There are plenty of articles around that will let you know how much top South African musicians such as Steve Hofmeyr and Rebecca Malope earn, on average, per month or per year. But sometimes there is a need for more relatable, approachable information such as what’s the going rate per live event or what is earned per million plays on Spotify, Apple Music or the like.
According to a report in 2019, top bands and artists were being paid anywhere between R10,000 and R250,000 for each gig. That asking price probably hasn’t increased much, if at all, since due to some of the countrywide and global travel restrictions in place.
“You have to make sure you receive income from all the possible income streams available to you.” festival sales and marketing manager Ashley Brown told Business Insider South Africa. “The big money, however, comes when brands are signing you due to your influence in your large following of fans which could influence their consumption and purchasing habits.”
Of course, not all bands and solo artists are top of the so-called pops and among the richest musicians. Some of them, who are still finding their feet in the industry, have to make do with significantly smaller commercial sums. But, if they are worth it and more than willing to put in the hard graft, they eventually start earning what they are genuinely worth.
“Even if it’s your hobby, work it like it’s your job. If you’re going to create a song, for example, finish the project, put it out yourself or send it to labels, and start working immediately.” added Cape Town-based DJ Das Kapital.
“Don’t think everything you create has to be good. The act of creating is often as important as the end product, if not more so.”
It’s helpful then, that individual and collective musicians can make money from digital platforms during an era which live performances are relatively rare.
South African DJs, singers and other recording artists / musicians get approximately R50,000 per million plays on sites and apps such as Spotify
That’s according to Das Kapital and research. The earnings per million plays on Apple Music can be almost double that. Think about that the next time you are comparing Android versus iOS. While those amounts are not necessarily cash-cow calibre to some, they often come with hidden expenses and – therefore – the profit can be trimmed.
“This might seem doable, but you have to take marketing, mastering, and promotional expenses into account when you’re releasing through a label.” concludes Das Kapital.
And then there is the world of frequency and online radio. The Kiffness personality David Scott is well versed in this, with several of his quirky hits featured on KFM, 5FM and other local stations over the years.
“Having your music on radio can earn you a great passive income. Every time your song plays on radio, you are owed a publishing royalty. SAMRO collects those royalties from radio stations and pays them to the people who wrote the song. One spin of your song on a prominent station can fetch anywhere from R60 to R200.” Scott wrote on his website.
Watch this space for updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.