Streaming services allow you to market your music all over the world. To literally billions of people.

Social media enables you to reach that market at the touch of a button. Again literally billions of people.

And you can produce music more cheaply than ever before. You can make professional sounding music in your bedroom, your garage, even on a train.

So musicians the world over should be dancing in the streets, throwing money into the air like confetti. So why aren’t they?

The simple answer is that it really isn’t that easy. The corporate world hasn’t gone mad, it hasn’t allowed the musical proletariat access to the riches that music can make, as ever it’s kept the serious earnings to itself.

Way back when services like Napster convinced a generation that music should be free. MP3s were downloaded by the billions and the industry finally woke up. In a world where everyone carries round a device that can stream unlimited songs there was a killing to be made and it wasn’t the musicians that made the killing, not even the bloated record companies, this time it was the streaming services.

Spotify, Apple, YouTube and even the re-envisioned Napster realised that offering unlimited access to music for free or for a smallish monthly fee could bring in the money – and lots of it. All they had to do was persuade the record companies to comply and the money-go-round was up and running.

The record companies agreed when the streaming services offered them millions to hand over their artists like so much cannon fodder. The record companies who had treated their artists like unwanted dirt for decades screwed artists again to ensure that their own gravy train was running smoothly.

And so here we are in the brave new world of music. 100,000 new tracks are uploaded to Spotify every day so there’s no shortage of musicians willing to offer up their art. Services like Tik-Tok, Instagram and YouTube simply adore the billions of eyeballs that musical content creators generate as their own share price keeps heading north.

And yet….and yet the musicians still aren’t making a living. The attached picture shows how many streams you have to generate to earn just £1,000.

Pop over to Streaming Calculator and you can run the calculation in US Dollars, Canadian Dollars and Euros just click here.

Over 363,000 streams on Spotify to earn £1,000. You have to persuade 363,000 people to stream your song just once each to earn £1,000.

But don’t worry, there are billions of people out there all desperate to hear your music. Except there isn’t. It’s a myth. Your song is competing with the 99,999 other songs that were released today and the 100,000 that will be released tomorrow and the 100,000 that will be released every day into the future.

For every Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Adele there are literally tens of thousands of great singers, songwriters and musicians that you will never hear. The odds are that those people will give up long before you hear them because there’s almost no way you can make a living out of recorded music unless you really have sold your soul to whichever devil takes your fancy.

The democracy that was promised when social media, streaming and affordable recording were all made available just ensured that musical art pays even less. And now music is so ubiquitous that no-one is really listening anymore.

And yet I and millions like me across the world are compelled to write, record and release their music. Go figure.

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