Demographics In The Modern World Of DIY Rock Stars

Businessman analyzing financial data on computer screen

We live in a brave new world of DIY rock stars, thanks to the Internet which has changed the game and leveled the playing field for independent artists. But it amazes me how ungrateful for this opportunity some are, and how people misunderstand and misinterpret their record sales, even when the actual numbers are small. You have to look at the ratio of buyers to population, not how many you sold.

I was reviewing a bunch of complaining comments to a blog post on Jango Radio’s Airplay Blog:

http://airplay.jango.com/blog/2010/05/update-on-pacing.html

and I couldn’t help myself and thought I’d put my two cents in on the subject of getting fans from paid advertising and paid radio play.

For those of you out there that feel that you’re getting ripped when your song gets 1 fan out of 300 plays, you need to

whip out your calculator and do some math, and stop focusing on the people who listened and didn’t bite.

If only 1 in 1000 people in the world loved your music and the other 999 hated it, you’d be more famous than Elvis. Don’t think so? In 2008, the world population was 6,697,254,041. Divided by 1000 = 6,697,254. If you have 2 albums and all your fans bought one, you’d have record sales of 13,394,508. Conservatively, an album with 10 songs selling for $9.99 on iTunes will have gross sales of $133,811,135.74. Supposing you get 70% royalties from your iTunes sales, you’ve earned $93,667,795.

Yes, that’s:

Ninety-Three Million Six Hundred Sixty Seven Thousand Seven Hundred Ninety-Five

for those of you who went to public school in the last 25 years. Sucks that iTunes keeps like 30% or something like that, doesn’t it? Not when you realize that Led Zeppelin had to employ a very scary tour manager, Richard Cole

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Cole

who broke kneecaps at the record company’s headquarters to get the band 20% because anything over 10% was unheard of in those days. (read the book Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga for more on this)

That’s one lover and nine hundred ninety-nine HATERS, and only two albums. What if you had 10 albums?

If you want to make music for money you have to stop thinking everybody needs to love you. They don’t. I got 7 fans in 4 days on 359 plays. Demographically, it’s a huge number, even though the number is small. It’s a nearly 2 percentage point (1.949860724233983 to be exact) success rate. That’s not 1 in 1000, that’s 1.9 in 100, or 190 in 1000, etc.

So think of it as a business, because it is a business. Get your head out of the “big star” fantasy and think like a factory owner making widgets. Push it out there and keep improving your product and selling something new to your ever growing fan base. Eventually, you’ll be singing “Be careful what you wish for, ’cause you just might get it”. If you’re any good at what you do, just do it. The fame and fortune are a by-product of greatness, not the other way around (unless you’re Paris Hilton).


Love and Prosperity to you ALL! Have an AWESOME Day!

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I'm an independent composer, artist, producer self-publisher, and Independent Music Awards Nominee. Check out my tunes at http://www.jerryboutotmusic.com

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2 Responses to Demographics In The Modern World Of DIY Rock Stars

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  2. Eric S. says:

    Bloody Right!!!! You tell ‘em brother!!!!!

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