What A Band Really Makes From Streaming Sales

UK band Uniform Motion recently released their third album, One Frame Per Second. Here, they break down exactly how much of that sweet streaming money pie is left over for the musicians -- and it's even less than you think.

Our new record was 'officially' released today. This means that you'll find the digital version on various different digital music stores like iTunes, AmazonMP3 and eMusic, and you'll be able to stream the music from services such as Spotify and Deezer.

The physical versions (CD and Vinyl) are only available from our Bandcamp site and at gigs.

Unfortunately, you will not find our record in any record stores. The reason for this is because we do not have a record label, which means we have no access to distribution. Without a distributor, you cannot sell your CD's in record stores. If you work for a distributor and you're interested in carrying our CD or Vinyl, or both, feel free to contact us!

If you choose to purchase our music or use one of the ‘legal' streaming services, here's an overview of where the pennies go.


With Spotify, we'll get $US0.0041/play.

If you listen to the album all the way through, we'll get $US0.04.

If you listen to the album 10 times on Spotify, we'll get $US0.40.

If you listen to it a hundred times, we'll get $US4.05.

If you listen to the album 1000 times (once a day for three years!) we'll get $US40.50!

If you use the free version of Spotify, it won't cost you anything. Spotify will make money from ads. If you use any of the paid versions, we have no idea how they carve up the money. They only disclose this information to the major record labels…


Deezer seems to pay a little more.

We've been getting $.0083/play from them.That's $US0.0072/album play. If you listen to the album 10 times on Deezer, we'll get $US0.72. If you listen to it 100 times, we'll get $US7.17. If you listen to the album 1000 times (once a day for three years!) we'll get a whopping $US71.73!

If you use the free version of Deezer, it won't cost you anything and Deezer will make money from the ads. If you use any of the paid versions, we have no idea how they carve up the money either.


eMusic is a subscription service. The cost of the album will depend on the plan you have. We get roughly $US0.29/song or $US2.60/album (nine songs).

Amazon MP3:

You'll pay $US9.81 to download the MP3s. We will get €6.86 of that. That's a 70-30 split.


The album will cost you $US8.66/album to buy from Apple.

There's a 70-30 per cent split there too, so we will keep €6.28/album.

That being said, it costs us $US48.28/year to keep an album on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon ($US144.84 per year for all three of our albums!) so we don't make any money until 24 people have bought a digital copy of the album on iTunes, or 150 single songs, or if we get tens of thousands of listens on Spotify! In most cases, it's actually more economically viable not to sell the music at all.

But what about if you buy the digital version directly from us?

Direct Digital:

We allow people to pay what they want for the digital version. If you choose to pay $US7, Paypal takes $US0.51, Bandcamp takes $US1.03. Uniform Motion keeps $US5.35. it doesn't cost us anything to have a page on bandcamp.

If you decide to pay nothing, well, we get nothing, but at least you didn't give money indirectly to major record labels, which seems to be the case with Spotify!


If you buy a CD, directly from us for $US14, Paypal takes $US0.71, Bandcamp takes $US2.07. So there's slightly less than $US11.04 left for us. But hold on a second, it costs a fair bit to make the CD.

The CD itself costs $US1.66, the booklet costs about 69 cents, the CD packaging is $US2.48 and the sticker on the front costs 48 cents.

That's a total of $US5.03.

So in reality, there's $US5.99 left for us.


If you buy a 12-inch vinyl from us at $US21, Bandcamp takes $US3.10, Paypal takes $US0.89 so there's $US16.69 left.The cost of the Vinyl itself is $US4.22.

The labels cost $US1.79. For a total of $US6.01.

So there's $US10.69 left for us.

However, we had to press 250 of these (because that's the minimum order), so it's very unlikely we'll make any money on them.

We need to sell 72 copies before we break even on the vinyl edition. We've sold about 30 so far.

If we break even, we'll lower the price a little bit. :)


A few people have asked about the vinyl numbers. Those numbers can be a bit confusing so here's some more information on that.

We ordered 250 copies because that's the minimum order for vinyl (the lowest quantity we could find at least). To keep costs down, we decided to go for a white sleeve with no artwork on it, and personalise the sleeves by putting custom stickers on them. There's a sticker on the front with the name of the album on it. And we decided to put one on the back for the first 50 orders with the fans' names on them.

250 copies cost us $1069.03.

Black vinyl, full colour biscuit (Side1, Side2) White discosleeve.

That's $US4.28/copy.

The front sticker cost $US0.83.

The one on the back cost $US0.97.

The numbers look strange because we didn't order 250 stickers. We'll order more if we sell enough copies of the record, but if we're only going to sell 50 or 100, why order more than we can sell? We didn't have a choice with the vinyl itself, but we did with the stickers. So we only ordered 75 front stickers and 50 personalised ones. But my numbers were based on 75 of each.

$US1069.03 + (.83 x 75) + (.97 x 75) = $US1204.03

$US1204.03/ 16.69 (net price for each copy) = $US72.14

So that's where the number 72 came from. It should probably really have been 73 copies to really break even! But hey, I'm a musician, not an accountant! :)

Uniform Motion is an illustrated indie-folk band combining music with visual arts created by Andy Richards and Renaud Forestie in 2008, and joined by Olivier Piotte (drums, percussions, keys) in 2011. During our live performances, Renaud live-sketches using a video projector, while Andy and Olivier build up a soundscape with guitars, drums, keyboards, and various other gadgets resulting in a hypnotising audio-visual experience. Uniform Motion just released their third album, One Frame Per Second.

This post has been republished with permission from Uniform Motion.

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    It's interesting how the essential part of the whole process (the band) are the ones that are making (or in most cases not making) the least amount of money.

    I LOVE music, but I HATE the industry!

    Shouldn't te per play rates for spotify and deezer both be 10 times higher ie 0.041 for spotify and 0.072 for deezer? Either that or the calculations for listening 10 or 1000 times are wrong.

    This band look like they're saving some cash with their film clips though.

    what about a direct deposit donation option, or at least a paypal donation button?

    It would be good if we could just give the money directly to artists we like and cut out the people in the middle..

    There are other key factors at play hear which are very poorly understood.

    A small percentage of something is more than a high percentage of nothing.

    Basically using a streaming service opens their market (money potential) to people who realistically would not have wanted to spend $9 on their album, or would have simply pirated instead.

    The key advantage of the streaming services is that it is more convenient then pirating, has a reasonable subscription price and has the ability to be linked with social media very easily.

    CD's are inconvenient and expensive, iTunes and other direct downloads are pretty convenient but still somewhat pricey to develop a large music collection, they also have the disadvantage of not fitting on the popular 16GB portable playback devices. Streaming is generally the most convenient way of consuming music, at a very reasonable price and offers the cheapest and most useful form of exposure for any band whilst at the same time still getting paid.

    Its these intangibles that are often forgotten with this whole subject

    Granted those figures are extremely low, but are calculated on a single user. Now that the digital world is opening up hugely, lets times that conseravtely by say 20 million users !!!!

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