The Current State of the Music Industry and the Future

Music has been around for as long as people have been around. Trends in music and tastes change from generation to generation but the way the music industry works has remained, for the most part, the same. Recently, there has been a shift in the connection between the artists and the record labels with the advent of new technology. In this article I will be exploring the financial connection between artists and record labels.

If you have any questions or industry suggestions please email me These articles are not investment advice for that reason I will hardly mention company names at all.

The Record Label

In many cases artists sign with record labels to help grow their careers better than the artist can on their own. How a record deal works is an artist signs the rights of their music in exchange for royalty payments. The record label helps the artist by producing, distributing, and promoting their music.


Record labels make money when a song is streamed on a streaming service. This money is split between the distributors and the artist.


When another artist covers a song for profit the owner of the song is entitled to a percentage of the profits. A cover is when an artist performs another artist’s song.

If a movie or TV show wants to use a song that a record label owns the production studio needs to pay for the use.


When an artist does a concert or their song is.played on the radio the label gets a royalty for the performance. The label works with venues to setup performance or they work with radio stations to get songs on the radio.


When a label signs an artist they create merchandise for fans to buy and sell at performances, online, or at retailers. For that reason every time a piece of merchandise is sold the label gets a royalty.


In some countries small record labels get government grants. The grant money is used to give advances to artists.

The Artists

While under contract with a record label an artist gets a royalty on everything the record label gets a royalty on, but it is smaller than the label’s royalty. The artist’s royalty is smaller because the costs of producing, distributing, and promoting the music are a loan from the label to the artist. In many cases an artist doesn’t see a dime until the label is fully paid back.

The artist usually signs the deal under an assumed name such as a band name. This gives the members the freedom to make money with their legal name.

Personal Appearances

Once the artist grows an audience through the record label they may start making paid appearances at events under their real name. The payments can range from $5,000 to $2,000,000 per appearance. If they were to perform at the event the label would get a royalty.

Solo Career

If the artists signs with a record under an assumed name the artist can make music under their legal name without having to pay the label a royalty.

Per Song

When a label pays an artist for the actual music the payments are broken up into two payments, for writing and the creation of the song. For writing a song the writer gets 9.1 cents per sale made. For the creation the artist gets 3.3% per sale.

Streaming Services

Currently, the range for payments per play is from $0.0038 cents to a high of $0.0273 cents. The streaming services make the record labels an unnecessary middleman. The services don’t care who gives them the music as long as the music keeps coming in and their customers like the music. An artist can work out a deal with the streaming companies themselves.

There is as growing trend of artists creating their own app and charging users monthly to listen to their music on the app. The challenges of this trend as an industry are getting users to pay monthly for different musicians/bands especially when streaming services have all the user’s options. It will be difficult for 20 different bands to get the same person to pay monthly to listen to music on their individual app. Another challenge is the development costs. A brand new artist may not have the money to pay the development costs to create an app.


Performances are where artists make most of their money. This is because fans are willing to spend more of their money on seeing a live performance. Artists can make anywhere from $100,000 to $1,000,000 per performance. The number depends on how popular they are as an artist. An artist keep 50% of the profits.

The Future of the Music Industry

The music industry will be less dependent on the record labels. Artists will be able to produce and distribute their music on a platform and fans will pay the artist directly. This platform should be one where the artists get charged a hosting fee every month but the artists sets the price for the fans. In that scenario, the artist chooses how much they are being paid. This gives artists more creative freedom.

The creative freedom will lead to the artists making more money because they will be paying less fees to make and distribute their music. This may lead to fans getting more for their money.



Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy this post.

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Starting a Slack Channel to discuss finance.




A Look into the Past, Present, and Future of the Podcast Market

Hello and welcome, I am trying something new and writing about how some industries make money and financial case studies. This first post is about the podcasting industry.

The word podcast is a mix from the words iPod and broadcast for that reason we will be taking a look at Apple and then podcasters themselves.

