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Some year-end statistics! Feel free to share yours!

StevenMcDonald

stevenmcdonaldmusic.com
First off - please don't take this as a brag thread, and if you decide to share yours, please don't use this as a brag thread. I'm not going to share specific numbers, just a percentage breakdown here. When I was first starting out as a composer, I always loved seeing things like this. Statistics are pretty fascinating, and I hope someone else finds this interesting.

A little exposition first - I primarily write production music for various libraries. I mostly write for TV underscore, but I also occasionally land placements in advertising. 2018 was my first year doing this full time as my only income source.



Broadcast Royalties - 82.7%
This doesn't surprise me, because I write huge volumes of tracks for US Reality TV shows. This is my bread-and-butter income, and it provides some stability.

Sync Fees - 12.1%
Some income from some very minor trailer/advertising syncs. I've got some cool trailer music in the release pipeline, so I'm hoping this is more like 50% next year :)

Library Up-Front Fees - 2.6%
Most of the library work I do has no up-front payment, but I do work with a couple libraries that pay a small amount per track.

Misc Freelance - 2%
Occasionally I'll have someone with a super low-budget film or game find me from my website or youtube channel. This is only one small gig I did this year, plus a little chunk from a writing gig I do fairly regularly (still music/composer related)

Royalty Free Sales - 0.5%
I have a handful of old or misfit/reject tracks on pond5.com that sell occasionally. It's not much, but it's nice to have date night paid for every once in a while :)



I hope this provides some insight into what a composer's income might look like. I also hope some of you others in the industry will share something similar! I'd like for this to be a chill thread to share this kind of info and learn from each other... or just geek out over statistics :)
 

R. Soul

Senior Member
Interesting read Steven.

I haven't done any calculations but off the top of my head I'd say upfront 50%, sync 20% and Broadcast royalties 30%.

If my broadcast royalties were 82% I wouldn't have beans on toast every other day :grin:
 
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StevenMcDonald

StevenMcDonald

stevenmcdonaldmusic.com
Interesting read Steven.

I haven't done any calculations but off the top of my head I'd say upfront 50%, sync 20% and Broadcast royalties 30%.

If my broadcast royalties were 82% I wouldn't have beans on toast every other day :grin:
Hey you never know! That could be 82% of $700 for the whole year.

I'd personally love to get my up front payments to make up 50% or more (as long as the royalties don't fall down). I get bad career anxiety waiting for quarterly checks that make up the vast majority of my income.
 

Kyle Preston

I accidentally do things on purpose
What a great idea of a thread, thanks for sharing your stats Steven! Here's my 2018 chart. The industry considers me more of a "recording artist" than a "media composer" and RF does well for me mostly because I value non-exclusive libraries over exclusive ones.

Screen Shot 2018-12-27 at 11.29.43 AM.jpg

I get bad career anxiety waiting for quarterly checks that make up the vast majority of my income.

I know the feeling man. One of my bread and butter libraries pays only once a year. The waiting is.....utterly terrifying.
 
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StevenMcDonald

StevenMcDonald

stevenmcdonaldmusic.com
What a great idea of a thread, thanks for sharing your stats Steven! Here's my 2018 chart. The industry considers me more of a "recording artist" than a "media composer" and RF does well for me mostly because I value non-exclusive libraries over exclusive ones.





I know the feeling man. One of my bread and butter libraries pays only once a year. The waiting is.....utterly terrifying.
Thanks for sharing! The RF market has always fascinated me, but I always do so much better writing tracks for specific shows/requests from exclusive libs with references and such. I would struggle to keep up a good output with the total freedom of RF.
 

gtrwll

Member
Interesting thread! Here's mine:

meta-chart.jpeg

If it wasn't for the nice surprise from Teosto couple weeks ago, this would probably have been something like 95% RF sales. So it's nice to finally start seeing some backend income from placements :)

I mainly write for non-exclusive RF sites, but also for exclusive libs that pitch for reality TV etc. Money from music is very much a side income for me, but it grew quite a bit from 2017 to 2018. I don't really expect it to grow next year, since I haven't got time to write new music for a while now. Anyway, thanks for sharing and starting the thread, statistics are always fascinating (statistics geek reporting for duty!) :)
 

EBicks

New Member
Cool thread! For those of you that do this full time, how many years did you spend building this up as a side hustle until you were ready to take the plunge and go full time? Would be interesting to hear
 
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StevenMcDonald

StevenMcDonald

stevenmcdonaldmusic.com
Cool thread! For those of you that do this full time, how many years did you spend building this up as a side hustle until you were ready to take the plunge and go full time? Would be interesting to hear
Three long and very impatient years as a side hustle for me.
 
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