Record Labels and Publishers to become a thing of the past?

Record companies and Book publishers could soon be a thing of the past.

We’ve heard established bands and established artists moan that they don’t make any money from online streaming services, and when Radiohead front man railed against music streaming service Spotify, claiming that a few million plays got him only a couple of thousand pounds income he was undeniably correct. However his mistake argument with Spotify should be with his own record label not Spotify itself.

Based on information is beautiful’s work with google’s data warehouse the average Spotify stream makes an artist $0.00189. That’s it, totally squat for one play. Even millions of plays aren’t going to make you any money out of that. So was Thom Yorke right to moan at streaming services? Well of that $0.00189 that the stream makes, a whopping $0.0016 goes the the record company leaving poor Thom with only $0.00029 per stream. This leaves poor Thom with only 15% of the value of his steam, while his record company cream off the remainder. The independently wealthy Poor Thom could have made 6 times more if he’s bothered to upload some tracks to Spotify himself.

It’s a similar story with iTunes for every album download, or individual track download, Apple, Amazon take a 38% cut of each track for hosting and flogging it on behalf the artist and taxes to boot. With 62% getting split between the artist and the record label. The retailers cut may seem a little high here but compared to a physical CD 80% of the money was gone on pressing, sales, distribution and retailer profit long before anymore was left for artist an label.

The 62% here is the interesting figure, 62p in the pound split between artist and record label. Well not exactly split. The record company actually takes 53% of the total revenue leaving the artist with just 9%.  So rather than rail at Spotify and the digital music market, Thom Yorke should probably have started by yelling at his agent for getting him such a rubbish deal!


Book Publishers are likely to go the same way, with the advent of the digital reading device, Kindles, iPads anybody can publish a book to the Kindle store or the Apple Store.  Its not even difficult.  Naturally there are costs involved if you want to have your baby put onto Paper and you will need a publisher for that but I ask you, whats the point?  Unless your book is one of the 200 that make it on the limited selection on your local supermarket shelves, or your printing a smaller volume to niche markets, why bother.  In the top selling books as I write this on Amazon, none are priced about £4 and the best seller is only £0.49.  There are thousands and thousands of books at 99p or less.  So unless your the latest attention seeking celebrity seeking to drag up the rotten past of 2 dozen easy lays, or a 24 year old sports star who apparently has enough life experience to fill 40,000 words then there’s no point in actually committing your words to paper.

If you’re a band with a decent size following, that hasn’t got a break yet, or a would be author that hasn’t had the recognition from publishers then Why aren’t you on amazon or iTunes?  Why do you need a record label or a publisher.  You don’t need one to actually get your material out there anymore, not unless you want a physical copy of it.  Get your stuff on there and self promote, get as much word of mouth out there around your stuff as you can!  You can do a surprising amount of this work yourself with minimal effort in the 21st century.  Get plays on independent web radio, submit your stuff to Spotify, look at other avenues like BBC introducing, badger your local stations a local band looking for local plays, be ambitious!

If you’re stuff is good, you shout about it loud enough and most importantly you persist, soon enough the record companies and publishers will be coming to you to print your stuff, and you can be damn sure they’ll be offering a better deal than they gave Thom Yorke.

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