Back in 2010, Information Is Beautiful posted an in-depth infographic detailing the amount of online plays artists would need in order to make the U.S. minimum wage. Based on their calculations from streaming services like Spotify, the company estimated musicians would need 4,053,110 plays per month. While this number is staggering to the lone bedroom producer, bands with more than one member would need exponentially more to compensate for the amount of people on the roster.
Five years later, Information Is Beautiful has updated their research with a new graphic, including sales information from Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, Bandcamp, TIDAL, and even self-distributed CDs. The colorful pink circles compare the amount of monthly plays needed for artists both signed and unsigned. They also give estimates of the exact revenue per individual play on the different services.
As of 2015, it seems independently selling your music through Bandcamp may be the most beneficial option. YouTube remains the most difficult site to make a profit, however, with 4.2 million plays needed a month to break minimum wage. Take a look at the full graphic below, and see if you’re truly optimizing your online sales potential.