So remuneration in the music business is really very complicated!

The good news is that the Internet offers a multiplicity of options for artists. Some that seem to offer a very good return to artists are: CDBaby, which charges artists a flat $4 per CD sold, and allows them to set the retail price as they wish; Bandcamp, a site which currently delivers 100% of the digital download fee to artists who own their own recordings, less PayPal transaction fees; and Amplifier, which takes a 20% cut on music sold (this compares with the about 85% cut taken by itunes)

I'm indebted to Russell Brown, Simon Grigg, and Samuel Scott for explaining some of these matters to me.

If you're interested, this ars technica article graphs the market shift from albums to individual tracks and from download to streaming content. Things are changing in the music business, that's for sure.

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