How Musicians Really Make Money in One Long Graph

In the 1950s, it was not uncommon for a band to make money off an ancient bit of technology known colloquially as an "album." People bought "albums" in exchange for money that was divided mostly between the store, the label, the distributor, and the band, which included not only the artists, but also producers and lawyers.

In the following 60 years, music hasn't died, but the old business model quite nearly did. People still buy solid, non-digital albums. Millions of people, in fact. In fact, vinyl sales are projected to hit 3.6 million in 2011, more than 10-times the figure from 1993.

But the vast majority of music we listen to comes out of the Internet, where most of it is free. How are bands supposed to make money off of clouds and $0.99 files? This extremely cool chart from the folks at Information Is Beautiful, based on a post at The Cynical Musician on digital royalties, explains:

How Much Do Music Artists Really Earn Online?

Source: InformationIsBeautiful.net

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Adults Who Live In Treehouses

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

More in Business

Just In