In Which I Finally Derive Streaming Income From My Album of Music

In October of 2015 I took Music For Headphones, an album of electronic music I put together, onto various streaming services via CD Baby (CD Baby did all the work; I just gave them money to do it). I also set it up for CD Baby to collect my income from streaming on the various music services and send it to me when the amount reached a certain threshold. This morning, after 21 months, the threshold was achieved, and CD Baby sent me the cash, minus their own small cut:


(CD Baby’s cut, in case you were curious: $2, which means the album earned $25.38, which makes sense because I asked CD Baby to send along money once it reached the $25 mark.)

You might think this is where I would gripe about the shockingly low amount of money one receives from streaming one’s work on the various music services, and if I were an actual working musician, I might do. But really I’m just sort of mildly amazed that I’m getting any money at all out of Spotify, et al. Music is, shall we say, not even a side gig for me. That people are listening to this album at all is kind of nifty. Clearly, not many are. But at least a couple.

So, yeah. I won’t be giving up my day job. But it’s fun to know my music will buy me a pizza, every couple of years.

21 Comments on “In Which I Finally Derive Streaming Income From My Album of Music”

  1. Shucks mate. I’ve been posting sets for free for about a year now. After the Pulse Nightclub shooting, I figured more good music in the world for people looking to just find a small getaway would be a good thing. Don’t get paid for any of it, and understand music is very personal and I won’t be insulted if it doesn’t click, but maybe this will help you find your groove the way it does for me. I hope you enjoy.

  2. Have you considered releasing an album to coincide with a book release? You could name tracks after chapters and try and capture the feeling of the chapter in the track? I just took a quick listen of you your work and it is right up my alley.

  3. I just checked on Spotify and it say you have 4 monthly listeners. That’s twice as many as normally hear the songs that I write (which is my wife and daughter when I decide to plunk on my guitar in the living room)

  4. Icarus:

    I have no memory but it wasn’t that much. Probably more than $25, though.

    Jeremy Tirrell:

    I often commission a song for the release of a book, although I usually pay an actual musician to do those.

  5. CD Baby did all the work; I just gave them money to do it

    Isn’t money supposed to flow to the author? duck

  6. Did something happen, because I got a video not available when I clicked on the youtube link

  7. The Nifty Factor is pretty satisfying. My band released an album in 2012. I used a digital distribution company to get it out into the universe, and pay $10 a year for the service. The album can be found on pretty much any streaming service. We’ve earned a grand total of $6.81 from 1,625 plays. I’m just happy to have the music out there, and it’s always interesting to see the stats on the location of the plays.

  8. “the album earned $25.38 . . .”

    From amateur musician to professional. Just like that.

  9. “There’s riches on nitches” my best friend’s Mom told me.

    I think it was a Gold Rush term.

  10. Ha! Finally I’m more successful than Scalzi, by an order of magnitude no less.

    The band I spent the 90’s destroying my hearing in put on a rock opera* where I earned a whopping CND$250 for a 10 day run.

    Never mind that despite playing regularly for almost a decade I only remember getting paid directly one other time. I got a princely sum, just enough to buy a mickey of vodka.

    And never mind that that $250 worked out around 30 cents per hour…

    And never mind the exchange rate…


    [slinks off to re-evaluate his life]

    *The Illumination of Marshal McLuhan, in which the titular protagonist has a metaphysical revelation that leads him to making a faustian bargain with Cthulhu. A bargain that he then circumvents the consequences of by having himself encoded in a vat of nano-computers. Yeah, it still boggles my mind that we made as much money as we did. It’s on Youtube, good luck making any sense of it.

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