Money for Music
July 31, 2004 6:46 AM   Subscribe

I was explaining to a friend of mine how little music artists make. I've heard they sometimes only make pennies on every CD that is sold. Are there any graphs or charts, (a pie chart would be ideal) on the internet that show where the money would go from the sale of a CD and who pockets what? It seems like something simple that someone should have figured out and put together, but Google is failing me.
posted by banished to Work & Money (10 answers total)
This terrific rant by producer Steve Albini tells the tale, and has a detailed table showing the disposition of a band's revenue from its first CD and tour.
posted by nicwolff at 7:16 AM on July 31, 2004

Damn you, nicwolff! I had my trigger finger on the CMD+V, but you beat me to it!
posted by Hankins at 7:17 AM on July 31, 2004

Response by poster: I saw it, and I also saw this great link, but still not *quite* what I'm looking for.

I also found an obscure forum post via Google talking about the piechart I'm looking for, but he said he saw it in a guitar magazine several years ago, so that doesn't really help.
posted by banished at 7:21 AM on July 31, 2004

Response by poster: Actually, I can just use that data and make a pie chart in Excel I guess. Thanks nicwolff and Hankins too for having me revisit that link. I missed the table at the end of the rant the first time, so it was worth the revisit.
posted by banished at 7:38 AM on July 31, 2004

Keep in mind that the Albini article is 11 years old. Things may have changed a bit since then.
posted by sad_otter at 9:00 AM on July 31, 2004

Googling on "cd royalties split" turned up a lot of promising-looking results, including this, this and this.
posted by sad_otter at 9:11 AM on July 31, 2004

One thing that's often glossed over in these articles is that the number at the end is usually net income by the band. Living expenses like food and housing were already paid for out of the advance.

So beware comparing it to a normal person's gross income. Albini says they make 1/3 of what someone at 7/11 makes, but someone working at 7/11 doesn't have $4,000 in the bank at the end of the day, it's already been spent on stuff the band had taken care of for them.
posted by smackfu at 9:40 AM on July 31, 2004

Courtney Love did an article much like the Albini article, but only four years ago, so the math is a lot more recent.
posted by Jairus at 12:15 PM on July 31, 2004

It entirely depends on the individual contracts.
posted by anathema at 12:37 PM on July 31, 2004

Response by poster: Excellent, all of you guys, thank you so much. Sad_otter's third link yielded this, which is exactly what I wanted. Thanks so much.
posted by banished at 1:00 PM on July 31, 2004

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