Home / Q. “How much of a 99-cent iTunes download do I get to keep?” – Recording artist

Q. “How much of a 99-cent iTunes download do I get to keep?” – Recording artist

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A. “10 cents.”

This sobering Q & A comes from the National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP) iTunes Artist-Producer Royalty Calculation sheet.

More: “For major label artists, Apple collects 34 cents and the label keeps 55 cents.”


Some things never change.

That acronym – “na-RIP” – is perfect.

[via redferret.net]
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  • Eric Olsen

    good one Joe, thanks, and some tings don’t ever change


    Using the conventional arrangement, how much does the artist make?

    Impossible to measure, but if more people will pay for the one good tune an artist produces, rather than forego buying an album of filler and one good tune, is it a gain for the artist?

  • Pretty understandable considering how much the label invests in promoting and marketing and distributing the artist’s music.

    For independents like me though, we get 65 cents off of every iTunes song purchase and $6.50, which is not bad at all.

  • and I MEANT to say $6.50 off each album purchase.

  • Heck, 10 percent ain’t that bad, if the band is actually getting paid. That’s about 10 percent more than most acts ever get.

    Of course, if you’re your own label, and getting the label share too, as Brad apparently does, then you’re kicking ass.

  • Tate

    Where do the other 10 cents go? 34 + 55 = 89.

  • Tate

    nevermind, i’m dumb

  • John

    So 10 cents go to an artist, who quickly makes more than I do in a year, while 55 cents goes towards the cost of janitors and technicians at the label who actually need the money. Sounds fair to me.

  • Janitor man

    More like 10 cents to the artist, 1 cent to the janitor and technicians and 54 cents to the higher ups.

  • TB

    10 cents go to the artist, when they are with 5 in a band, they need to sell 2.000.000 songs PER YEAR to get the average bruto income of an American citizen. Besides the Lady Gagas and Beyoncés of this world, not many artists can pull this off…

    Not to mention the many websites that offer other peoples music for sale for 20 cent/song illegally, not giving ANY money to the artist.

    So if you want the artist to make another CD of the music you adore so much, next time buy it at the local record store or at a gig.

  • Joe Alford

    The ol Hunter S Thompson quote applies here: “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

    We need to go with non profit distribution sites who are willing to not take a percentage. I’ve found one, not sure they’re non-profit or how they make money but supposedly they’re 100% free.

  • Jacob

    I’m fine with a label taking 50%, because there are people who get paid and the label should work to promote the artist. I hate how itunes takes 50%, for doing almost nothing!

  • Alison

    So, does that artist actually make any more from record sales if they don’t have their own label? Considering the fact that after the record company gets their money, the writer must be paid {more than the artist} and then the producer. There’s jack sh*t left.

  • MMandM

    @ Alison – if you’re indy, be your own label with the release and you collect the whole 65%. Having said that, I think it apalling that Apple collects this amt for hostng a file. They’re actually worse than the industry before it.

  • duh

    Ok… quit bashing apple iTunes, let’s be honest, it is better to get 10 cents per song than to not get 10 cents. Ex: I like one or two songs from certain bands. I can find it for free on youtube, and will do so at 15.00$ per album for one song. I, however will pay $0.99 for the one song I want and leave the rest of the album. If there was no itunes the artist would get $0 rather than $0.10. I’m sure I’m not the only person who thinks like this.

  • Daniel

    In my band we get about 25% iTunes gets 30% and label gets about 45%

  • Al

    Independant is the way to go plus touring makes alot of money

  • Emma

    Local record store? Where’d they all go? Even walmart looks to be marking down cds (to get rid of them)…

  • SE

    Brad Sucks left a comment above and I just wanted to say that Brad Sucks is Awesome. Borderline, Making Me Nervous… Classic!

  • BigV

    Duh. If there were no iTunes the artist would make money and much more by selling a record in the store. You obviously don’t know shit about business. Btw, it taKes a lifetime for an artist to get his break only to get raped of his money and robbed of his work from internet junkies. Smh…

  • Deven

    How crazy would it be if it was 30% to Apple for the supply, 20% to the label for backing the artist and 50% to the real reason we are even thinking about this right now.

  • Jigme Datse Yli-Rasku

    You also forget that the artist has to pay for all the marketing, production, post production, and all of that out of the 10 cents that they get. The record company isn’t paying for that out of the 55 cents they get. Not in terms of promoting the album itself. They also have to pay for things like “breakage”. Yes, a certain percentage of iTunes albums break in shipping them to Apple and Apple doesn’t pay for them because they are broken. Maybe Apple has to ship them back to the label to get their money back, but the artist has to pay for this breakage. Oh wait, you tell me this doesn’t happen? Well it’s still in the record contract that the recording artist signed.

  • Juice

    @Jacob iTunes is only taking 34% and they are handling the entire distribution part of it, and storefront.

    Sounds fair to me

  • cakeICING


    Really apple? You already make a crap-load of money, let the public share the wealth.

    God, I swear….

  • hi


    You’re right. A fairly successful artist will not be able to survive unless they charge a fair amount of money for a song. A whopping 99 cents for a song pisses off so many people who think that the ‘whopping 99 cents’ goes to just the artist, because they’re wrong. There’s a whole new level in that story.

    Good digging, TB

  • Shadow

    So how much does the band get from iTunes/amazon or Google play? Let’s say my band and I put a song up for 99 cents and how much would we make?