This week, UK-based tech analysis company MIDiA Research released a study demonstrating a $1.4 billion increase in music industry revenue around the world in 2017, a considerable spike that may surprise independent artists making as little as $0.0006 per stream. . As CD and download sales rapidly decline, this growth is largely attributed to the continuing advent of streaming services such as Spotify, Youtube, Google Play and Apple Music.
In analyzing these impressive statistics, one wonders: where does this money go? Judging by 2017 tax returns (and reported in December by Digital Music News), its the executives, not creators: Spotify’s top senior executives reported yearly incomes spanning from 4 to nearly 8 million USD. In the current economic system, income inequality pervades every sector of industry. All is not lost, however.
MIDiA also reports that independent distributors generated $472 million last year, demonstrating an increasing global market for unsigned artists self-releasing their music through services like CD Baby, Bandcamp, Tunecore and Distrokid. This number admittedly accounts for only a fraction of global recording sales according to MIDiA, but it does indicate a trend towards increasing self-reliance among up-and-coming songwriters and musicians. While fledgling artists may not yet be seeing the fruits of the labor, these trends do give some cause for hope.