Earnings question?

Home Forums General Questions Earnings question?

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 23 total)
  • Author
  • #24004 Reply

    Somewhat hypothetical question:

    I have about 115 tracks out ink libraries right now, a mix of non-exclusive, exclusive, and royalty free. I have some co-writes, around a dozen or so, written with fairly established folks in the biz.

    What would be your numbers given the above, in dollar amounts, that you would say, “doing O.K.” , “Killing it” (AKA doing really well), or doing bad to lousy, AKA below expectations (as a whole). Yes I know this is subjective and different for everyone. Yes I know MMMV. SO if you could be as specific as you can, that would be a wonderful thing. Thanks and very interested in some feedback here.


    #24014 Reply

    Hey Chuck,

    Tough, tough to answer but here is my personal and highly subjective opinion 🙂 And from what I’ve read, heard and discussed these are the ranges I find myself in agreement with (when hundreds of tracks are out there earning $$$$).

    Killing it: well into 6 figures
    Doing well: mid to upper 5 figures
    Doing okay: low to mid 5 figures
    Doing fair: low 5 figures; high 4 figures
    Doing lousy: royalties and sync pay for either weekly coffee and gas.

    That being said, anyone earning money from their music being placed on TV, commercials,etc I would consider successful because I hear a ton of people trying to do it and can’t.

    Would you agree with my ranges? And if you feel like sharing: What would be your ranges for say 100-200 tracks? And when you discuss and learn what others are making with around the same number of tracks as you, do you feel you’re doing better, worse, the same?

    #24015 Reply

    Hey Chuck,

    Good question. I wonder the same for myself. My situation is not too far off from you. Just over 100 finished tracks (excluding edits) spread out among a few NE, Exclusive & RF.

    I have only been at it for about 2 years averaging about 50 tracks per year. I guess that is “doing O.K.”

    I think it is difficult to quantify a dollar amount at least this early on. I just started seeing tv placement activity starting in Q3 of 2015 so my first tv royalties will start trickling in this year. RF sales are steadily increasing over time.

    There could be composers with half the catalog we have earning more. On the flip side we could potentially be earning more than a composer with double or more the amount of tracks we have. I guess time will tell.

    My goal is always to earn more than I did in the previous year and to continue growing the catalog. Hopefully 2016 I can break 4 figures in earnings!

    Rookie Question: What does MMMV stand for?


    #24017 Reply

    Only question I can answer in this thread lol I usually see YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary

    #24020 Reply

    Thanks for the replies guys. My MINIMUM goal from the start was to at least replace gigging money money . That would mean $300 – $500 a month , the equivalent on my market to gigging once a week.

    I’ll likely break 4 figures this year. Was awful close last year.

    $25000 2-3 years in an row would be enough to think about quitting my day job. at 40000, I definitely would.

    Anything more then that would be gravy.

    Off to said day job now.

    #24021 Reply

    I agree that it’s a difficult question because there are so many variables. But I think it is very important in this work to try to get a sense of what to expect financially so you don’t have unrealistic expectations.

    So, if I had to throw a very broad range out for the 115 tracks you described, I’d say somewhere in the 4 figures annually, eventually.

    But… I have a lot more tracks than that. I could pull out a subset of 115 tracks that do better than that, and I could pull out another subset of 115 that has made $0!

    Also, those royalties grow slowly. So it can be difficult to tell if they’re growing slowly, or just not growing. Either could be true.

    #24023 Reply

    Also, those royalties grow slowly.

    Yes and no. My experience, over a course of decades, is that it’s more of a rollercoaster ride. For a time, you feel like you’re on a constant upward trajectory then things shift — libraries get bought and sold (Think JP) or go out of business (think Revostock), shows get cancelled, PRO’s change how they do things (BMI 2105), new technology like streaming arrives, catalogs age out, etc. and you find yourself on the downward side of things.

    It’s an industry that constantly changes. Until you reach a point of having so many tracks that it’s simply a statistical probability that you will earn a hoped for realistic minimum per month, or year, it’s somewhat of a crap shoot.

    #24025 Reply

    I would agree with Paolo, there’s just a huge range of possibilities. But to attain the higher levels of what he mentioned, with 115 tracks, there would have to be a much lesser dependence on low-tier cable and RF, and more success in high-end licensing.

    ‘Composer’ also made a good point – many tracks will generate virtually no money, while a few might be your superstar tracks and make up for all those duds.

    Keeping in mind that it sounds like you’re splitting quite a few cues with other writers, I think a realistic, conservative ballpark guess would be around $4000 – $10000 per year.

    #24027 Reply

    Hey Chuck,
    I like MichaelL’s rollercoaster for earnings in this business. I think monthly income is to inconsistent to rely on, but I think you can make $5-10K a year with 115 tracks if they are steady sellers at productive libraries. After 6 years at this I’m finally starting to figure out how it all works, and I am also a 50 track a year type writer.
    I am up to 210 tracks and made about $12K last year, up from $9,800 the previous year. I also have over 100 tracks that have not made any money yet!
    Check out this string I started about a year ago if you haven’t already. I think you will find some answers to your questions.
    Good luck!

    #29654 Reply

    interesting discussion, if i may ask an elaborate question on the topic on hand, from my understanding there’s a bell curve per the shelf life of a track…it takes time to slowly start to circulate, hits a peak,then tapers off. and some tracks start generating early (months for RF) and some takes a while as in years or decade(s) (PRO).

    I hear folks saying a large percent of their PRESENT revenue comes from tracks submitted 3-5 yrs ago, most likely from backend. yet those same tracks could have been their best sellers in RF libs the first 1-3 years then become nonexistent around year 4 or 5…which leads me to this Q

    how do you analyze your catalogs performance in relation to time? do you grab a year lets say “2013 tracks submitted” and average them out regardless on what’s moving and what’s stagnant…..or analyze it per track basis on when it starts to pick up steam and falls into the bell curve, which could be a few years, or even decades after the track was released?

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 23 total)
Reply To: Earnings question?
Your information: