Updated Infographic: What Artists Need to Sell to Make Minimum Wage

infographic of what an artist has to sell to earn minimum wage

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Back in 2010, an infographic was first made to show what an artist would have to sell via different formats in order to make the US monthly minimum wage of $1,160. The chart was originally made to contrast the drastic difference between independent releases, releases on major labels, and then streaming services. It shows the format, cost to consumer, how many units would need to be sold monthly to make minimum wage, and then a pie chart showing the artist’s profit as compared to the label’s (where applicable) and other fees. After seeing an updated one with 2012 rates factored in, I noticed it still omitted direct-to-fan digital sales.

As you can see to your left, I took the relevant portion of the new infographic, and decided to edit it to include selling a $9.99 digital album and a $0.99 digital track direct to your fans. Clearly, nothing comes even close to selling an album yourself, with a staggering 38% profit increase over iTunes. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have your music on iTunes, because there are some advantages, but why not offer it yourself directly to your fans as well? Not only do you make significantly more money doing so, but you can offer your fans higher quality tracks than iTunes as well. You could also offer your music even cheaper than iTunes (fans would love that), while still netting more money per transaction—it’s a win-win!

So how do you offer your music directly to your fans yourself through your own website and Facebook (yes, you can sell directly on your Facebook too)? It’s actually surprisingly easy, and we can show you how. Or, we can do it for you. Free. This is one of the services tunelab provides for free for unsigned, independent artists. There are no fees, no percentages of sales, and our name isn’t even on anything. It’s actually 100% free, and we’d love to help you out. Get in touch, and please help spread the word.