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<title>Is your album a starting line or a finish line? </title>
<p>
People often asked, “How much does the <strong>average</strong> artist on CD Baby sell?”
</p><p>
Others would take the <a href="http://cdbaby.com/about">numbers on the “about” page</a> and divide them: <strong>$85 million paid out to 250,000 available albums = $340 earnings per album</strong>. Now we know how much the “average” album sells!
</p><p>
Problem is: the numbers are right but the answer is wrong because it groups together two completely different types of approaches to an album release, giving an inaccurate average for your type.
</p><p>
<strong>For some artists, releasing an album is like the starting line in a race</strong>. The gun goes off! They work it! They spend hours a day pushing, promoting, selling, striving. For the next few months, they never stop. Reaching new people by any means necessary, whether playing live for strangers in strange venues many times a week, or joining new communities online.
</p><p>
For those types, I'd say the average income (through my one little store) was $5000. (And 50 of them earned over $100,000 each.)
</p><p>
But <strong>for many artists, releasing an album is like the finish line in a race</strong>. They've always wanted to make a record. They did it. It's done. They give some for free to friends and family, and glow in the compliments. They might do a record release concert and make a website, but in terms of effort spent, they're done. (Sometimes from satisfaction, but sometimes from entitlement: “Now that my brilliant album is done the world will recognize my genius!”)
</p><p>
For those types, I'd say the average income was $20.
</p><p>
The people who would ask about the average were usually artists trying to predict how well they would sell on CD Baby.
</p><p>
Because 50% of all sales on CD Baby were returning customers just browsing for new music, it was possible to sell a few albums without doing anything at all.
</p><p>
But the important thing is <strong>it's up to you</strong> which kind of approach you want to take.
</p><p>
<strong>Is your album a starting line or a finish line?</strong>
</p>
<img src="http://sivers.org/images/race.jpg" width="422" height="328" alt="http://flickr.com/photos/siansburys/2743541259/" />