thread: Numbers
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Old 30th November 2007
Founder CD Baby
Derek Sivers's Avatar
Smile sales

Originally Posted by not_so_new ➡️
What is a realistic number of units and net profit an "average" artist would expect?
I'm so glad you prefaced that question with your definition of "average". Most people just say, "What does the average artist sell?", to which I have to reply, "There is no average. Let me explain..."

For some people, releasing an album is the starting-line. They're going to go tour, promote, constantly tell everyone, try marketing experiments, get fans to help push it, etc. Those artists will sell an average of $1000 on CD Baby, between physical and digital.

For some people, releasing an album is the finish-line. They have a day-job doing something else, but have always wanted to make a record. They got some friends together, sunk far too much money into it, but never expected to make a living out of it anyway. When the album is done, they don't tell anyone but a few friends, and quietly put it on CD Baby to see if someone might be into it, but they're not going to do any real promotion. They're done. Those artists will sell an average of $5 on CD Baby. (Many sell $20. Many sell nothing.)

So, as with anything, it's all up to you.

CD Baby sells around 2000 CDs a day, and about 1000 a day are to total strangers who were just browsing the store, and bought something they hadn't heard of a few minutes before.

So, you could say that half of the sales at CD Baby are driven by the artist's efforts, and half are generated by us.

Not sure if that helps, but here's some more info: CD Baby - Sales numbers at CD Baby