Making music and working out to get them heard (as an indie musician) is both a bitter and sweet affair.
You take the creative pot to the next level, brewing your music for quite a while until they made it to the streaming platforms, yielding some cents for every 30+ seconds of play, side-by-side with the recording giants of the decades whose ultimate aim in life is to make music. Ooh, but it's nice to make it through, at least knowing that there is also no limit to imagine what an Indie Artist can accomplish. Dreaming is free, after all!
The loud noise of each mastered tunes competing against each other in very saturated platforms that have nothing to lose -- each indie artist shoving a slot in the atomic space amidst the unseen wave of frequencies, battling to get heard!
Even my cat is about to meow a tune for Youtube! ;)
And so, the number of streams pile. Wow! Like a pin on a haystack, some managed to get to the surface. And how did they garner such numbers? It's out of the question. The more numbers you have, the more you earn. It may not be everything. At times, it doesn't even matter in many aspects. It's even beyond logic because musicians call it a labor of love. But the simple math is tangible. Say, an indie artist earns $.004 per stream. Then 1 million streams equal $4,000. You could easily see the who's who! But will $4,000 pay for the highs and heartaches of producing music? Maybe. The best musicians have other means to diversify the method of earning. That's for sure.
BTW, here is a royalty calculator on different platforms if you are curious to see the picture: Streaming Payouts Per Platform.
Then, there is Youtube which is one of the most powerful platforms to post videos and music. The music distributors, such as CDbaby, Distrokid, Tunecore, Ditto, etcetera, get every indie music to it, with less headache. Unfortunately, it pays less. The truth is, putting your stuff on Youtube via a distributor is like giving away your music for FREE!
Some of my indie friends are angry about the lowest royalty stream rate paid by Youtube. And yet, I still see myriads of mainstream and other indie artists, including me, using the platform to propagate music, especially on unregistered covers that can not even get monetized without sync license. Because at times it is not all about money. There is also this Youtube mania hovering around! Some want a bit of themselves on it because it's a haven of natural dopamine-inducing satisfaction.
The big question is: why even bother to let your distributor get your music on Youtube?
It's a personal choice! Indie artists know that they consent to it when they sign up. I'll express my point in a form question.
1. If a billionaire will pay you a fair amount of money by buying your music, with a condition to NOT let the world hear it, would you like it?
2. If world will be able to access your music at hand, anytime, anywhere, and that includes your crush or enemies having the probability of listening to it for a pea cent. Would you like it?
3. Would you continue your passion if everyone died already while you are in a space capsule with no audience?
Youtube has their own mission in giving service. They may be ahead of most people or not. For what they do, others use the platform to express creativity. Others hustle or make lives out of it. Ironically, some find the formula and succeed! Well, it's pretty much like another common sub-topics of life! In the meantime, I'll feed it with the content out of personal purpose and business.