How Much Music You Have To Sell To Make Minimum Wage

The Numbers Aren't Pretty      05/02/11

How Much Music You Have To Sell To Make Minimum Wage


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'Cynical Musician', blogger Krzysztof Wiszniewski. has run the numbers on how much music you need to sell, in various formats, in order to make as much as you would working a minimum-wage job (in the US). 

The numbers aren't pretty:

  • In the case of Amazon and iTunes single-track downloads, 1,813 units must be sold monthly; 21,750 units a year.
  • For CD Baby full album downloads, the numbers are: 155 units a month; 1,859 units a year
  • For eMusic single-track downloads: 3,392 downloads a month; 40,941 a year.
  • With Rhapsody streams, you’ll need 127,473 streams a month; 1,529,670 a year.
  • Finally, Last.fm rates mean you’ll need 7,733,333 plays monthly; 92,800,000 plays a year.

These numbers assume that you're not in a band. If you're in a four-piece band, the numbers are higher:

  • Amazon and iTunes, single-track downloads: 7,250 a month; 87,000 a year.
  • CD Baby full-album downloads: 619 a month; 7,433 a year.
  • eMusic single-track downloads: 13,567 a month; 162,807 a year.
  • Rhapsody streams: 509,890 a month; 6,118,681 a year.
  • Last.fm plays: 30,933,333 a month; 371,200,000 a year.

Wiszniewski's numbers suggest that musicians's shouldn't expect music sales to be a large part of their income and not expect Internet radio to be part of it at all.

Let us know what you think of Wiszniewski's numbers and how much music you need to sell just to make minimum wage. 

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Image: antoniofurno

James Lewin
Twitter @podcasting_news



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