Daft Punk Breakup Leaves Millions on the Table, But Royalties Are Still Rolling In

Daft Punk
Martin Philbey/Redferns

Daft Punk

Billboard estimates the electronic dance duo could have easily earned $100 million from touring and festival appearances in 2022.

Daft Punk’s catalog brought in $6.4 million in revenue annually over the last four years, according to Billboard estimates, with half of that amount coming from the U.S. and the other half internationally.

If the electronic dance duo, who revealed they were disbanding Monday, has typical superstar royalties rates of 22% on sales and 33% of on-demand streams, that would calculate to roughly $1.883 million in artist royalties for the band, not including master recording synchronization, sampling royalties or publishing royalties.

Despite going more than seven years without releasing an album, the Daft Punk catalog has been a consistent performer over the last four years, averaging around 317,000 album consumption units a year (ranging from a high of 328,000 in 2017 to 312,000 in 2020), with a slight decline each year in between.

The duo’s vinyl sales (which consist largely of double albums) averaged about 36,000 units a year over the same span, while CD sales were at nearly 12,000 units and album downloads at nearly 14,000 units.

Song downloads for the group declined from 191,000 units in 2017 to 69,000 in 2021 for an average of 117,000 annually, though that tracks with an overall dip in downloads generally over that time frame. On-demand video and audio streams, meanwhile, have averaged 408.6 million during the same period, with audio streams making the largest contribution to the group’s revenue with roughly $2.74 million (vinyl was second-highest at $1.72 million).

Daft Punk has gone even longer without touring than they have without releasing new music, having been absent on the touring circuit since the conclusion of their 48-date Alive Tour in 2007. Of the 10 shows from that run that were reported to Billboard Boxscore, grosses ranged from $348,000 for a 9,000-attendee show at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre (at an average of $38 per ticket, plus fees) to $2.8 million for the group’s final concert on Dec. 22, 2007 at the Sydney Showground in Australia, where 30,736 fans paid an average of three times the amount charged for the Red Rocks show to see the duo perform.

Without solid figures, it is difficult to estimate the total gross of that 2007 tour, with a wide-ranging ballpark in the realm of $20-40 million. It is even more difficult to approximate how much was left on the table during the group’s 13-year touring drought. Had they chosen to go on the road in 2022, they would have had several paths to earn $100 million over the course of the year; a two-weekend headliner set at Coachella, for example, would have easily netted them $12 million minus costs, while at least 10 other major global festivals would have likely paid $5 million to $6 million per set. Pairing those festival appearances with a select stadium tour could have grossed the duo $3 million a night (an amount they could also have reached with an arena tour with double nights in each market), allowing them to surpass the $100 million mark by playing 35 to 40 shows in a single year, according to Billboard’s own estimates.

Daft Punk Announce Break Up With 'Epilogue' Video | Billboard News