This eye-opening academic pursuit is essentially rooted in working out how much one man, who usually performs solo and writes the majority of his own songs, can generate so much hard cash for the music business.
Here’s one example: Sheeran played a trio of nights at Wembley Stadium in July.
That’s 70k people at £50 (£77) per ticket = £10.5m gross ($16.1m) for three days’ work.
One bloke. Today, we get some more brain-freezing Sheeran numbers.
The star’s global smash Thinking Out Loud, co-written with BDi Music-signed Amy Wadge, has become the first track in history to rack up 500m streams on Spotify.
According to Spotify’s own publicly-stated per-stream rate of $0.007 – the approximate amount it pays out to music business rightsholders – that means it’s generated $3.5m for Sheeran and the music industry, including the star’s label at Atlantic/Warner and his publisher Sony/ATV.
One song. And that’s not all: according to Spotify, Sheeran tracks have been streamed approximately 2.9 billion times in total on the service.
Using Spotify’s $0.007 per-stream rate once again, that equates to an overall haul of $20.3m for Sheeran and music business rightsholders.
The majority of this revenue will have landed with the recorded/masters side of the business, with only around 10%-15% expected to have been paid to the publishing/songwriting part of the equation.
Sheeran said: “Chuffed to hear that Thinking Out Loud has had half a billion plays on Spotify. Being the first artist to hit that milestone is amazing.
“Thanks to all the people who use this as a wedding song, soundtrack to a date and as a way to woo someone into a Netflix and Chill situation.” According to Spotify, 19 million people listen to Sheeran on the service each month.
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