A damning report, titled “Music Creators’ Earnings In The Digital Era” was released by the UK Intellectual Property Office in September. Exposing a harrowing truth about DSPs, the study revealed that less than 0.4% of artists achieve the required million streams per month to attain a sustainable and supportive independent income.
Researches used a combination of data from streaming services, interviews and focus groups with musicians between 2014-2020. One of the main takeaways from the report is the change in how musicians make an earning – mostly due to the rapid-changing streaming landscape and its ever-increasing adoption by consumers.
The most astounding finding, however, is that only musicians with one million or more monthly streams—roughly 1,723 or 0.4%—can rely solely on this income. Out of all musicians who make the entirety of their income from music, 43% reported earnings of £20,000 or less, and 64% reported £30,000 or less.
Perhaps even more surprising, Cherie Hu, founder and publisher of Water and Music, writes that 65 to 75% of streams for the top 0.4% of artists come from their back catalogue, rather than new releases. Hu also goes on to state that “the vast majority of these artists in the top 0.4% are likely signed to major labels”, estimating that the value per stream has decreased significantly over the last half-decade.
You can read the full report of findings here.