What it takes to live off Music (2019)

When I first started pushing my music I was about 19 and my son was just born. I remember thinking, “All I need to make is $3000 a month”. Living in California has never been cheap but I knew if I made that we would be alright.

This is the same year Youtube hit the internet and Kanye West dropped “Gold Digger”. The first iPhone wasn’t even released yet. Most of the revenue streams today weren’t available. Its interesting to see how much has changed in the world of music. 

Its no secret that streaming services have changed the industry forever. Independent artists not only have the ability to release music at their own leisure but can now financially benefit. Also what’s interesting is the evolution of streaming service on the everyday listener. In 2019, more people are listening to music then ever before.

“According to Nielsen, the music industry experienced significant overall growth in 2018, with total album equivalent audio consumption up 23% over 2017, driven by a 49% increase in on-demand audio song streams compared to last year.” – Nielsen

Every year the consumption of music increases; but how does this affect artists? While physical album have been on the decline , streaming revenue hasn’t always worked out for artists. Fortunately we are learning in 2019 these streaming services are slowly increasing the payout for artists compared to previous years.

Not all streaming services are equal though!  While Youtube has a massive audience, its payout is the lowest among all services. Napster and Tidal are leading the way when it comes to artists payouts but they do have a smaller listener pool.

I wanted to break down what it takes to make $3000 in one month as an independent artists. The chart below is based on the amount of streams needed to make 50% of the revenue. If you were to work with a producer or any other collaborator they would make the other 50% of revenue. These numbers can vary.

In order to make $3k (50% of revenue ) or $6000 in a month with Apple music you need 816,326.53  streams and 1,405,152.22 with Spotify. Lets break down how many streams you need daily.

Apple Music Daily Streams needed to make $3000 in 30 days

1 song  =  27,210.88 daily

4 songs =  6802.72 daily

30 songs = 907.03  daily

Spotify Daily Streams needed to make $3000 in 30 days

1 song a month =  46,838.40daily

4 songs a month =  11,709.60 daily

30 songs a month =  1561.28 daily


Artists would need all 30 songs earning their daily revenue in order to make $3000 in one month. While it may seem like a lot, its feasible. The Key is releasing music constantly and growing your listeners over time. It might take 6 months or 3 years but its based on the artists.


“Anything you want in life, you just need to set your attention. ” – JAY Z

Russ is a great example of this method. It took him 2 years to build the catalog that would eventually provide him the leverage to secure a lucrative deal. He was one of the only newer artists who made the Forbes list in 2018. Hate him or Love him, he set a path that any artists can follow.

It takes work to have a grass-root fanbase and labels understand the value. Whether you want to sign to a label one day or remain independent, you need leverage. Owning an extensive catalog is a digital asset and there’s nothing better then building a fanbase from the ground up.

A common issue among artists is the ability to create and release songs constantly. It can get expensive when most instrumentals on the market cost around $50 -$200 per beat. Unfortunately, some artists never earn a penny from these records.

This is one of the reason why I decided to start the Elite membership. I wanted to provide a affordable place for artists to download beats and a discord to share the music. I’m also working on a platform to promote music for artists but we will talk more about this in the discord.

I want more artists to create and live off of their music. It is possible because I am a living example. If you have any questions, hit the messenger icon in the right corner or join the discord to chat with me personally.