To find all cost centers and average costs for an independent artist to be successful.
According to one source, costs break down into twelve categories: recording fees, graphic artist/cover artist fees, CD/vinyl manufacturing costs, publicity/promotional materials costs, office expenses, taxes, bank equipment costs, songwriting, business team costs, transportation costs, touring expenses, merchandising and miscellaneous.
Some things are investments, such as CD manufacturing costs or merchandising costs. Other elements are paying other professionals, such as graphic/cover artist fees, road manager salary, bookkeeper/accountant salary, publicist fees, booking agent fees or studio producer fees.
Another article lists almost 80 different costs that could be incurred in the business.
While specific to touring, the Royalty Exchange gives some ballpark estimates for expense levels. Assuming a smaller, independent artist operates at the "basic" level, this means they might see $0-5,000 in production costs, $3,100-6,200 in accommodation expenses, $3,500-5,000 in transportation expenses, $1,860-3,000 in insurance expenses, $7,500-20,000 in crew salaries/per diems, $500-3,500 in merchandise costs, $250-2,500 in promotion/marketing and $500-5,000 in third-party and commission payments. This means a month-long tour would cost $17,210-50,200 for a "basic" (e.g., "budget) level of touring.
A "practical" budget for recording one basic-level studio album is $10,000 and 2 weeks. This does not include "soft" costs like producer fees, wasted time tinkering around and any "luxury" living expenses.
Only the project owner can select the next research path.