There’s no money in downloads anymore. It’s all about streaming now. People don’t want files cluttering up their hard drive. These are some of the things I’ve read and been told over the past few years. What isn’t so clear is whether any of these statements are actually true.
Well, it turns out there’s still some life in the old dog yet. Early this week, I was contacted by a established self-releasing producer whose name I couldn’t possibly divulge to tell me he’d received $323.25 on his most recent payout. I suppose it’s better than a kick in the backside – but how does it compare with other producers?
I contacted a few others, including a number of names who featured in the various Best Of charts at the end of 2021. None agreed to speak to me publicly, and a few of the responses were just downright rude. Special mention goes to the DJ who says “Your blog is s*** and I’d never f***ing read it”, despite being subscribed to my email list.
But a few were a little more forthcoming. One producer who’s had a few of his tracks at the top of the charts says he made $2000 in the most recent payout. Another told me “It was about $800, I don’t remember the exact number” and yet another sent me a screenshot from his bank statement confirming receipt of just under $1200.
Obviously these amounts are nothing like what was potentially on the table back in the vinyl days – but a four figure sum of money certainly isn’t to be sniffed at. So what’s the key to making some money out of your downloads?
One of the respondents tells me “It’s all about controlling as many rights as possible. Set up your own publishing company and sign all your music through it. Own your masters and set up your own label – and never sign anything away for free. Make sure you get at least something out of a licensing deal.”.
And the one thing you shouldn’t do? He says simply “If you see a contract which says in perpetuity, f***ing run a mile”…