There is much debate online around the topic of how much Spotify pay its artists per stream. I’ve heard all sorts of figures from a low as $0.001 all the way up to $0.01. But how much does Spotify Really pay per stream? In Reality, I have found Spotify pays $0.0023 per stream on average. Not even a penny per stream.
I’ve been releasing music independently to Spotify for over 4 years now, through a number of different online music distributors like DistroKid and Landr. How much does Spotify really pay per stream? What causes Spotify to pay me less or more? Hopefully this article will help fully cover all your questions on Spotify pay.
Spotify Pays Artists About $0.002 Per Stream
Here’s the short answer. Royalties are payed by Spotify every single time your song is streamed. Based on 36,000 rows of my own data the average Spotify pays per stream is $0.002260685374. Expect to earn between $0.002 and $0.004 per stream you receive on Spotify.
What Changes How Much Spotify Pays Per Stream?
There are quite a few factors which the level of payment from Spotify depends on:
- Music Distributor Cut – Some music distribution services take a percentage of your royalty income.
- Spotify Revenue – The royalty payment is based on how much Spotify themselves receive from premium subscriptions. This number can vary from month to month
- Spotify Streaming Total – If more songs are listened to in a month and Spotify’s revenue is the same, the money is split between more streams. The more total streams Spotify receives (not just you but everyone’s music combined), the lower the royalty per stream will likely be
- The country of origin. From my personal royalty data, it seems that streams from certain countries pay more than others. This is likely because the cost of a premium Spotify membership varies depending on the country you live in. For example in the US and the UK it is more expensive than India.
This is why although I can give you an exact figure, you unfortunately aren’t able to bank on it as the figure does vary over time and the demographic of your audience can make a difference too. For example, if most of your streams are from South America and most of your fans don’t have Spotify premium, you will receive considerably less than someone who has mainly US/European fans who have premium.
Where Does This Figure Come From?
To get this figure, I used the royalty data from the last year from one of the music distribution accounts I have. I totalled all the streams received, totalled all the income received and divided total earnings by number of streams.
How Much of a Difference Does Demographics Make?
Based on the royalty data I am able to see, I am not able to see whether a listener has Spotify Premium or not. I can, however, look at the country of origin for my streaming data. Lets take a look at how much it varies.
For example, lets look at this row. This was the total streams in one month for one song, which came from IN(India). For 61 streams I received less than a single cent in royalties.
On the other hand, here is another row showing some streams I received from US listeners. For less than half the streams I was paid over 10 times more. So there you have it, demographics play a large part in determining how much Spotify will pay you per stream. You will likely end up with a huge range of countries where your songs are listened to, but the language in which they are written determines a large part of this. As an English speaker, most of my audience is from the UK, US and Australia.
Can I Earn More Per Stream on Spotify?
Honestly, probably not. You can’t choose how much Spotify pays you per stream on your music. Instead of worrying about the individual figure, I would instead work on getting more streams as this is the part you do have some control over. Release more music to streaming services, interact with your fans and build a presence on social media. This is what will make a difference to your bottom line when it comes to your earnings from streaming services like Spotify.
Do Independent or Signed Artists Get Paid More on Spotify?
This is a hard one to answer, because there isn’t necessarily a concrete answer either way. On one hand, some major labels have negotiated improved pay per stream for their artists, but it’s unlikely that after the labels take their cut that the major label signed musicians actually end up being paid more per stream than an independent artist. What it really depends on too is what the terms of their record deal are. Some people will be receiving the majority of streaming revenue if they are lucky enough to command that much power, but even receiving 50% would be a miracle with how cutthroat some labels are to their artists. I would bet that independent artists receive more per stream, but the chances of an independent artist breaking into 10s of millions of streams on Spotify is relatively slim.
Who Pays More Per Stream – Apple Music or Spotify?
Without a doubt, Apple Music pays significantly more per stream than Spotify. To read my article on the figures Apple Music pay per stream, check out my article on that here. You are, however, more likely to end up being paid more by Spotify in the long run because it has a much larger user base than Apple Music in 2022. Spotify is almost twice as popular! This means you will likely receive more streams on Spotify, but get paid more per individual stream by Apple Music.
Conclusion – So How Much Does Spotify Pay Per Stream?
After all that, I’m sad to say the answer varies. Based on my personal royalty income, I would expect to receive around $0.002 per stream if your digital music distributor doesn’t take a cut. There is sadly a chance this figure may go down in the short term, as with our current economic climate I certainly would not be surprised if we see some people cancel their Spotify subscriptions, like we have already seen with Netflix.
On the plus side, we haven’t seen this yet! According to statista, the number of paying (premium) Spotify accounts continues to grow quarter over quarter, with over 185 million premium accounts reported in Q2 of 2022.