Thanks to the internet and streaming platforms like Spotify, it’s now both easier and way harder to get your music in front of millions of people. Thanks to that ease of (potential) exposure, coupled with some love on TikTok, even the newest artist can suddenly find themselves racking in the listens. But at what point does that translate to even just the average wage at the state or federal level?
According to a recent study by Pirate, it turns out that if you want to make the state average wage with the fewest streams per week, you’re gonna have to move to the Magnolia State, aka Mississippi. At only 291,563 weekly streams required, you can make what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says is the state’s average weekly wage of $933. At that rate, that means you’d need to generate nearly 15.2 million streams in a year to meet Mississippi’s average annual salary of $48,516.
On the other side of the spectrum, researchers found that if you live in Washington state, you’re going to have to generate 517,813 streams a week to meet the state’s average weekly wage of $1,657. If you wanted to make the state’s average wage at $86,164, then you’ll have to generate an eye-popping 26.9 million streams in a year.
A spokesperson at Pirate said the study was a good look into how an artist would have to scale their popularity in order to just make the average wage. We’re not talking about opulent living arrangements and expensive lifestyles, either.
“Obviously artists will rely on multiple streams of income rather than earning from just one platform, but this still shows the heights that performers have to reach to have the chance of earning a living solely from music.”
Oh and if you wanted to see how much you’d need to meet the national average weekly wage? That amount if $1,334 per week, so you’d need to generate 416,875 streams per week.
Each of those previous amounts also assume that the industry estimate that a single stream generates about $0.0032 is accurate, by the way. Any discrepancies would throw those figures out of whack, obviously.
No matter how you slice it, it all requires a lot of luck and exposure — especially when you consider the fact that a 2022 study found that nearly 80% of all artists on Spotify get fewer than 50 listens a month. So… maybe don’t quit your day job.
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