The French band ‘uniform motion’ may not yet be on your playlist, but they are well worth listening to. And not just the music, for they have a thing or two to say about the economics of the record industry without a record label.
In short, it’s not an easy place to make money to support your music, unless you have scale.
Indeed on certain platforms bands with low sales may be losing money in putting their music out on the internet, although if you look at the detail it remains relatively modest outlays on sign-up fees and materials.
Most interesting was how little money they were receiving from Spotify. A miserly 0.003 euros a play or 0.029 euros if you listen to the album all the way through. That means that even if you listened to the album a hundred times they’d still only get 2.95 euros. That’s some serious fan loyalty.
Now of course their rates may well be different to those negotiated by the major labels and don’t include a breakdown of whether the rates are higher for those listening via a premium account versus a free ad-supported account. Even then the chances are if you’re a premium user you’ll be listening to a high number of songs, so the £4.99 or £9.99 a month won’t go a long way when split between the song publishers.
Things are more positive for the band on Amazon and iTunes where they see a 70/30 split at obviously a much higher price point, with iTunes the more lucrative due to the higher price point.
Interestingly, they have followed the lead from Radiohead’s pricing experiment by letting you pay what you want for music from their own site via the Bandcamp service whereby if you paid 5 euros, Paypal would take 0.37 euros and Bandcamp 0.75 euros.
Although it’s far from a comprehensive review of the economics of the record industry, you can see why the shift towards live events and merchandising is taking place.