75% of artists don’t turn a profit promoting their music, study finds

51 per cent of those surveyed said they had taken a social media break at some point in their career due to the heavy reliance on using social platforms to promote their music

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A new study has found that 75 per cent of artists spend more money than what they earn back on promoting their music.

The study, carried out by Pirate.com, surveyed over 1,000 live musicians, producers, rappers and MCs of their UK and US recording studios about the costs for artists as Spotify becomes the latest platform to reward promotional videos.

91 per cent of artists who took part in the survey promote their music independently, (without a label or manager), and the results found that 75 per cent of musicians who spend money on promoting their releases, spend more than they make from streams, sales, syncs and other music revenue streams combined.

Still, when asked whether they would create visuals to support their next release (which would more than likely involve more costs), 56 per cent of artists said they would, 76 per cent of which planned to make a traditional music video.

Another shocking find revealed that 54 per cent of music creators use their main social media accounts for self-promotion above socialising, which has led to 51 per cent of artists taking a social media detox at some point in their career.

“As an artist doing your own promo, it’s both harder and easier in the social media age,” says Dan Davis, Head of Community at Pirate. “Platforms reward a constant stream of content which takes a lot of work, the payoff is that you can build your own audience rather than just trying to break through gatekeepers.”

The study also concluded that Instagram was the most favoured app to use for self-promotion, with YouTube coming in second, and Facebook in third. Surprisingly, TikTok came in 4th place, with 42 per cent of those surveyed preferring it to promote their songs.

The study also focused on Spotify’s new video feature, and with it being so new, most artists (36 per cent) were unsure about whether they would add a 30-second clip for their next release. 32 per cent of artists said they would use the feature, only 16 per cent said they wouldn’t (13% didn’t use Spotify to put out their tracks).


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