Before we do if you have any questions or industry suggestions please tweet me @supremerumham These articles are not investment advice for that reason I will hardly mention company names at all.


In the United States ad revenue from podcast were $314 million last year and will continue to increase each year ahead. This money was split among several different types of ads which are Direct response ads, brand awareness ads, branded content, and product placement. Direct response as being the largest with 63% of the market last year. Some podcasters also getting donations from their listeners as well.

Apple and other companies

Being that Apple came up with the word “podcast” it is not surprising they are a big presence in the market. The Apple podcast app accounts for 50% of all podcasts played in 2017. While this number is becoming smaller each year, it is still very significant. The podcast app and the podcasts are free on the app are free. The way Apple makes money from podcasts is by people using iTunes and collecting data or people buying Apple products to listen to the podcasts on the standalone app. This is different from other podcast host that charge a monthly fee, interrupt the podcast with ads, or place ads on the app or website.

As a podcast market continues to grow we will see a lot of change in the industry from how podcasters make money or consumers listen to them. Only time will tell.

Thanks for reading I hope you enjoy this post.


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Companies that chose not to do an ICO and why they’re important

For those of you who don’t know I built

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice.

With the growth of the cryptocurrency industry that started in 2017 governments are now looking to regulate the industry. ICOs are a big reason governments want to regulate the industry. Regulation could slow the growth of your favorite cryptocurrency project.

For that reason, you should start using products that didn’t have an ICO. These are only a few, along with a short explanation of the project.


P2P transactions


 P2P transactions


Blockchain DNS.

Cryptocurrency AI Hedgefund. Basically, people create investing algorithms for the fund, which ever algorithm does best that person get free NMR.
 A lending platform.
There are plenty of other project that had no ICO. Look for them. If you know of anymore send them to me I’ll add it to the list.

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Tech Stack for

For those who don’t know I built a website called Where visitors can setup getting bitcoin push notifications. I wanted to take the time to write about what I used to build the site.


First, I used Push.js for the push notifications, very simple to use, I would recommend it to anyone that needs to use push notifications for their site.


Next, I used jQuery for 2 things. To display the price of bitcoin on the site. Then, I used jQuery to make the light mode check box at the top of the site.


I used basic CSS to style the page.


For the future, I plan to move all the jQuery to Vanilla JS.

Lastly, I will be using Vue.js for the front-end.


This was my first Javascript project and if you have any questions about it you are free to email me

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E-commerce Store: The Good, the Bad, and the Things that Make Me Glad This is Passive Income

After more than a year of running my e-commerce store I thought it would be good to write and share my experience with this side project.

The Good

No promoting

I don’t have to do any promotion to sell products. The platform does the promotion within the site and even buys Google ads for certain keywords.

Didn’t Pay For it!!

Very little work

The only work I do for the store is the design work and coming up with the search tags for visibility. Everything else is handled for me. There are designs I put up in January of 2017 that have sold but I haven’t done anything to make more sales since I put them up.

Will be selling for years to come

My designs are based on TV shows. My most popular design is a reference that is at least 10 years old. The design still averages 1 sale a day. My designs will sell for years to come and will be selling long after I’ve forgotten about this side project.


Spent no money

The start up cost for me to setup the store was nothing. The store has been profitable since the first sticker I sold.

The Bad

Can’t control the product pricing

The money I make on my designs is based on a percentage of the manufacturing cost. Then, the platform adds their profit that they want to add onto the price of the product. This means I could price something at $20 and the customer has to pay $25 for it.


When a potential customer uses a search tag for one of my designs the search shows a bunch of other people’s designs along with mine. This reduces the chance of them buying one of my designs.

Scalability issues

If I ever wanted to scale up my store to make more money I would need to handle everything that the platform currently handles. While I would be making money I would have to spend more money and the money I would be making wouldn’t be passive income.

UX issues

The platform has a ton of user experience issues. For example, to check what design has sold or how much I made on a sales, I have to go through four steps. Uploading a design and editing it for customer viewing is a similar amount of steps. Not a big problem but simple things that don’t have to be an issue at all.

