Times are rough for musicians, especially those in the metal community. With live shows canceled for the foreseeable future, the main source of revenue for many working musicians is gone. Oh, but what about Spotify streaming revenue, you might ask? Well, turns out that you need a lot of streams before you can make any sort of living off of it.
According to the U.S. government, the poverty line for a single-person houshold in the U.S. is $11,770, which he rounded up to $12,000. Of course, this doesn't take into consideration that there is no way any single person can live off of $12,000 in a major city, let alone any mid-size city. But using that number, Shotwell then determined how many streams on Spotify would earn an artist $12,000.
The average stream pays about $0.006, so the quick answer is 3 million plays a year to earn an income of $12,000.
I say quick answer because that doesn't take into account if this artist is on a label and if they have management, all of which would require a percentage of the earnings to be split up even more.
And, once you start doing even more math, and take into account an artist with a family, and bands with multiple musicians who have families, you can see how the numbers just won't work.
"The poverty line for a family of four (2 adults, 2 children) at $24,250. Using the same average royalty rate, a musician would need 6,062,500 Spotify streams to earn that amount of gross income.
“These numbers get much bigger when the musician is part of a larger group. If a band has four members and all four have families where they were the sole source of income, the group would need to generate 24,250,000 Spotify streams to gross enough so each member’s family would be at or above the poverty line.”
Metal Injection's Frank Godla will be running a first of its kind virtual festival, Slay at Home fest, on May 28 and 29th as a fundraiser for these two great charities supporting artists. More info on the fest here.