The 29 Streams


14 comments posted

Setting up a non-profit and

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 14, 2009 - 3:02pm.

Setting up a non-profit and raising charitable donations.

Aren?t #s 4 & 5 just

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 14, 2009 - 3:09pm.

Aren’t #s 4 & 5 just advanced or delayed forms of other revenue streams? (Not really separate opportunities.)

Thank you for this post,

Submitted by Kimberly Cain (not verified) on October 14, 2009 - 4:52pm.

Thank you for this post, Kristin. Any way we, as artists, can better understand revenue streams is helpful! It is certainly challenging. I have a campaign on Kickstarter right now. I’ve been a songwriter & performing artist for years & have written my first novel, which will come with a CD that is a compilation of songs from other artists, as well as myself (adds to the “feel” of the book for readers). I decided to see what I could learn from using Kickstarter - it has been a challenging undertaking. I think it will eventually be a great way for artists to fund their projects, but the initial challenge is in understanding how to get the word out & get people to understand what it is (it’s still so new) & then to take action to “back” the project.

It seems, more & more, that we have to connect ourselves & our music (or other artform) to other things in order to make it visible. When big labels launch projects, a lot of money goes into them. Indie artists have to find ways to funnel revenue their way just to let others know it’s even available. It means we sometimes have to tie our music to things outside the traditional music loop, so to speak.

I hope this isn’t too off-topic. I just wanted to express the need I’ve found to try to create revenue streams in lots of other ways. Check out my project on Kickstarter! 

Great list, thanks for

Submitted by Brandon (not verified) on October 14, 2009 - 10:34pm.

Great list, thanks for sharing. With a “brand” point of view, I’m currently working towards leveraging the efforts of my two bands (plus another songwriter and my old band) by bringing everything together under the umbrella of a single label that provides music in (a) mp3 format and (b) short-run, creative/collectible physical formats. The idea is to provide cool, collectible “artifacts” for people who value such things and instant gratification for those who don’t. Regarding the mp3s, the idea is to evolve over time to a subscription model where fans can purchase a single subscription through the label site and gain access to the *entire* digital catalog in one shot, for a given period of time. The ultimate goal is to cultivate relationships at the label brand level and sell from the “top down,” so to speak. Easier said than done! Lots of work to get there, but it’s a goal. Anyway, it’s still mp3/album sales, but it’s a slightly different (I think) brand-focused way of going about it. Thoughts?? -Brandon @calmstock

Hey everyone. Thanks for the

Submitted by Kristin on October 16, 2009 - 9:28am.

Hey everyone. Thanks for the comments.  Kimberly, your work sounds amazing, and best of luck with the Kickstarter project. And Brandon, I’ve heard of this model before, and it’s something that Ariel Hyatt often talks about — how to cultivate people from being casual fans into regular supporters. Your idea sounds really interesting, but, I agree, very labor-intensive.

To get back to the list, here are some other streams that folks have passed to me via email:

- Digital print/sheet music sales, folios
- Karaoke Licensing
- Lyric reprints in books or articles (i.e., those that are not news articles)

- direct licensing fees when music is played in a retail outlet

Given all the feedback we’ve gotten and ideas that are percolating, expect another blog post in a couple of weeks from us, maybe with some short interviews with some people who are actually experimenting with these models and streams. Thanks! — Kristin Thomson kristin [at] futureofmusic [dot] org

Hello Kristin and all, I

Submitted by Jean-Robert Bisaillon (not verified) on October 18, 2009 - 7:35am.

Hello Kristin and all, I can’t see in your list of revenue streams - Recording artist royalties from direct digital sales collected by the performing artist trough Paypal or Nimbit. These are not Mechanical royalties from digital sales (the writer is not directly involved), they are not advances from a label (there could be no label) and are not Royalties for the digital performance (not a performance but an actual digital sale). Am I right?

Best regards! JR from iconoclaste music in Montreal.

Under its exclusive

Submitted by Anonymous on December 17, 2009 - 2:32pm.

Under its exclusive collective bargaining agreement with over 600 labels, AFTRA also provides payments to singers based on physical and digital music sales, for music videos, and for recordings used in film, television, and other media. In addition, AFTRA performers receive health and retirement contributions based on their earnings. For more information, visit




Technical question, aren't

Submitted by Drew Stephenson (not verified) on February 6, 2011 - 5:51am.

Technical question, aren't the litigation payment streams (A6 & B4) technically just a delayed form of payment for one of the other streams? Assuming that these payments from litigation around unlicensed use. I think you're actually double counting if so.
Very interesting article though, and a useful reminder (and example) of the different copyright types.

I'd also like to add bundling

Submitted by Ron Amundson (not verified) on February 13, 2011 - 11:28pm.

I'd also like to add bundling of the above. An artist could bundle the recording, the sheet music, karaoke for vocals, but also for instruments, and add a teaching video.

Far too many look at teaching in isolation and that its not scaleable. However it doesn't have to be, a bundling effort with video most certainly could scale, and provide non-direct revenue.

Another potential stream:

Submitted by Kelly (not verified) on February 22, 2011 - 6:13pm.

Another potential stream: licensing the use of a song title for the title of another work, such as a movie.

Great breakdown of revenue

Submitted by Jarv (not verified) on March 16, 2011 - 3:59pm.

Great breakdown of revenue streams

advances are loans not

Submitted by melodyvonrock (not verified) on May 9, 2011 - 10:12pm.

advances are loans not revenue? I did a value chain analysis on the music sector some years ago, it can be read here it gets interesting after p.151 - would be interested to see how it's aged. I have a financial model in excel - can send it to you if interested. xx twitter @melodyvonrock

Thanks so much for this list.

Submitted by Dano (not verified) on October 25, 2011 - 11:35am.

Thanks so much for this list. It is invaluable to see all of these sources in one list. Dano

You missed Live Performance

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 7, 2011 - 5:25pm.

You missed Live Performance Royalties via BMI or Sesac mainly...somehow no one seems to know about this...

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.