What about a band? Let’s just quickly go over the same calculations for a standard four-piece rock group (vocals, guitar, bass, drums):
Amazon and iTunes, single-track downloads: 7,250 a month; 87,000 a year.
CD Baby full-album downloads: 619 a month; 7,433 a year.
eMusic single-track downloads: 13,567 a month; 162,807 a year.
Rhapsody streams: 509,890 a month; 6,118,681 a year.
Last.fm plays: 30,933,333 a month; 371,200,000 a year.
Aside: Even if you got the entire Chinese web-connected population to listen to your song on Last.fm just once, you still probably wouldn’t meet your annual quota.
[And that’s for minimum wage and assumes no cost in the production of the music. It is to weep. Keep asking me why I no longer try and make a living in music… simple really. I found that I had to do other things to make a living, which was defeating the point. I also never thought the “Internet” was going to improve this situation in terms of sales or royalties directly. I saw it as an opportunity to market to larger audience more easily. And that it is. But that does not convert directly into sales where aggregation and a direct relationship with your audience is important. iTunes sitting between you and your audience doesn’t allow for this… or any other service of that sort. That’s why I think making credit card transactions simple is so key right now.]