While money is not always the primary motivation when becoming a music artist, it certainly is a decisive factor to continuing to be the one full-time.

The paradigm has shifted over the last 30 years. In the past, an artist would be given a recording contract to produce several albums for a lucrative fee. In addition, artists would be expected to tour many cities for long periods of time with the record company paying the bill for the expenses, including incidentals of the artists. That does not really happen anymore. More often than not, unknown and up-and-coming artists are relying on alternative means of making money with their music and image, in hopes of securing more lucrative recording deals in the future.

Streaming services look like a great idea, but it has become common knowledge that it is not a reliable source of income.

In the past YouTube views seemed to be making large sums of money for many different types of artists and entrepreneurs. The facts are quite different according to digitalmusicnews.com nowadays, however. In reality, YouTube is ranked last in payouts from streaming services.

With an abysmal $0.00074 per stream, it would take over 2.133 million streams to equal a monthly minimum wage income of $1 472.

Spotify, which was created in Sweden to allow artists a way to distribute music in a country, which had no physical record store, pays a bit more with $0.00397 or 336 842 streams to reach the same minimum wage. The largest payout is still Napster. By comparison, only 77 472 streams are needed to reach the benchmark amount. The pay per stream payout is nearly two cents. Meanwhile, it is unclear how long Napster will remain in the market, as typically it is losing approximately $7.00 per subscriber. With these factors in mind, it is obvious that most artists are not making a great deal of money on streaming payouts.  

Concerts, which at one time were considered a loss leader or marketing device to drive physical album sales, is now becoming a key income generator.

It does not come without its own set of problems though. When sales of the songs are down, then ticket prices to concerts must go up. Ticket prices go up, fewer people attend, or they expect a larger production. Many artists are relying exclusively on large festivals, which allow for slightly lower cost tickets, but also have shorter set times, and less per artist production costs. It also allows smaller artists to play to bigger audiences, enhancing their reach. It also gives performers an opportunity to sell physical copies and merchandise.


Merchandise sales have a two-part positive effect.

The actual purchase of the merchandise can put money in someone’s pocket immediately. The merchandise will also be worn or placed on vehicles to be seen in public. Fans become walking billboards. Going to shows, seeing what is selling to those crowds and common sense can go a long way, such as establishing the size and color preference for T-shirts, as well as types of smaller impulse items such as key chains, stickers, magnets and more. Many artists bundle several items to create a package. Perceived value goes a long way with fans, as it is also a handy way to push items, which did not sell as well as anticipated.

If an artist has many loyal fans, online donation sites have a place there as well. It is important to note that Kickstarter and Go Fund Me, the two largest, will get a cut of everything taken in. 


A significant issue with using the method is appearance. While many fans jump at the chance to help an artist they follow, others are skeptical or find it distasteful to ask for money in this fashion. An artist should know their fan base incredibly well to gauge what the reaction to such requests will be. Some artists including Framing Hanley used Kickstarter for their self-financed album “The Sum of Who We Are”, as the campaign in 2013 managed to raise $35,000 for the production of the record, for example.

The key to their success was maximizing value for fans.

This included, names in the CD and Vinyl album jackets, and even a sit in on a recording session based on the amounts collected from individual fans. One of the more unique crowd funding sites is Show4Me. With millions of subscribers and a quantity or donations of size of donations approach, it is becoming a resource for anything from album release parties to full scale festival funding for promoters too.  

Getting fully funded in the highly competitive market can be a challenge.

Using many methods and combining them for a well-rounded source of money may be the key to ensuring a successful lengthy music career. Fan engagement and increasing fan value is becoming the new norm in today’s music industry. 

This is the exact reason why Show4me direct-to-fan network can guarantee you the proper connections development of your career through interaction with fans. 

It can serve as a value driven way to collect a true fan data base. It can limit the amount of casual fair-weather fans and reduce the amount of resources dedicated to people who do not follow the artist regularly.

Learn more about Show4me here