A year ago I released an EP on Spotify, iTunes and Bandcamp. This is what I (L)Earned.

How do the most popular music distribution platforms compare in terms of traffic and sales? Is streaming a dead-end? Are downloads over? Is there any money in self-publishing your music at all?

Who am I and what’s this about?

Naturally, there isn’t much money in being a completely unknown indie artist, but my goal has never been to make money, but rather not to lose money.

So as long as I’m able to cover my expenses (server rental, mastering services, a new synth once in a while), I’m good.

Looking at the three big ones

The king on the download playground is undoubtedly iTunes, with a catalogue of over 37,000,000 songs and over 25 billion songs sold, worldwide. iTunes main distribution method is downloads, even though it supports streaming as well.

When it comes to streaming, there are a few players out there, but the biggest by a large margin is Spotify, with 10 million paying users.

And then there is Bandcamp — which has both streaming and downloads, but which is mostly known as a direct sales channel for independent artists with support for lossless audio formats such as WAV and FLAC.

iTunes

22 downloads = $19.77
15 streams = $0.05
Total revenue: $19.81

Spotify

1558 streams = $14.58

Bandcamp

51 downloads = $337.70

So what does this mean?

In total I’ve made $372,09 in sales from my EP “Hit The Grave Running” over the last 10 months. Almost all of it came from Bandcamp, which is most likely due to a decent fan base who prefers that platform, and that my music has little-to-no mainstream appeal, plus the fact that they let me keep a larger percentage of the revenue.

That said, one of the most important takeaways form this is just how close the Spotify income is to the revenue from iTunes. Streaming is definitely here to stay, and if they improve their pay-for-play numbers, Spotify will most likely overtake iTunes as a source of revenue for me — but Bandcamp will remain my number one channel.

If you enjoyed this or found it interesting, please consider sharing it or hitting that “Recommend”-button, thanks :❳

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Real-time graphics evangelist, musician, occasional public speaker, Creative Director. I like it when technology goes awesome. @gloom303 on Twitter.

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Bent Stamnes

Real-time graphics evangelist, musician, occasional public speaker, Creative Director. I like it when technology goes awesome. @gloom303 on Twitter.