Music Royalties

How Much Does Apple Music Pay Per Stream? (Real Data)

How much does Apple Music pay per stream? It’s actually not bad at all, when compared to the competition such as YouTube Music and Spotify.

According to Apple themselves,

While royalties from streaming services are calculated on a stream share basis, a play still has a value. This value varies by subscription plan and country or region but averaged $0.01 for Apple Music individual paid plans in 2020. This includes label and publisher royalties.

Apple, 2020

Although that might not sound like a lot, $0.01 per play is pretty huge when compared to Spotify, which pays be roughly 23% of that figure. Getting paid $10 for every 1000 plays you earn adds up quickly, but I’m afraid that based on my real data, Apple is slightly overexaggerating the stats here. It is worth bearing in mind that the figure they quote includes label and publisher royalties.

Unfortunately with how the current digital music landscape works, some major labels have allegedly negotiated higher royalty rates than us independent peasants are worthy of. That’s why today I’m going to break down the real royalty figures from one of my songs, so that we can work out what an independent artist can actually expect to receive from Apple Music.

How Much Does Apple Really Pay Per Stream?

To find out my personal average rate, and what you can likely expect to get if you are an independent musician. I’ve used the royalty data directly downloaded from DistroKid, a music distributor I have used to release a lot of my music. To work out how much Apple Music Pays for a single stream, all I had to do was add the quantity (number of streams) together, add all the royalties together, and then divide total royalties by total streams.

Apple Music Royalty Data

So here’s how much you can really expect to be paid from Apple Music. Ready?


This equates to roughly $5.68 per 1000 streams. Not bad at all, and still more than Spotify, but I do feel that Apple is being a little optimistic when they claim the average is $0.01 per stream. I’m getting under 60% of that figure in 2022. This figure did actually surprise me a little when I went and worked it out, as the last time I calculated this figure it was considerably higher. Strange.

How Much Does Apple Music Pay For 1 Million Streams?

1 Million Streams!

Well Done! Your song is really taking off. You’ve just got a MILLION streams on Apple Music on your song. Don’t worry, you will be rewarded pretty nicely but you probably won’t be able to retire off it. Based on my own royalty data, you can expect to be paid approximately $5700 for 1 million streams. Part of what changes this figure is your demographics. Some countries have a lower fee for an Apple Music Subscription, so this likely makes a bit of a difference to how much you will get paid.

Who Pays More? Apple Music or Spotify?

There are two answers to this one. If we are comparing like for like, Apple Music pays more. If you got the same number of streams on both Apple Music and Spotify, then Apple Music will pay you considerably more than Spotify will at $6.00 roughly per 1000 plays. The other answer, which is the reality for me, is that Spotify technically pays me more. This is because my music is far more popular on Spotify than Apple Music, partly because the user base is much bigger. This means that despite Apple paying more than Spotify per stream, when you get your royalty payment, it’s likely that you will actually end up getting paid more by Spotify.

Can I Earn More Per Stream From Apple Music?

Well… No, not really. The only real way to increase how much you earn is to get more streams. It sounds brutal but the royalty rates are set by the streaming service companies, and if you don’t like the rates you’re given, then tough. There’s nothing you can really do about it. If you really, really oppose to how much you are getting paid per play then the only option you have really is to abstain from streaming services and just directly sell your music. I personally wouldn’t do this though as it will be much harder to increase your following and audience if you are doing this. The growth potential streaming services offer alone should be worth it for most independent musicians.

Why Apple Music Can Pay More

There are a ton of reasons as to why Apple Music are able to pay musicians more than many other streaming services. What it mainly comes down to is that Apple Music doesn’t really have a free version, unlike Spotify. Another big contributing factor is that their average listener may actually listen to fewer songs than the average Spotify listener, which means that the revenue per stream ratio is more favourable to artists on Apple Music. There are potentially other factors too which Apple aren’t entirely transparent about, such as whether Apple Music is run at a loss to support bringing in new users to their ecosystem.


So there you have, it, we’ve answered how much Apple Music pays per stream, per 1000 streams and per million streams. If you have scrolled down to the bottom to find the answer, it’s about $5.68 per 1000 streams. If you have any questions on this topic or the world of independent music releases, then leave a comment and I’ll try to answer any queries.