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It’s the hard-knock life for artists online

How much do musicians make in a digital marketplace?

I just can’t keep quiet about this any longer. InformationIsBeautiful.net has created the most lovely, elegant infographic depicting how much music artists earn online. Seriously, take a look at it. It really shows you how the type of format impacts a musician’s profits. It also proves that album sales are most profitable for an artist, and that music streaming services are bad for business for an artist.

The formats that provide royalties, in order from baddest to bestest (I know, not a real word) for a musician: stream on Spotify, stream on Last.fm, stream on Rhapsody, track download on Amazon or iTunes, retail album CD (low end royalty deal), MP3 download (via iTunes) on CD Baby, MP3 download on CD Baby, album download on Napster or iTunes, retail album CD (high end royalty deal), CD album on CD Baby, self-pressed CD.

Is your head spinning? Yeah, mine too. But no matter, I’ve had time to turn my thinking wheels in the right direction and dream up a few major conclusions (thanks again, David McCandless, London-based author, writer and designer, for the infographic!). You’ll notice a theme to my deductions: the best choice to make as a consumer if you’re keen on playing nice with the musician (why? because I’m one of those people who think supporting the artist should be a factor when making a purchase).
1) If you really want to support your favorite musician, purchase the CD album.
2) If you’re going to purchase a download, album download > track download.
3) If you subscribe to a music streaming service, that’s not very helpful.

Please leave a comment below if you have an additional conclusion you’d like to share!

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