Research Outline

Revenue Streams of Independent Music Artists


To identify further insights on the identified revenue streams by giving a short description of how a pop music singer can make money from it and average earnings from it.

Early Findings

  • Independent artists earned an average of $12,860 a year from music and about three-quarters of independent artists earned less than $10,000 a year from music.

Performer Session Musician Revenue

  • According to a report, "sales of live music performances increased by 4% between 2016-2017" and was forecasted to grow another 4.9% between 2018-2019.
  • Music fans are still demanding live performances as estimates have shown a continuous increase in revenue generated from concert attendance.
  • In 2017, the average ticket price for worldwide tours was $84.63. However, "rates are subject to change based on projected attendance as well as the location of the show."
  • Shows/Performance Fees: Revenue generated from playing in a live setting and are paid by the concert promoter, presenter or venue. In 2018, average ticket prices at live events were at $96.31 and are the most lucrative space for musicians. Research suggests that fans are willing to splurge on live shows.

Brand-Related Revenue

  • Artist merchandise helps new artists build brand awareness and customer loyalty.
  • In 2018, artists signed to independent record labels who released merchandise for the first time priced t-shirts and sweatshirts around $25 and $40, respectively.
  • Merchandise Sales Revenue: This revenue is generated from selling branded merchandise (t-shirts, posters, etc.) to fans. Merchandise sales matter because an artist who can move large volumes of merchandise can attract industry executives because in 2019 merchandise sales were where the most money was being made.
  • Ad Revenue: A website's properties, such as click-throughs, commissions on Amazon sales, etc., can also generate miscellaneous income.
  • YouTube Partner Program: YouTube pays its partners a share in advertising revenue. In the US, YouTube’s payout rate was estimated at $3 per 1000 streams.


  • For this hour, we tried identifying as much of the requested information as possible. We were able to find some insights on Performer Session Musician Revenue and Brand-Related Revenue, specifically on merchandising, ad revenue, YouTube Partner Programs, and Show/Performance fees. We did not include fan funding, corporate sponsorship, or grants, as The Sultan website did not appear to have related information on this. However, if these topics are also of interest please add a comment below.
  • This research focused on merchandising, ad revenue, YouTube Partner Programs, and Show/Performance fees as these were aspects that were found in The Sultan website. However, insights specific to average earnings from these revenue streams did not appear immediately available.
  • In the course of our research, we also came across insights on independent music merchandising and insights on the global music industry in terms of independent labels, which might also be of interest.
  • Feel free to add or select an option below.