How much do producers earn?


Just curious about this. There are producers in all shapes and forms, obviously, and someone like DeadMouse or people in that category obviously earn millions a year, but how much do you reckon those relatively unknown producers earn? Let’s say some of the lesser known names on a label like PAN (who are still quite famous these days). Some are obviously more known than others and will earn quite a bit, but let’s say an an artist that does a bit of touring and has released an album to some acclaim?

I guess it’s hard to come up with a good example, really, but would like to hear some general reflections around this. How much do you reckon your average artist on a label like PAN will bring in a year, for instance? How much do these kind of artists generally get for a gig? And how much do you think they earn on selling their record?

Not really aiming to make a living out of music myself, as I don’t think I’m good enough or original enough of a producer (nor much of a live act), but it’d be interesting to just get a few numbers on how much some these guys might bring in through their music (even though it’s difficult to say exactly).

Anyone got any numbers or reflections around this? :slight_smile: Would be interesting to hear.


holly herndon works in hot topic to pay bills

i think it was one of the livity sound boys who gave a peek of how much money he made a few years ago and it was close to zilch

making a living wage from it would come from constant touring. when someone plays ur song once on spotify they pay like 0.00004c or some shit


Cool, thanks for the insight on Herndon. Does she still work there though? Seems like she should be “big enough” to not, but what do I know.

I actually run a little label, so I get some statistics on what we earn on plays on various streaming platforms, and yeah, it’s not much at all.

Touring and DJ’ing is the thing, I guess.


I’m not sure on Herndon. she was doing masterclasses with redbull academy last time i checked, she’s pretty big now yeah.

i wish apple music gave the streaming stats like spotify does, i might have to go and have a look. i remember looking through a friend’s and being astonished at the amount of plays for some underground artists, sometimes in the millions. i think one of them was Sophia Kennedy who is signed to Koze’s Pampa records. she is pop(ish?) though.

i think an Arca would be raking in some cash. but when it comes to the PAN boys and girls; i’m sure they’d probably be having less of the pie. having said that though being signed to PAN would be cool as hell anyway :stuck_out_tongue:


there is no real baseline ‘wage’. it depends on so many variables and unfortunately a huge amount of chance and luck.

the main revenue streams for a producer would be;

dj/live shows - a new artist who just did an album on say pan, could be looking at €300+ for club shows, €800+ for festival shows. that is still variable of course, as in the case of someone particularly hype then they may get huge sums for exclusive events or private corporate ones.

royalties - these will amount to almost nothing in most cases if relying on streaming, but sometimes the weirdest tracks can take off and amass decent royalty payment due to being used in an advert or tv show etc. one such example is dean blunt/inga copeland - one of the redeemer tunes has been used on tv a bunch. i’m not suggesting that they had an enormous payday, but its a good example of something pretty underground getting such a break.

production work - alot of artists get into producing for other artists (usually vocal led projects), eg jam city + kelela, arca + fka twigs etc. that line of work can be tricky as the sessions are generally unpaid, and you invest time and work into an uncertainty - i.e the track you’ve spent 6 months working on might not even make the cut for the artists record. but if it does get on the record then you’ll see some money, depending on the size of the artist/record.

**grants ** - there are alot of artists who will do special commissioned works and this often crosses over with the art world. pan artists have certainly done this. i wouldn’t say it will pay your rent, but it can be decent funding that aids your career.

If you really wanted to see a figure, idk… after rent, equipment, basic living i think producers at the level you are describing end the year having made next to nothing. just being able to break even is an achievement.
but stuff can unexpected take off and yves tumor for example seems to be on route to being a superstar. arca was lowkey putting out weird eps on a relatively small new york labels before blowing up.

i’d also say that putting the pressure of making a living on the music can be the death of creativity and i would advice people never make that leap until being absolutely sure that its safe to do so.
in the mean time its best to supplement the music income with other work - be it a bar/restaurant, some freelance graphic design (or whatever other skill you may have) etc…

hope that helps shed some light on it!


i think the most comfortable have a publishing deal. Most bigger ‘indie’ companies have their own publishing arm, Warp, Ninja Tune, Domino, etc.

this means they can offer their artists a yearly wage, more or less, that they recoup from sync deals (tv, ads).

Most underground labels don’t offer that kind of stability.

An artist with enough buzz to gig throughout the year can break a functional salary.

Notice a lot of artists (Clark, Mica Levi, 0PN) are trying to get into producing original soundtracks for TV/Movies, where there seems to be money

The vast majority are probably not making a living thru music, and either slumming it or making money elsewhere

It’s also worth saying, as previously mentioned on the forum, a lot of the bigger names already have rich mums and dads


Great insight, @subjet and @ETC - thanks for sharing. :slight_smile: Very interesting!


A good friend of mine is gearing up to release his third album on a well-beloved UK electronic label. I’m reticent to say who and where because I’m worried that my presence on the now-defunct RA comments section are going to somehow fuck him over posthumously when the album comes out. He told me, however, that beyond the advance he got for his release, he hasn’t seen much by way of money from the actual album coming out and says that shows are the way to go.