I'm continually thinking about what it means to "make it big". And part of it is that I've never really felt like I want to make it REALLY big. The concept of the Musical Middle Class is what sounds more appealing: making a middle class salary based off of touring/tickets, merchandise, and recordings.

It's a bit of a depressing subject to think about, because when one thinks about the musical middle class, actual names come to mind, like... Jonathan Coulton. He talks about eking out a middle class salary. And yet... he's, uh, famous. A star! A celebrity! And middle class. Something there doesn't jibe.

I'm curious what kind of activity and success level would actually lead to a middle class revenue stream. Depending on region, $40k - $80k / year. How many tours? How much merchandise? How many cds sold? How many fans? What are the nuts and bolts, what is actually needed?

I saw Derek Sivers post a list about a year ago, of artists that have made more than $30,000 total just from cd sales on CDBaby. If it was the total list, it was... quite the perspective. Because it was only thirty-two names.

It seems the number one thing that is needed for independent music is ways to better monetize good music.