Making heads and tails of Tunecore artist sales

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Using Tunecore’s recently released sales data, I tried to estimate the distribution of sales for this collection.

And, first off, many thanks to Jeff and Tunecore for releasing these data for the rest of us to investigate.

It appears life in the long tail of music sales may be rather rough. DMN has one angle (minimum wage), while I took a sales distribution approach.

Of the top 6000-ish (5938) artists about which Tunecore just released sales data, the sales distribution follows an 80/20 rule relatively closely. Collectively, the top 22% of these artists earned about 80% of the monthly money.

Given these 6000 are only 1% of reported 600,000 accounts, however, it would appear that Tunecore artist sales exhibit an extremely pin-headed distribution rather than a long tail distribution (as per Chris Anderson).

In fact, these 6000-ish artists produce enough revenue that, if converted to annual dollars, they might be earning half or more of total Tunecore artist revenue.