Most of their revenue comes from touring.
In 2017, recording artists only retained 12% of the income produced by the music industry, a rather small slice of $43 billion US Market. As soon as artists make it big, most of the general public assume they're rolling in cash, but the numbers don't reflect this fantasy.
The total revenue actually represents a 12-year peak, a number that hadn't been hit in over a decade. The revenue in 2017 was last matched by the efforts of 2006.
Musicians' share of the loot rose from their earnings in 2000 when they only stacked 7%. Most of this increase is being attributed to the rise in concerts and live performance tours, which usually offer a different kind of split from earnings acquired through streaming. Artists still aren't making big money from their music being streamed, since labels and other industry entities make a considerable dent before the cash even reaches them.
Bjorn Niclas, co-founder of Choon, a cryptocurrency-based music streaming service, commented on the numbers.
"Currently artists are at the end of the line. They get the smallest piece of the pie even though they are the ones creating the content. In any other industry, you typically see much better returns and margins."
If these stats are an improvement, it's no wonder why artists are making a return to an indie route, even after making it big.