Rumors and statistics, be they accurate or not, fly around the internet stating how producers and DJs just make absolutely ridiculous bank, enough to where Forbes released a “World’s Highest Paid DJs” back in 2013. But that list referenced only a fraction of the world’s Producer/Djs as a whole, so what about the acts that aren’t household names as of yet? The guys who do not headline, but might be a supporting act that you randomly discover, and who likewise change your taste of music all within a single night?
Nick Thayer was like that for myself. I discovered Thayer about a year ago, and his bass-driven releases off of the OWSLA label made me imagine that he must be racking in the big bucks as well. But in a recent post to his Tumblr account, Thayer came out and disillusioned not only myself, but the world on the monetary reality of being an electronic music producer.
With his most recent EP ‘Like Boom‘ that was released back in March of 2012, Nick Thayer used this as a model to breakdown the financial side of its release. He first stated a list of all the sales from that single EP alone, via Beatport, iTunes, and others. Something to keep in mind for these numbers is that this EP was a mainstay in the Beatport charts, sitting comfortably at the #2 position for almost thirteen weeks.
He then breaks the sales down across these mediums, which add up to roughly 12,722 total sales of songs from that EP alone. That may seem like a lot, especially averaging out that a single song purchase may be up to two dollars each. Yet Thayer goes on to explain the rough distribution of these profits, between sharing the profit with vocalists, clearing samples, and dishing out profits to remixers. He noted that all these profits, after sharing where the sharing was due, added up to $3,673.50.
Still seems like a chunk of cash, does it not? But when looking at all the parts that come along with marketing and sharing the EP, primarily touring, it takes cuts away from that chunk rather quickly. After food expenses, hotel expenses, and paying for plane tickets; Thayer’s final profit, he admits, comes out to about $800 a week.
So what this means is that these artists are rarely as rich as you would imagine, and while he admits that this piece is not a sob story, he pushes and challenges us as consumers to go out and actually buy the EP, album, or track you listen to. Help promote the works that you love so much, be it on FaceBook, SoundCloud, Twitter, or whatever.
In a final note, Thayer closes out his article saying:
“I want to say now THANK YOU for every single person who has supported me in any of these ways. Who has bought my music, shown their friends, stuck stickers on things, come to a show, or whatever. THANK YOU”
Head over to his Tumblr account to see this post, plus a follow up post he recently added explaining and clarifying some of the finer points of his article.