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How to Support the Artists You Love

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The Music Industry is infamously ruthless. As a result, artists oftentimes get swindled out of the money they deserve. Here are some ways you can support the artists you cherish most.

The Problem:

Musicians don’t make money. It’s a common stereotype, but it stems from an air of truth. According to Kabir Sehgal of CNBC, artists only make “$.006 to $.0084 per stream,” meaning each time you listen to your favorite artist on Spotify or Apple Music, you are giving them less than a cent. As a result, tracks that get 1 million streams may only make around 600 dollars through streaming services.

Courtesy of Spotify.com

In the end, most of that money won’t even go to the artist. Amy Wang of Rolling Stone says that, after accounting for labels and other leakage of profit in the industry, musicians oftentimes only get 10 percent of the money made on their music. The 600 dollars made on that Spotify hit amount to a measly 60 dollars for the artist.

How you can help:

There are a number of ways to support the artists you love that extend much further from simply streaming their music.

Concerts

Right now, the most revenue for musicians comes from concert tickets. Yes, tickets are expensive, but this just is a result of artists struggling to make as much on their music because of digitization. Artists need to make a living too, and the best way to do so is to go to their concerts. Not only do you get to give them the money they deserve, but you get the intimate connection with them that only a live concert can deliver. Next time your favorite artist is in town, go see them live!

Merchandise

Merch Table, courtesy of Independent Music Promotions

Buying your favorite artist’s merch is one of the best ways to both give them some extra cash, and give them some free promotion. Smaller artists, in particular, rely on merchandise sales. Where bigger artists can get by on ticket sales alone, rising artists can’t always sell out shows and need to make up for that loss in other ways. Merchandise is often one of the most effective ways for smaller artists to do this, so if you truly enjoy them, buy a shirt or a poster.

Physical Copies of Music

Buying Vinyls and CDs can help artists out a huge deal. Again, the digitization of music has lead to a steep decline in the profits of musicians. Physical copies of music are more fairly priced and can get more money into the pocket of the artist than a simple stream. Good record players are not necessarily cheap, but they give a warmth to music that can’t be produced through streaming compression. If you can afford to buy vinyls, it can be a really good way to allow artists to make an actual profit on their music, itself, rather than them having to do multiple tours in a year just to make ends meet. Otherwise, buying CDs can have a similar effect without making as big a dent in your wallet.

Your Support Matters!

Spotify and Apple Music, alongside all other streaming services, are great in their own regard; they allow smaller artists to get exposure in a way that was unimaginable ten years ago and give greater access to music for people all around the world. Their biggest issue is their lack of support for the artists that allow them to exist in the first place. While streaming services are still duping artists, it is up to us, as listeners to support our favorite artists. After all, they can’t keep on making music if they can’t afford it.

Daniel Friedland

Journalism Intern at Red Roll
I am a sophomore English student at DePaul University. Previously, I studied Music Business and Recording Technology at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. My love for music goes beyond just journalism, as I have played the violin since I was 3. When I'm not involved with writing or music, I can be found playing on the DePaul Ultimate frisbee team.
Daniel Friedland

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