Product Control

On this platform I don’t have full control of the product. I am limited to what is offered by the platform. One design would have made a great shirt if the shirt could be the same color as the background of the design. But the color was not offered as a shirt. The design was only able to be offered as a sticker.

The Things that Make me Glad this is Passive Income

The designs can easily be taken down

All my designs are based on TV shows, these shows have production companies that own the rights to the shows. Sometimes one of my designs violates copyright. If it does the platform takes it down. This is frustrating because I spent time making the design and posting it on the platform.

Having a boss

I post my designs on a marketplace and in order to make this venture worthwhile I have to follow their rules. This could be something such as designing something to fit their products instead of how I like to design it.

The platform can bury my work

As previously stated in my last article, I started using the platform as a way to check if my designs violated copyright. This creates more work for them and they don’t like that. If the platform decides that I’m creating too much extra work for them they can shadow-ban my account and I would stop making money without the chance to do anything about it.


Keep in mind every platform is different and this is my experience with one of them. You may have a very different experience if you use another platform.

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How I Increased Sales by More Than 400%

For those reading who do not know I run an e-commerce store. This is a solid source of passive income and from August to September I increased my sales by more than 400%.


I noticed that for my best selling designs the only product that was available for purchase were different types of t-shirts. This made me think that if the designs were available to purchase as a sticker people would be more willing to purchase my designs.



I walked through the customer experience of searching for a product to buy. I saw that the company displays my designs as a product not as the design itself. In this case, the customers only see the design as a t-shirt. I made the assumption that every customer is a new customer and has no experience using the platform.

By creating an entry for stickers the customer knows a more cost efficient product is available for purchase without having to do anything. Creating one less step for the customer to make a purchase.



Looking at my sales data led me to realize that my most profitable designs sold no stickers. My ability to create less steps for a customer to make a purchase led to more sales and increased profits. Looking at any kind of data can be useful in increasing your sales.

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How I Stumbled Into My Latest Side Project

// This piece was originally published on

When I was 18 years old I read an article about an Instagram influencer that made $100,000 a year with 500,000 followers. Being that I wanted to start my own business I thought “that seems easy, I can do it too.” Little did I know that getting 500,000 followers was easy if you knew what you were doing, but I did not.

After a little over a year and 4000 followers. I decided to create some designs to put on shirts to sell to my followers. I spent an entire weekend on making designs, setting up the store on Gumroad, putting links in the right places, and putting the designs on another website to see if any of my designs violated copyright. For fun I put up some designs that were unrelated to my account but I thought were funny.

On Monday, I was ready to promote the store to my audience. It was horrible. Between Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook I got 5 link clicks and 0 sales. About a week later someone purchased a shirt, which was my only sale.

After a few weeks and a few more promotions. I get an email saying I got a sale on the site I put my designs to check for any copyright violations. The design that was sold was one of designs I put up for fun. I sold another item of the same design a couple of days later. I remember thinking “wow, imagine if I put a little effort into making more designs.” I created a few more designs and some of them sold. These designs sold without having to promote or answer customer questions, completely passive. Compared to Instagram where I had to think of a picture, take the picture, make sure the picture was nice, figure out which hashtags to use, and post at the right time. After comparing both options I decided to abandon Instagram.

While running the store has its own set of problems. The store was profitable from the very first month.  The idea to start an e-commerce store is 100% unoriginal. I have to price my products based on other artist’s prices. I started the store after watching Always Sunny and thinking “What would ‘Rum Ham’ look like as the Supreme box logo?” Pretty simple.

I had another idea for an Instagram hashtag tracker, but that did not work out. But I got the idea from my work on Instagram, I asked “How I find out where my likes are coming from?” When I could not find the answer I decided to try and build it myself. This is another market that has many people with very seasoned products . To people still looking for their ideas ask questions and then build the answers.

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