Music Royalties

How Much Money is 1 Million Streams on Apple Music?

If you’ve already read my previous article on the royalty figures an independent artist can expect from Apple Music, then you’ll probably already be aware that in the music streaming world, Apple Music pays well. From my personal royalty data which I dove head-first into for my last article, I’ve found that Apple Music pays almost double the rate that Spotify pays per stream.

To work out how much money 1 million streams on Apple Music is worth, we need to take a look at how much they pay on average per single stream, and then multiply that by a million. What is worth remembering throughout is that your own earnings may be a little different to mine, because a few factors come into play when determining the value of a stream, such as what country the listener is in. This is because the subscription cost of Apple Music varies depending on a person’s country.

With all that being said, here is (in my personal experience) how much Apple Music will likely pay you from 1 million streams on their service.

Apple Music Paid me About $5700 for 1 Million Streams.

Is it more or less than you expected? Honestly, I’m fairly happy with the royalty pay-outs Apple Music have given me over the last several years. When you dive into the big spreadsheets your music distributor (hopefully) provides access to, you will, like me, probably find that Apple Music is paying about double what Spotify pays for the same numbers. Based on this data, I thought it would be good to answer the question: “how many streams on Apple Music is a full time job?”

I couldn’t quite work out the most eloquent way to format that question, but you know what I’m trying to say.

How Many Streams on Apple Music Do I Need to Quit my Job?

According to,

Median individual income in the United States was $44,225. It was up from $43,206 in 2020.


Of course, for each individual’s life situation the figure may vary. If you live in a cheaper country, or have fewer expenses, it will be far easier to quit your 9-5 from music than those of you with higher incomes and perhaps children. So, for the sake of argument, I think the median US salary figure of $44,225 is a good figure to go off of.

44,225 / 5700 = 7.76, meaning that to make the average median salary from Apple Music streams alone, you would need to receive about 7,700,000 streams in a year from your music.

This equates to about 21,100 plays per day.

This isn’t a small figure at all, especially since Apple Music has a smaller user base than Spotify, meaning you would likely need to capture a larger percentage of overall streams.

That being said, 21,100 daily plays is absolutely achievable given the right work ethic. Yes, 21k daily plays on a single song is challenging and would put you in an elite category of musicians, but with greater volume comes greater ease of achieving this figure.

Below is a table showing how as discography increases the average number of daily streams per song required decreases. It’s common sense that simply making more music helps, but it’s always fun to look at the numbers anyway.

Number of SongsAvg. Daily Streams Required
500 (less than Bob Dylan)42
1000 (less than Johnny Cash)21
2000 (less than Buckethead)10
5000 (less than Lil B)4
10000 (probably how many Merzbow has made)2
20000 (Approx Matt Farley’s Discography)1

Once you’re hitting the Johnny Cash-sized discography this whole streaming malarkey becomes a lot easier to make a living from, assuming your music doesn’t completely suck.

So there you have it, how much money is 1 Million Streams on Apple Music? About $5700.