Can You Make Money From Music Streaming in 2021?

can you make money from music streaming in 2021? - decibel peak

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I was disappointed when I found out that artists make as low as $0.00069 (YouTube) and that the highest payout was $0.019 (Napster).

So, can you make money from music streaming in 2021?

I think it’s ironic that the company that pioneered illegal .mp3 downloads (Napster) now pays artists the most per stream while one of the most popular platforms on the planet (YouTube) pays musicians the least.

The result?

The more people listen to your music, the less you get paid…

I never said that Napster was the most popular streaming service (it’s actually one of the least).

Although you can definitely make money from music streaming in 2021, I personally think it’s the equivalent of “busking” on the internet (playing for pennies).

Keep reading if I’ve got your attention, or keep making the rich richer…

How much do artists make from music streaming?

As previously stated, you can make as little as $0.00069 or as much as $0.019 per stream.

That goes for every artist/musician, NO exceptions.

Of course, if you want to maximize your earnings per platform, you’ll need to know more about WHO listens to your music.

Either way, it still won’t be very much for the average artist/band…

According to a study on the Ivors Academy website, 8 out of 10 musicians make less than $200 per year from royalties earned on music streaming services.

$200 might not even be enough to pay rent this month…

AND you’d be surprised to find out that even famous musicians struggle with streaming.

I guess we could argue that it’s somewhat better than illegal .mp3 downloads.

HOWEVER, the only difference is that you get to decide whether you want to buy into this business model or not. We’ll explore some alternatives in this article…

How to monetize your music on streaming services

The first thing you’ll need is a music distribution service.

Here are some of my personal favourites:

  • DistroKid (what I use)
  • Ditto
  • RouteNote
  • Soundrop

There are MUCH more out there, but they’re also essentially the same.

It’s like shopping for internet providers, or mobile carriers, etc…

Now, you might be wondering why I use DistroKid if I’m so against music streaming. Well, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a few tracks (2-3, maybe more) up there.

I just wouldn’t be so quick to hand over ALL music.

By registering with a music distribution service and distributing your music, you’re essentially paying them to license your music to HUNDREDS of different platforms.

Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Well, guess what… We don’t need more music, we need more subscribers.

If you’re insistent on getting your music on streaming services though, I won’t stop. Just don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself.

You’d need about 500,000 streams per month to make a living with music streaming services.

How to ACTUALLY make money from music streaming

Well, the secret is NOT to use music streaming services.

You need to create scarcity, NOT to diminish the value of your music.

One of the best ways to stream your music is to start your own internet radio station which I talk about in THIS ARTICLE.

You could also simply host your music on your own “personal” music streaming application.

For example, I host my music catalog using DISCO Libraries.

I’ve also used SourceAudio in the past.

If you build up a loyal fanbase, you could also start charging for access. Instead of selling albums, you could sell monthly subscriptions to your exclusive music.

Of course, you could also provide MUCH more than that.

However, I hope you see where I’m going with this. For instance, you can include access to your internet radio station and/or music streaming platform with your Patreon membership.

If you charged $10 per month and had 20 listeners…

You’d be making more than 8 out of 10 musicians make in a year with music streaming!!

Summary: Can you make money from streaming music?

It doesn’t seem like it, but maybe you can pay your subscription to Spotify with it!

I’m not saying that music streaming services don’t have advantages.

Personally, I don’t mind consumers listening to my music for free. That’s why I don’t charge for access to my music catalog.

I’d much rather focus my energy on selling licenses to my music.

If you’ve never heard of music licensing, then I highly suggest reading THIS ARTICLE

That’s how artists/musicians are ACTUALLY making money nowadays.

If you’re trying to get some pocket change out of your loyal fans though, charging subscriptions for access to your music is the new way to sell your music online.

Patreon will do the job!

Just promise me that you’ll think twice about using music streaming services.

Is your music priceless or simply a worthless commodity?

I ask you this while listening to music on Apple Music… So, if you have any questions for me or would like to discuss further, please use the comment section.

Thanks for reading, let’s make the music industry better for musicians!


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