At the time the Post reporters wrote their story, Ashley’s music had been listened to on Amie Street more than 300,000 times (as of Sunday night, it was up past 400,000). But anyone can listen to Ashley’s songs for free. Downloading them requires:
- Registering for an Amie Street account
- Handing over credit card or PayPal account info
- Actually paying money for the songs
Ask anyone in online commerce: Turning browsers into buyers is hard. A conversion rate in the mid-single digits is above average. And it’s even more difficult when you’re talking about a) a novelty item and b) music, which people hate paying for anyway.
How many songs has Ashley sold? We don’t know. Amie Street won’t disclose sales info. So for argument’s sake, let’s say that each “listener” is a unique visitor, and that a phenomenal 5% of them actually bought a song. How much would she pocket?
At today’s totals, our very generous estimate would be: 400,000 x .05 x 98 cents (price per song) x .70 (her estimated cut)= $13,720.
By the standards of the online music business, that would be a great number for a singer who was unknown before last week. But she couldn’t retire on it.
The big picture: How much money can Ashley make from her newfound celebrity? We also don’t know. We’ve guesstimated celebrity earnings in the past, and we’re inclined to treat any report of potential book deals, endorsement offers, with heaps of scepticism — grade inflation is rampant in these kind of stories, and there’s not much in the way of fact-checking. (Though we do think Larry Flynt’s $1 million Hustler offer is pretty solid. By most accounts, Larry is a trustworthy pornographer.)
Ashley will be able to sell the “exclusive” rights to her story and to future photo shoots, and that’s worth something. But nothing like the money made by the magazines, TV shows — and, yes, websites — that are already selling her story and images already — without giving her a penny.
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