via Flowing Data
Let’s look at the last.fm example – so you need 1.5 million plays/month to make minimum wage. Ok – to put that into perspective, as of today U2 has had about 74 million plays (in total) generated by 2 million fans. Nickelback [shudder] has had about 40 million plays generated by about 1.4 million fans – in total, over their lifetime.
Of course a musician is not going to bank on last.fm alone, but I think this gives you a good argument for the necessity of multiple revenue streams (digital sales, physical sales, touring, merch etc), i.e. there is no pot ‘o’ money at the end of the rock star rainbow.
Artists can still make a living (see the 1000 True Fans Theory for one way to do it), but in speaking with a friend who co-runs Euphonic Sound Studio I learned that she often deals with aspiring musicians who still don’t get all of this, who still believe in the myth of the rock star. Well, send them the chart above. I haven’t seen it put quite so clearly – not since the
pre-digital digital-in-infancy days, not since Courtney Love did the math.