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Digital Audio Insider is David Harrell's blog about the economics of music and other digital content. I write from the perspective of a musican who has self-released four albums with the indie rock band the Layaways.

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May 31, 2007

An Increase in eMusic Payouts
by David Harrell

eMusic banner

Some more eMusic sales showed up in our CD Baby account last week. It looks like they're from the quarter ending 3/31/07 and we received 27.8 cents a track after CD Baby took its 9% cut.

Adding that 9% back in gives a per-track payout from eMusic of 30.5 cents a track, the most we've ever seen for eMusic sales. (It might be an error, but there was also a single download -- supposedly from the same sales period -- that paid 18.9 cents from eMusic. If not a reporting error, the only explanation I can think of is a lower payout rate for the "free" tracks offered to trial subscribers and the bonus tracks subscribers can earn by referring new subscribers.)

That's a decent-sized jump from the 27.4 cents a track payout rate from our last reported eMusic sales.

There are some details about the eMusic model that I haven't been able to confirm, but per-track payouts to labels/artists are basically a function of the average track "price" for subscribers and subscriber download activity. If the per-song payouts are increasing, it's likely a result of an increase in average song price (based on subscription plans, which changed late last year), a decrease in overall subscriber usage, or some combination of the two factors.

Update: Just to clarify, the "per-song" price is simply another way of looking at total subscriber revenue, which is the basis for eMusic's sharing model. It doesn't really matter if you break it down to the individual track "price." While I prefer to think of it that way when analyzing the payouts, the basic equation for computing the per-song payout from eMusic is to divide the portion of total subscription revenue that is shared with labels by the total number of subscriber downloads for the time period.

One final note: these numbers are all for a self-released musician distributed via CD Baby. It's certainly possible that there are different payout rates for labels working directly with eMusic (or the Orchard).

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    THE LAYAWAYS

    Out Now -- "Maybe Next Year" -- The New Holiday Album:

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/maybe-next-year">Joy To The World by The Layaways</a>

    "This is a sweet treat, deliciously musical without being overbaked for mass media consumption." -- Hyperbolium

    "Perfect listening to accompany whatever holiday preparations you may be making today." -- Bag of Songs


    O Christmas Tree - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    Away In A Manger - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or Bandcamp. Listen to free streams at Last.fm.



    album cover art from The Space Between

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/the-space-between">Keep It To Yourself by The Layaways</a>

    "...about as melodic and hooky as indie pop can get." -- Absolute Powerpop

    "Their laid-back, '60s era sounds are absolutely delightening." -- 3hive

    "...melodic, garage-influenced shoegaze." -- RCRD LBL

    Where The Conversation Ends - free mp3
    January - free mp3
    Keep It To Yourself - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or CD Baby, stream it at Last.fm or Napster.



    album cover art from We've Been Lost

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/weve-been-lost">Silence by The Layaways</a>

    "The Layaways make fine indie pop. Hushed vocals interweave with understated buzzing guitars. The whole LP is a revelation from the start." -- Lost Music

    "Catchy Guided by Voices-like rockers who lay it on sweetly and sincerely, just like Lionel Richie." -- WRUV Radio

    Silence - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    The Long Night - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.



    album cover art from More Than Happy

    "These are songs that you want to take home with you, curl up with, hold them close -- and pray that they are still with you when you wake up." -- The Big Takeover

    Let Me In - free mp3
    Ocean Blue - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.

    More Layaways downloads:

    download the Layaways at eMusic download the Layaways at iTunes

    the layaways website