Latest Posts

    Here’s How Mega Artists Make Substantial Money Off Streams

    It was 2003, and the self proclaimed “best rapper alive”, Jay Z, released his eighth, and “final” album, The Black Album. However, three years later he would come out of retirement with his ninth album, Kingdom Come. More importantly, the album debuted atop the the Billboard 200, selling approximately 460 thousand copies, not including streams, in its first week. In fact, streams weren’t a thing then. However, in 2017 streams are the main metric measuring an artist’s success.
    While streams measure an artist’s success, obtaining an substantial amount of streams could lead to monetary success as well, in addition to a Gold or Platinum award from the RIAA. Let me explain.

    To clarify, a stream, or streaming, means listening to music or watching video in ‘real time’, opposed to downloading the file, according to BBC. Also, the average payout for a Spotify, a streaming service, stream to labels and publishers is between $.0006-$.0084, according to Spotify‘s website. Now that we know what a stream is, let’s see why album copy sells have become obsolete.

    Well, it was a slow burn, but it started with Napster. You can read about it here. Essentially, Napster users could download MP3 files of artists’ songs, cutting into album sales. For awhile, iTunes was the metric of an artist’s success, as it allowed singles to be sold, not just entire albums. However, in 2008 Spotify officially launched. And in 2013, the RIAA changed its certification of criteria pertaining to Gold and Platinum awards.

    In 2017, 10 song downloads, or sales, equal one album purchase while 1,500 song streams equal an album purchase (Thank you, Jay Z). So, 1,500 song streams is an album purchase while one stream is valued between $.0006-$.0084. With this information, it appears obtaining Gold and Platinum awards has become easier while obtaining a substantial amount of money off of streams is damn near impossible. Well, the former is true, but the latter isn’t.

    Indeed, Drake’s most recent release, More Life, benefited from streams to obtain its Gold award in its first week, but it also helped him obtain a substantial amount of money off of the streams as well. More Life debuted atop the Billboard 200 with approximately 505,000 album equivalent units. Remember, RIAA’s rules changed in 2013, so an album equivalent includes sales, song download sales, and streams. Astonishingly, More Life sold approximately 226,000 album copies.

    Drake wind pants
    In fact, that was the lowest selling album for Drake pertaining to album sales.

    But, what Drake, and a few others, know is in 2017 album sales are good, but with a strong following streams are great. According to 2dopeboyz, More Life obtained approximately 61 million streams on Spotify in its first day, breaking the single day streaming record. All in all, Drake, and a few others, have obtained streams in the billions, and that’s when money starts falling in. Yes, obtaining a billion streams is hard, but it’s only part of the streaming business model, according to Forbes.

    Using Drake’s fellow Canadian native The Weeknd as an example, let’s break down the model. The Weeknd has amassed approximately 5.5 billion streams within the last two years. That’s a pretty penny, but what the success of his streams allowed him to do was receive an approximate $75 million touring advance. Drake and The Weeknd have combined have obtained approximately 17.5 billion streams since their Apple music, according to Forbes.

    The Weeknd
    “I really wanted people who had no idea who I was to hear my project,” The Weeknd said to Forbes. “You don’t do that by asking for money.”

    In addition, Chance the Rapper is another artist that’s capitalized off of streams. In fact, Chance has never sold a physical album, but he was Forbes’ 33rd highest paid entertainer in 2017, earning $33 million.

    Essentially, the streaming business model is once you’ve obtained a core fan base you put an album, let your fans stream it millions, hopefully billions, of times, and present this data to advertisers and venues. The artists are giving away their music for free to all of the masses, and are receiving devoted fans in return, helping them maintain there streaming numbers. So, there’s money in the music industry, it’s just not where it used to be.

    Tap Into the Hype

    Please enter your comment!


    Latest Posts

    [democracy id="16"] [wp-shopify type="products" limit="5"]

    Don't Miss