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

Discussion in 'Working in the Industry' started by StevenMcDonald, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. StevenMcDonald

    StevenMcDonald stevenmcdonaldmusic.com

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    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 :)
     
  2. R. Soul

    R. Soul Senior Member

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    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:
     
    StevenMcDonald likes this.
  3. OP
    OP
    StevenMcDonald

    StevenMcDonald stevenmcdonaldmusic.com

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    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.
     
  4. jonathanparham

    jonathanparham Active Member

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    Thanks for sharing. Still learning. But good to see your production music get you to full time writing status
     
  5. chillbot

    chillbot Sock Muppet

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    Mine income is

    12% upfront fees
    90% royalties
    -2% gambling winnings
     
  6. OP
    OP
    StevenMcDonald

    StevenMcDonald stevenmcdonaldmusic.com

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    Gonna need to see a pie for that please.
     
  7. Kyle Preston

    Kyle Preston I accidentally do things on purpose

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

    StevenMcDonald stevenmcdonaldmusic.com

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    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.
     
  9. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires To the stars through desire....

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  10. gtrwll

    gtrwll Member

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    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!) :)
     
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  11. EBicks

    EBicks New Member

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    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
     
  12. Nick Batzdorf

    Nick Batzdorf Moderator

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    Los Angeles
  13. OP
    OP
    StevenMcDonald

    StevenMcDonald stevenmcdonaldmusic.com

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    Jul 27, 2012
    Three long and very impatient years as a side hustle for me.
     

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