The average number seems unbelievably low – until you look at the calculations below. And, the TuneCore figure is remarkably similar to a recent per-year payout calculation for CD Baby artists, which was $174 (as calculated in August of last year).
And, keep in mind this is gross revenue before costs – to TuneCore, for computer and recording equipment, to iTunes, etc. The data is based on published figures from TuneCore (though the company declined to respond to multiple inquiries related to this story.)
(1) Gross Revenues from December, 2008 through March, 2011 (28 months): $250 million
*source: TuneCore, in press release issued April 14th, 2011. Gross music sales were $150 million, associated publishing and songwriter revenues were an additional $100 million.
(2) Number of Accounts: 600,000
*source: TuneCore, in press release issued April 21st, 2011.
$250 million / 2.33 years = $107.14 million overall gross earnings, per year, all accounts.
$107.14 million / 600,000 = $178.57 per artist, per year.