There was a time, a long time ago, when I really took to streaming music. My music buying habits, but specially my music download habits, changed to basically streaming to the point when licensing and catalogs began changing, and I found my music collection shrinking. In the end, I started downloading once again.
I have come to the realization that I buy less and less physical albums, or it takes me longer to buy them. :(
As I found myself deeper and deeper into Kpop fandom once again, so deep into Mamamoo fandom that I begun to get irked by fans who publicly post about their illegal downloads AND complain about numbers of comebacks/group activities. I ended up writing this nonchalant post about music earnings, as well as other Mamamoo activities fans can support besides comebacks . Yes, I’ve become that type of fan. The old one. LOL
As a grown-up who loves the arts, I always try to remind people that if they love and support their artists that they should buy instead of stream because streaming doesn’t pay. I was literally shook when Hyori mentioned that she had learned that PSY’s Gangnam Style only made $38k ; even though I knew some of the horror stories like the one of musician Lee Lang (이랑) who, during her acceptance speech for winning Best Folk Song at the Korean Music Awards, stated that she had only made $370 USD in total earnings on the month of January, so she decided to auction her award starting from the base price of her rent .
You can support Lee Lang by buying her album, Playing God (신의 놀이), on Bandcamp :)
And to my surprise, one of my favorite groups this year~~~ the lovely girls from Bolbbalgan4, who are considered digital monsters with their songs almost always charting within the Top10 of Melon, South Korea’s most used music site, had made only $61k USD by August this year . Red Diary Page.1 didn’t drop until a month later, and all 5 songs in the album charted within the Top15. But that’s still besides the point. The point being that your faves don’t make money because you stream music on YouTube or Apple Music or Spotify.
So stop demanding expensive music videos that can cost from $100k-$500k for an average medium size budget, or go up to $1M for the splashy ones that we don’t often see nowadays. At the height of the music video era in the 90s, Michael Jackson and Madonna’s most expensive videos hovered the $5M budget without adjustments for inflation . Stop demanding multiple comebacks a year with infinite number of physical prints (these cost production budgets AND storage budget for large stocks) that you will be waiting for price drops and re-sellers.
So now, let’s do some math~
Let’s say a physical album, a regular jewel case priced at -let’s say- $10 USD. According to prices in 2017— Apple takes a 30% cut , Bandcamp takes a 15% cut for digital sales and a 10% for merch , whereas CD baby takes a 9% cut off digital sales and $4 USD off physical sales . That means that by selling a $14USD album, the independent artist makes $10USD. In the parallel universe in which your fave is an independent, they keep $7 of those $10 in iTunes, but if there’s a label, the artist (meaning singer) probably gets $1 of those $10. If they’re their own lyricist, musician, producer or sound engineer, fees are different.
Streaming is a whole different beast— according to this post on Digital Music News from 2016, to make a single dollar $1 in Tidal, Google Play, Apple Music and Deezer; you gotta play the song +180 times. 196, to be exact, for Apple Music and Deezer. Make that 279 times on Spotify, 483 times on Vevo, 766 times on Soundcloud, and… at the end of the list, YouTube, where you gotta play songs 776 times to make that one dollar. That means a song/music video that has 100 million views on its YouTube official channel, has made roughly $125k USD, which would be made by selling 12.5k physical albums on CD Baby.
So remember, the next time you complain about X official store prices or limited stocks, it’s because all adds up to the price. If you found a cheap album, it’s because someone along the way lost money.
Yes, I’m low-key talking about Bizent LOL I’ve compared prices with YesAsia, and since I don’t get YesAsia free shipping, that’s paying double shipping because the YA price includes the Bizent $20 shipping fee. I’d rather that money go directly to Mamamoo. xD