According to a new study by Pirate, 75% of artists incur a loss when releasing music, spending more money to promote their release than they are receiving.
The study surveyed over 1,000 musicians from the UK and US Pirate recording studios and found that 91% promoted their music independently while 75% did not make a profit high enough to support this campaigning.
Social media has become a huge source of marketing for many independent artists, with 54% saying they use their main social media accounts for self-promotion.
Instagram is the favored platform with 88% of artists utilizing it, followed by YouTube at 69% and Facebook at 58%, and TikTok at 42%.
But the overlap between work and socializing on social media has also led to 51% of artists taking a break from social media at some point in their careers.
The burnout could be attributed to the overwhelming amount of content needed for creatives to get their name out and garner fans.
Dan Davis, Head of Community at Pirate said, “As an artist doing your own promo, it’s both harder and easier in the social media age. Platforms reward a constant stream of content which takes a lot of work, the payoff is that you can build your own audience rather than just trying to break through gatekeepers.”
Spotify has even added its own content features, allowing creators to upload a 30-second video clip along with their music.
Pirate further explains, “There’s a danger that the rise of TikTok and the TikTokification of other apps like Spotify, comes at a time when streaming has already obliterated artists’ chances of making money from music; an ever-increasing appetite for additional content could make the investment required to reach a small reward even greater.”
Read the full Pirate study on self-promotion for artists and how this has not led to profitability for many, here.