By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Chalk up another victory for the talented Taylor Swift — she wrote an open letter to Apple Music, calling them out for not paying artists for their music streamed during a free trial period, for their new streaming service.

Thanks to Swift, Apple reversed its decision and decided to pay artists after all.

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But how much do artists make off music streaming, anyway? Good Question.

Rolling Stone Magazine calculated that for every $1.29 song that’s downloaded, an artist on average only gets about 16 percent of the cut, or about 20 cents. Artists can make even less from streaming. So how do singers make their money?

“Really, being on the road is going to help your merchandise,” said Lauren MacLeash, operation manager for BUZ’N, 102.9 and JACK-FM, 104.1. “It’s going to help you sell your music.”

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MacLeash said after songwriting, touring is the big moneymaker for artists. Big name stars charge big money for concert tickets, as Rolling Stones fans learned a couple weeks ago.

The average price of a Stones’ ticket is hundreds of dollars, equaling millions in profit per show — far more than anything they would make online. Taylor Swift’s victory then, is likely helping lesser known artists.

“I think it was a very gracious move on her part to say, wait a minute, everybody needs to be paid,” MacLeash said.

MacLeash said every deal is different, and in some cases the songwriter makes more than the artist on iTunes. She’s hoping that everybody makes a little more as CD sales fade.

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While concerts and merchandise are still the big moneymakers, you’re seeing more singers venture into other avenues to make money. Justin Bieber made millions off a fragrance called, “Someday,” that was marketed towards teenage girls. Rihanna has been known to charge more than $100,000 per public appearance, such as the launch of a product or the opening of a new night club.

John Lauritsen