This is a rough, as its from memory mainly, overview of what I paid out, not us as a band. In the '80's I was in a band with friends so we shared the costs, but for the '90's it was my bands so I paid for everything, though any earnings we made I shared out equally.
Gigs in the more famous London venues on the whole cost money maybe £50 to be aloowed to play. With some promise of getting money back if more than 50 people turned up. We never managed that. They were always hellish gigs, embarrassing and expensive.
Song listens: 5 gigs x 10 songs x 20 people = 1000 listens
But we also put on our own gigs in a hotel a few times and we earned money and people came to see us. We played a birthday party and best of all we played a squat party in Balham Post Office with hundreds of people dancing – brilliant, no money but well worth it.
Costs (petrol etc..): £100
Song listens: 1 gigs x 10 songs x 200 people = 2000 listens, + 1 gigs x 10 songs x 50 people = 500 listens
Initially in bedrooms, and then in Practise rooms – always expsensive, 3 times a week at about £7 each.
Expensive, even when cheap if you see what I mean. Bad studios still (seemed great at the time) cost money. We did it 3 times. Apart form a few friends, no one heard these recordings.
Song listens: 20
Though initially starting with a second hand Woolworths bass I quickly moved on and bought 2 brand new basses and 3 brand new amps over 5 years.
Number of tracks/songs heard: 3500
Cost per listen: £1 per listen
1990s part 1: '90-'94
Gigs in the official venues around north scotland paid, but no one would turn up on the whole
Song listens: 20 gigs x 10 songs x 10 people = 2000 listens
But we also put on our own gigs in a hotel a few times and earned a couple of hundred pounds each time and organised a tour of village halls. Some went well others were awful. The tour cost a lot (ferry to islands, buying a van, hand printing t shirts, selling a single) about £5000. But it earned about that too
Song listens: 4 gigs x 10 songs x 200 people = 8000 listens, + 20 gigs x 10 songs x 5 people = 1000 listens
Then we moved to Edinburgh and got a manager who got us better gigs (ie supported Radiohead for their 2 Scottish Dates amongst others). Sometimes we were paid £50 or so.
Song listens: 200 gigs x 10 songs x 30 people = 60000 listens, + 8 gigs x 10 songs x 200 people = 16000 listens
Lived in the country so practising was free, but then in Edinburgh paid for a lot of practises
We did it 3 times.
But we also printed a single and stuck on our own labels, which we sold at gigs (earnings included in Live) and sold a few in shops. We also signed up with PRS and got a few radio plays.
Recorded 1 CD album:
£600 studio and £1000 for 500 cds. = £1600
3 vinyl singles x 500 = £1800
For CD album through Plastichead distribution – 250 for £2.50 = £625. So getting distribution did not cover the cost of making them in the first place, but it was nice to get it (via our manager) and it lowered the pile under the bed.
Plus sell 100 single @ £1 = £100
Plus sell 50 cd @ £5 = £250
A couple of second hand guitars and pedals, plus recording equipment
Radio & TV
We made 2 videos (by students for free, in the pub i worked in at the time) and got 5 seconds played on a music tv program.
We did a couple of sessions for Scottish radio (the more musicians in the room doing stuff the more you get paid).
Song listens: 5 airplays – 60,000?
Number of tracks/songs heard: 145,000
Cost per listen: £.08p per listen
1990s part 2: '95-'98
A variety or venues, plus a few big gigs supporting Tindersticks, Mogwai, Seahorses etc...
Song listens: 20 gigs x 10 songs x 30 people = 6000 listens + 2 gigs x 10 songs x 500 people = 10000 listens
A lot of practises
We borrowed an 8 track and 2 mixers and effects and recorded at home over 6 months, on second hand tape. Plus 2 record labels paid for more recordings – again on our own
Number of tracks/songs heard: 16,000
Cost per listen: £.14p per listen
Record at home on a computer as a multitrack. Recorded 4 albums.
Some pedals, but bought and sold on ebay
Gave away music on many sites for free over the years: mp3.com, garageband, vitaminic, mp3.com.au, indisonic, mp3.co.uk, soundsky, live365, peoplesound, avantnoise, besonic, museek, Intomusic, Podsafe, Myspace, Indiestore, Lastfm, bandcamp, amazingtunes, youtube.
I used to keep a rough score of how many listens and download I had – in the region of about 100,000 up to about 2003.
But I also offer music from my own site floppyrecords .co.uk and the stats for which are here:
http://www.floppyrecords.co.uk/Floppy-Records-Stats.html, kept from 2003. the total number of listens/part listens are: 388,079 (though not all my music – the majority of tracks downloaded are)
Sold: 13 albums @£10 = £130
recently dropped price to £5
The Floppy site offers all tracks for free at 128kbs. The theory was that I wanted everyone to hear it but that people may pay for a higher quality cd version. Didn't really work. But I do worry that there are people listening to poor quality versions so I suspect that I will upload higher quality version soon.
Tunecore since October 2006.
An album costs about £10*<sup>NB</sup> per year, over the last 3 years thats cost about: £100
Income from sales and listens: £50
Album Sales: 2
Song Sales: 62
Recently added 4 albums to Spotify via Tunecore, which will be interesting.
*NB: as of 22 Nov, just noticed that Tunecore upped their yearly charge for an album from $19.99 to $49.99. $200/£125 per year for 4 albums. I can't really justify that, so, i am off to CDBaby if possible - $39 per album one off charge plus 9% of sales.
Jamendo since September 2010
Cannot sign up for the Pro account as need to leave PRS/PPL/MCPS (which I have been meaning to do for a year)
Bandcamp since August 2008
Last FM since 2008 (jugding by old address in admin)
99 streams (not sure what the difference is here)
Earnings: .33p (Cool!)
2 videos so far: 295 views
Number of tracks/songs heard: 488079
Cost per listen: £.0002p per listen, ie 2 hundreths of a penny.
1.Going to leave PRS/PPL. So I can try Jamendo Pro. Though also because I am sick of them extending copyright
2.Youtube – upload all tracks as screen capture videos. Seems to be a thing people do
3.Jamendo – pro , having left PRS/PPL/MCPS
4.Think about signing up with free merchandising sites – perhaps??
5.Continue recording albums
It may be different in other countries but here in the UK people do not go to see new music in small venues.
But if you can make it something special, somewhere special, then they will. Our best gigs (except those supporting bigger names) were always of our own making.
Managers make a big difference. Our biggest moment, in the late '90s when we had labels and publishers and music solicitors and managers phoning us up, coming to gigs, getting us to come down to London, paying for demos, was probably messed up by me (not the brightest spark). There was a moment when we sat at a desk of a very well known manager who turned a piece of paper towards us to sign and we walked out. I think we were right to (because as a couple we stayed together), but that was a key moment.
Other times when we had managers we got good support gigs etc..
But how you pick one – I have no idea.
Has made a huge difference. I realise I could be doing lots more than Give-away-and-Pray, but I do get listens. I am too lazy to communicate, what little time I do have I prefer to try and make music. But I am not too bothered. I have listens and I am not losing money any more.
In all its more enjoyable and more hopeful.