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The Music and $$$ Breakdown

I seem to get asked this question pretty often - How does all this money stuff work?

I don't claim to know everything about this and my numbers are not exact science or perfect statistics or anything. This is the analysis I have come to understand in its simplest form coming from my short experience in this new music business ...


I love Amazon Prime music...and all of the other streaming/music sites. Love it. I listen to it all of the time, all genres, anytime, anywhere. I have never thought anything about it beyond that....until I started making music myself... then it gets tricky.

You hear all of these artists making an uproar about people not paying for music these days and streaming and all of this stuff and you are like "Yeah sorry I hate to cut into your millions, but at least I can rock out for cheap!" Then you hear all these whiny indie musicians begging for money all the time and you are like "Dude make good music and people will buy it, leave me alone" Neither side is so simple.

The $$$ Breakdown:

Every time a song is streamed the company pays something stupid like $0.0009 cents (exaggerated, but not by much!) If you are independent then you and the songwriters get it all. If you are signed to a label that is split between your label, publisher, manager, and anyone else with their hand out, then you get your piece. I have no idea where to start on splitting that up all I know is its not very much and you would have to have like 1,000,000 spins before you could buy anything off the $1 menu at McDonalds . Every time you download a song from iTunes or wherever and pay $.99 most of the time an indie artist gets like I don't know $.75 or something like that, a signed artist again splits it 100 ways then gets their cut...but the signed artist will obviously sell more copies which makes up the difference and helps them make money.

On the major artist side, yes because they are MAJOR they end up with $$$. They also tour and have mega merch to add to it. However in the beginning they had to recoup everything that was spent on them before they actually made a lot. On the indie side they either paid out of pocket, begged all of their friends and family in a Kickstarter campaign, and/or recorded it themselves and did the best they could with what they had. Either way making music is NOT cheap. It is NOT easy. Yet it is VERY necessary. The world would be sad with no music, music makes the world go round!

The Plan:

How does all of this relate to me and my situation you ask?! I could have chosen many routes, I chose to go rouge and on my own. I got a plan and a goal and had to figure it out along the way... still adjusting that plan and goal all the time!! Instead of a "crowd fund" I figured I'd pay for it, create it and sell it. I was afraid if you donated toward the making of my music and then you hated it or it wasn't even useable- that would be terrible! I didn't want to chance it. (I created the jewelry as a backup plan B...theres also a plan C, D, and E!)

The Test:

So here I am - first single - dropped, down, out, released, ready to be in the ears of fellow country music lovers and listeners.... Ya YouTube and stream it!

This one I did a test on. I released the single on anything and everything- paid or unpaid. (yes, some of them don't even pay the $0.0009) just to see what happened that way when I release the rest of the songs I have something to go off of for my personal reference.

The Result:

Yep, my test run of letting Guns and Glitter go on everything proved to be correct - if its free that is where the majority will go to get it rather than pay $.99 for the actual download (not everyone, just lots more.) That's not surprising because I can look at myself and how I listen -example:

Carrie Underwood came out with a new album. Its on Amazon Prime, I didn't buy it, I listen there. Adele came out with her new album. She released "Hello" on Prime, but the rest you had to buy on iTunes. So I bought it. Both albums I would have one way or the other I paid for, the other I did not (well technically I did for the yearly subscription, but thats for free shipping. The music is the bonus!)

The Reality:

You get where I'm going?! ... like it totally makes sense because I love music free too. Some say the upside of streaming is you reach a broad audience that wouldn't have normally heard your songs.....but in my reality of life if I make my whole album streamable people won't have to buy it...if they don't buy it I can't pay the bill I am determined to pay on my own...with music! Do you see the issue here?!


If you survived reading all these numbers and run on sentences and the sentences that start with "And" then you are awesome and clearly care about art- so next time you see a musician at a restaurant, tip them and/or buy their cd. If you see a local painter/builder/designer buy something from them. If you hear music you LOVE buy it, don't always stream it. Support the people living out their creativity. And If there is something you have always wanted to try...TRY IT! Figure it out. Ask God to make a way and trust him. I think when you are old you'll be happy you did.

Shameless Plug:

Album released May 6, 2016 on iTunes and all the majors. I would love for you to own a hard copy to enjoy or use as a coaster or download it to take up memory on your phone whatever you want to use it for...I just want you to buy it and share it with your friends because you are super cool and super nice and you love music and art and people!

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