Some things to keep in mind when glancing over the numbers: The graph does not include revenue from ticket sales or licensing deals, surely the biggest breadwinners for bands in the Internet age. Note that it distinguishes between artists signed on a major label and those keeping things DIY with self-releases, but leaves a gap for artists signed to independent labels, whose profits presumably fall somewhere between the two. Also keep in mind, in regards to bands, the numbers would need to be significantly increased in order for each member's share to hit the minimum wage mark, which is maybe the hardest part to swallow. No clue how Edward Sharpe & Co. does it.
Perhaps the most eye-opening stats relate to how many listens a solo artist needs per month from streaming services like Spotify in order to keep up in the rat race, which, in turn, sheds light on the payout rate of said streaming services. Here's where the good news comes in, which is a refreshing thing to type in a blog post about the music industry in 2012: After much criticism of Spotify and similar companies for taking such a lopsided portion of the royalties, the last two years have seen an increased percentage going to the artist on behalf of Spotify et al.... as long as that artist is not signed to a major label. Major labels still pretty much suck and take an awful lot of the money an artist earns, it leads us to believe.
So what this all means for the DIY Brooklyn musician reading it is that, in the month of August, you need to either sell 149 copies of vinyl, 171 album downloads on iTunes, 268 CDs, 1,706 track downloads on iTunes, or have 127,427 plays on Rhapsody or 232,000 streams on Spotify. Then you'll be making minimum wage and really living the dream.