How much does a musician make on an iTunes download?

From the figures and graphs at tech dirt I calculate that for a musician to make the same as what you pay for an iTunes store music download, it takes about 55 downloads of the song. In other words, if the song downloads for $1.29 then 55 people have to download it for the musician(s) to make $1.29. That is the total amount to the musicians, so they have to split it among themselves.  If it’s 5-member band it will get split 5 ways according to whatever they’ve agreed upon.  This is on average, probably the superstars make more, perhaps a lot more, but the majority probably make less. With one million downloads at $1.29 each the musicians should have about $23,454 to split.

Clearly, one million downloads of a song is not nearly the equivalent of selling one million CDs. The consumer gets a vast benefit in not having to purchase an entire CD for $15 when in all likelihood there will be only one or two songs on it they care about owning.  Musicians were in fat city when one hit song could sell an entire CD. Times change.

I guess that’s why the music industry to so hot to foil those who have found ways to download music for free, essentially stealing it.  I have no idea how anybody steals music, nor do I want to know.  It’s a pretty good deal to buy just the song you want for $1.29, or in many cases just 99 cents.  Of course, a lot of the music that is available these days isn’t worth even those prices. Much of it wouldn’t be worth stealing, in my view. In fact, I’ve always thought that the way to stop people from stealing music would be make music they think is worth paying for.

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