Tag Archives: musicians

Royalty Reality Check


There’s been a lot of huff and puff over the revelation that Amazon doesn’t pay out the full 70% royalty they promise on Kindle books. There’s been other talk, as well, about royalties. I know I’d prefer if you all bought my e-books via Smashwords because my royalties are higher.

I mean, I get it. We’ve got bills to pay. I’m not the only one in this boat; a well-known author friend has long talked about how her book sales fuel her mortgage payments. Now that I’m responsible for the mortgage around here — along with everything else — that has taken on a new resonance.

You can probably imagine my shock on Monday, when the Boy Band announced the reason we don’t use Spotify in the house is because a song has to be played on Spotify over 4.51 MILLION times for a major label artist to earn the equivalent of a month’s worth of minimum wage payments — that’s a bit under $1200 a month. (For the record, that’s not the reason I don’t use Spotify. I don’t use it because… well, no reason, actually. I just haven’t signed up.)

The Boy Band had other royalty numbers for one other music source — and iTunes. Since we became an iTunes family in 2009, I’ve wondered what the royalty rate is for a major label artist for a 99c download. It’s a fair comparison, no? I sometimes sell certain books for 99c, and my short stories are ALWAYS 99c.

So… the Boy Band, instead of showing off his math skills, Googled something or other and found this article. It’s not quite a year old, but the terms probably haven’t changed too much. The headline says it all: A Major Label Artist Makes 8 Cents On a 99-Cent iTunes Download…

It’s based on figures from Chuck D, who can’t be confused with an artist I listen to, but I doubt the numbers are much different for my beloved artists in the rock and roll world.

Eight cents.

Somehow, 35c on a 99c book seems better than it did before — and I was firmly in the camp that 35c was pretty darn good. (To be clear, that’s the percentage I get from Amazon’s Kindle platform. I get higher royalties from Smashwords and their affiliates, who I use rather than dealing directly with the various retailers, such as B&N. And yes, I’d get even more from those other retailers, but I’m willingly and knowingly giving up that higher royalty — and faster sales reporting — in exchange for the convenience of not stressing that I won’t get a payout from this retailer or that one or the other one. It’s cut down my stress level quite a bit, especially when I look at those mortgage coupons and my royalty statements and … ouch!)

I’m still not a fan of this new culture of the free book that Amazon’s been championing. Because when I look at it… even 8c is better than 0.

Like I said, I’ve got a mortgage to pay.


ShapeShifter Fiction: Irony?


Three Word Wednesday and the awesome dudes at Metal Sucks teamed up for this flash featuring ShapeShifter. But… where’s Trevor?

“We’re working with who on this one?” Mitchell asked. He scratched the top of his head, his elbow sticking out at an odd angle. Kerri had to duck under it.

“Jason McNair,” Daniel said, looking over the fax he’d just picked up at the hotel lobby. “He’ll meet us here in the lobby in …” He glanced at his wrist, but Kerri wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t like he ever wore a watch.

Kerri smiled as Daniel looked around the ornate lobby for a clock. A red digital display — terribly out of place with the gold filigree and plush upholstery everywhere else — hung over the front desk. Daniel blinked at it, then checked the fax again. “Ten minutes,” the drummer said.

“Why?” Mitchell asked, sounding pained. “What’s wrong with Adam?”

Daniel shrugged. “JR wanted some new blood. Apparently, this Jason dude has a concept he wants to sell us.” He consulted the fax again as Eric arrived. “We have to behave, JR says,” Daniel continued, acknowledging Eric’s arrival with a shallow nod.

Mitchell began coughing, sounding for all the world like he was choking on something. Kerri understood; telling ShapeShifter to behave was sort of like telling the sun to stop shining. It was also an invitation to create a mob scene.

In short: that sort of instruction never went over well.

Daniel held up the second page of the fax, turning it so Mitchell, Kerri, and Eric could see it. “He’s the one who did this,” he said.
Mitchell’s face turned purple. Kerri, laughing herself, pounded him on the shoulder. Eric frowned and took the picture from Daniel. “We can’t jettison the guy? Get out of here, like, now?”

“Doubt it,” Daniel said. With two fingers, he plucked the page out of Eric’s hands and spent a long minute studying it. Kerri leaned over his shoulder, alternately appalled and amused by it.

The band, who she’d never heard of, was made up of five guys. They stood in a Flying V, the four outside of the vortex looking as typical metal as possible: aloof, disillusioned, angry, ready to kick some ass. All at once.

There was serious irony in the shot, Kerri thought. The straw hat on the dude on the left. The only baldie and the only long-hair standing together.

But that final dude… the one at the back of the V. The one with his back to the camera and his hands held out wide, like they were ready to grab the gun out of the holster on his hip and start shooting, only to reach for the one under his knee when all six shots were gone…

Kerri hoped it was irony the picture was supposed to be conveying.

And God help this Jason guy if he tried to make anyone in ShapeShifter pose like that.