A question from an Artist: I am just wondering how a single recording can be economically viable. I am not too familiar how the recording industry works. How could a single recording make money – if the quality is good enough, would it be possible to market it through Itunes? I can cover the costs, but I am wondering if would be worthwhile to invest that much money for little or no financial return.
The industry has become very single driven over the last few years, more so than it has ever been. The trend of albums has almost disappeared. Taking a brief look at the local radio charts, almost everything is a “single release”. 19 of the 40 songs on the NCI chart are “singles” http://aboriginalmusiccountdown.ca/170930/
A lot of EPs are being created nowadays (3 to 5 song albums). Most artists are opting to release songs via streaming services like spotify, slacker radio. As well they are releasing songs via iTunes and other download websites. The real key nowadays is promotion thru social media channels (like facebook, twitter, youtube).
The model for artists to make money is not only the music, but all the merchandise that goes along with it. And of course touring and playing live are big keys to making some extra money. Because of the way the industry has changed over the years, the studio rate has been decreased to reflect that (as well the actual studio has become far less busy).
On the flip side of the coin, doing a full record (8 to 12 songs) maybe a bit more viable for you if you are out playing live, people are still buying CDs. BUT they are really only buying them at live shows. Our small record label has seen a significant dip in CD sales in the last 5 years (to the point where we are basically giving them away, and making deals like 3 for $30).
I hate to say it, but the “music business” has always been a gamble. It really depends on what you would like to do. I would get yourself a membership with a provincial music industry association. Like https://www.saskmusic.org/ or www.manitobamusic.com and start checking out some of their programming on music business related topics. Here are some examples of interesting reads from Manitoba Music’s website
And here is some of the programming that Manitoba Music has been offering, just to get an idea of what is going on.