Originally Posted by Joffrey
Who cares. The real money is in concerts. I feel a band should consider streaming music as free publicity that drives concert attendance
Only for the already big successful bands. I've been a Tour Manager for bands (which includes doing the accounts), so can tell you first hand that it is a loss making exercise most of the time for anything other than the big(ger) acts. I also used to be part owner in a small live venue, so know how the pie gets sliced from that perspective as well. No one earns any real money from it, including the venues.
There are a few bands that have made a living out of it without being famous, but the realities of how they do it for the amount of return (slighly better than subsistence ) are not for anyone but the truly determined. I have friends who are pro jazz musicians, and if they make 25K in a year they are doing well. Virtually all of them have to take on part time teaching positions.
Obviously there comes a break point whereby once you can start selling out larger venues (600 +) whilst controlling costs, real money can be made. The issue is how do you manage before you reach that stage. That is where tour support money from the record labels used to fill the gap, effectively they would subsidise the early part of a bands career in order to reap the rewards later on, in much the same way that VC money will fund the early part of a tech startup.
The reality of that is that the huge bands would subsidise the rest of the roster on the label. Case in point was a band I worked with for three albums that were signed to Island Records. Luckily Island had U2 as the cash cow band, because without them they were losing money hand over fist. The band I worked for were about £1.5M in debt to the label after 3 albums worth of marketing and tour support had failed to secure their big break. Break even sales for each album was around 100,000. The trick was to make sure you didn't clash with any U2 release dates, because the entire priority of the labels staff would automatically switch to their only income source.
If you look at the self publishing book market you'll see that many of the authors who have become successful end up signing with a traditional publisher, rather than keep doing it alone. There's a reason for that...Edited by Infrasonic - 1/14/12 at 9:38am