Spotify is a huge music platform that has been around for over 13 years. They say that it’s great for artists of all kinds to be noticed and listened to.
There are over 1.2 million artists on the popular streaming service that are listened to for 100 hours or more per year. But how much exactly are those artists really earning? Do they get the money they deserve for all the hard work they put into their music?
Artists want to know how much the most popular streaming service in the world really pays you and if it’s a good way to earn money and get their music to a large audience. Here’s how much Spotify pays you per stream and if it’s worth your time, music and hustle.
Spotify’s pay per stream
Spotify doesn’t have a fixed pay per stream and we can only give an approximate answer as to how much you will earn per stream. The streaming service claims that they pay anywhere from $00.006USD to $00.0084USD for every stream, but according to various artists that is incorrect. With the help of many artists and sources such as Ditto and Soundcharts, we can estimate that Spotify pays from $00.003 to $00.006USD per stream to the rights holder of the song. Doing the math, the artists on the lower end of the pay per stream might need 440 streams just to buy a box of Kraft dinner.
This can vary a lot and many things affect how much you get paid such as; the listener’s country, the artist’s royalty rate and whether the listener has a free account or a paid subscription (Spotify premium). But based on the pay per stream, we can predict that for every 100 streams, you can get around 50 cents. So you would need an estimated 1 000 000 streams to earn $5000.
Please remember that it definitely varies a lot and this will not be your exact pay per stream but it’s always good to know around how much each stream is worth, even if we are only able to give you an estimated answer. Also, you may not think that there’s a big difference between earning $00.003 per stream or earning $00.006 per stream but think about it, the artist earning $00.006 for every stream is earning twice as much money as the person with a pay per stream of $00.003. That can add up to a very significant difference.
Something important to consider
Don’t forget that you might have to split the money that you earn per stream with different people.
Artists have to pay their publisher, their record label and other entities for example the American Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers. Just take into consideration that the $00.003 or a bit more than artists earn per stream isn’t all going to go to the artist. Sadly, artists actually end up earning much less than $00.003- $00.006 for every stream.
This lowers the pay way more and it explains why Spotify doesn’t pay you enough to make a living off of your streams alone. Here’s an example to help you understand what we mean; if you have three entities to split your earnings with equally and you are on the lower end of the pay per stream, let’s say you earn $00.003 per stream, you’ll actually earn $00.001 per stream. That’s three times less. That cuts all your earnings big time so don’t forget about splitting the money when you’re looking at pay per streams of streaming platforms such as Spotify.
Here’s how much this artist earned off of Spotify streams last year
According to Business Insider, Zoë Keating, an independent cellist and composer shared exactly how much she earned in 2019 from Spotify, the platform on which she is streamed the most. In fact, she has been sharing her pay per stream from streaming services since 2012. She says that she earned $00.003 per stream after distributor fees from January 2019 to September of the same year.
Just to give you an idea on where her payout from Spotify stands compared to other streaming services, Keating earned 4 times more money from each stream on Apple Music than on Spotify. But, since she was streamed more on Spotify, she earned more off of Spotify than off of Apple Music. The money she earned from her music streams on Spotify couldn’t even cover her family’s health insurance premium, though. And the money she earned from Spotify was only 1000 dollars more than what she earned from Apple Music, even though she was streamed significantly more on Spotify.
The reason why it’s hard to predict how much you will earn per stream is because of the payment system that Spotify has in place. Some artists may get paid way more than others, even if both artists have the same number of streams. Chances are, if you are a well-known artist you will earn more per stream than an artist that is less popular. We put Spotify’s payout rate from $00.003 to $00.006 per stream because not all artists earn as little as $00.003 per stream, but many artists do.
In total, Zoë Keating earned $6,800 from Spotify alone last year. She said, “Down at the lower levels, no one knows what everyone else makes and no one knows what services pay. How can you make decisions if you don’t know what the numbers are?” She wants to bring awareness to the unfair payout that she has been receiving and living with for so long. She just wants the streaming platform’s system to change.
Another example we have of how much an artist earned on Spotify is Peter Frampton. He claims to have been paid $1,700 for 55 million streams of his song “Baby I Love Your Way”. Peter announced this on Twitter in 2018. He wrote “For 55 million streams of ‘Baby I Love Your Way’, I got paid $1,700. I went to Washington with ASCAP last year to talk to law-makers about this. Their jaws dropped and they asked me to repeat that for them.”
But how does Spotify determine how much to pay artists?
Spotify explained that “stream share” determines each artist cut on Spotify’s monthly revenue. Alan Galbraith who works in Spotify’s licensing department says that “One way to think about it is the way of divvying up a pie.
For instance, if there are a million eligible streams in a month and you have 100,000 streams in that month, you earn 10% of the revenue pool, or pie.” Some artists find the way this streaming service determines royalty pay for each artist unfair and claim that the listeners have no control over where their money goes and to whom. Spotify isn’t the only music platform that uses this payout system.
Spotify’s pay per stream, what do the artists think?
Many artists seem to have negative opinions on Spotify. Some major artists have given Spotify some really bad press. Many claim that Spotify rips off artists and doesn’t pay them what they have earned or deserve. Tons of indie artists say that Spotify’s system puts them at a disadvantage, and it’s not only indie artists that are complaining. Artists also claim that Spotify makes them adapt their music to fussy algorithms if they want to get more streams. Major artists such as Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke have taken their songs off of Spotify in the past to protest their unfair payouts, but their songs are now back on the streaming service.
Of course, many artists believe that Spotify is a great way to get their music heard all around the world. Spotify has an insane amount of artists and songs, so it can’t be all bad if millions of artists of all genres are uploading songs to the music streaming service. Spotify is the biggest streaming platform out there and there must be a reason. Artists can still earn a lot from the streaming service, but the pay varies extremely so you can earn $00.003 per stream, or $00.006 per stream. You’ll just have to try it out to see where your payout stands in that range and whether you are satisfied with what you’re earning.
At the end of the day, Spotify always pays artists for their songs and although it may not be the highest pay per stream out there, artists get the most exposure from Spotify.
Spotify has both pros and cons of uploading your music onto the streaming service. At around $00.003 or $00.006, there’s a very strong possibility you will not be able to make a living off of streams on Spotify, especially if you’re a new artist and are just starting out.
Be sure to have a plan B or put your music on other streaming services as well. Putting your music onto Spotify is definitely worth a go and then you’ll be able to see for yourself whether Spotify pays fairly and the way the streaming service promises to.