Do The Math!

Broken Piggy BankWell… I better had not…. Here’s why: Following a conversation with other independent artists, we concluded that most people are under the assumption that exposure is everything for an independent artist. By exposure I mean getting one’s music out there and listened to by people. While exposure is indeed important – but not everything, either…, I’ll get to that in a minute -, some listeners will conclude that if THEY listen to an artist’s music – that will be exposure, too, right? Well… I don’t know. Isn’t that like downloading music illegally and then claiming that an artist should be happy ANYone was listening? Hm. I don’t mean to be overbearing, but if I didn’t come from a place of thinking that my music was worth being listened to – why would I want to put it out there in the first place…, right?

Ok, so we agreed that somehow it’s in people’s heads that if you’re an indie, they are entitled to have your music for free and that they’re doing you a favor by listening to you. Hm. If you have to BRING yourself to listening to my music – or anyone’s for that matter – … why would you express an interest in it in the first place? Because you enjoyed torturing yourself by listening to something you don’t like? By wasting your time doing so? Speaking of time – and here’s what I calculated: Let’s assume that on a professional level, you’re working on your skills and music every day. And let’s say that like any working individual, somehow you should spend more or less 8 hours per day on your music, e.g. by writing it, recording, practicing stuff that needs practicing etc. And let’s say that you will work eight hours a day, five days a week and 50 weeks out of the year. That’ll give you 2,000 hours of productive time per year. (For simplification, we will disregard coffee or cigarette breaks, trips to the bathroom, that chat at the vending machine etc. etc.). In three years, you will have accumulated 6,000 hours of supposed productive time. Well… I have four songs out for sale so far. I released my first track in 2009, followed by three more so far. (Yeah, yeah… I know – it shouldn’t have taken me that long…).

Between January 2009, the time of my first release, and today there has been a sum total of 94 purchased downloads via iTunes, Amazon and a host of more online stores…. ninety-four. Again, for reasons of simplification, if I assume a dollar per download – it is far less than that, but let’s forget about that for now… – I’d arrive at 94 dollars in revenue. Now if I hold those 6,000 hours against that… I arrive at an hourly ‘wage’ of … – you seated? – 0,016 Cents – in theory, mind you. In reality, I have to deduct the upload fee of 9.90 per song – which makes it 39,60$ for four songs, I will have to deduct the commisson that online stores keep (that will be too complicated to take into account here), I’d have to consider electricity being used for recording the music, ‘raw materials’ like the strings on my guitars… in other words… those 94 dollars in THREE YEARS… will have crumbled to nil in next to no time…

I appreciate the fact that my music was received with great appreciation – I LOVE that! I love to see my name on playlists that sport all the big names in music, I’ve been admiring for as long as I can think. Like you, the listener and reader of this – I love music. Now… as soon as someone PAID me according to my level of LOVE for ANY music… I will be able to afford NOT having to even THINK about money or making a living of any kind (and I’d highly prefer that option ;)). And if you know of someone like this… could I kindly ask you to get them to listen to my songs? 😉

September 2011

P.S.: I consider this experiment of becoming an autonomous artist failed. The parameters in place or too adverse to overcome by myself alone. I’d need to live in a different place and probably a different time in order to be more successful with this.
P.P.S.: If you wanted to try this at home… factor in the amount of hours it took to arrive at a level that enables any artist to write, record or perform music LOL


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