How Much Spotify Pays Per Stream and How to Earn More

  • Spotify typically pays between $ 0.003 and $ 0.005 per stream, which means you’ll need around 250 streams to make a dollar.
  • What you will get paid per Spotify stream depends on your distribution contract and your listener base.
  • If you want to earn more money from streaming, stream more music and apply to get your music placed on official Spotify playlists.
  • Visit Insider’s Technical Reference Library for more stories.

Over the past decade, several downloadable streaming platforms (also known as DSPs) have sprung up, including Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and Pandora. Spotify in particular has made a name for itself as a streaming juggernaut.

But how are the musicians doing? Despite all the perks Spotify offers listeners, they aren’t overly generous when it comes to paying artists. They are also not transparent about how much artists should expect to earn per stream.

There are many factors that affect how much you’ll get paid per stream on Spotify, including where your listeners live, whether they have a Spotify premium account, and what type of distribution contract you have.

Here’s what you need to know about payments on Spotify.

How much Spotify pays per stream

Sound engineer in studio

A single stream is worth less than a dime on Spotify.

track5 / Getty Images

According to Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), paid subscriptions have taken the place of album sales. And if physical sales weren’t tough enough, the RIAA also reported that the pandemic had cut revenue from physical products by 23%. With that portion of their revenue declining and in the face of industry-wide shutdowns of live events, music streaming revenue has become even more critical for artists.

Yet Insider found out that Spotify paid artists as little as $ 0.0033 per feed, with other sites reporting more than $ 0.0054. Translated, you will need about 250 feeds to make a dollar.

“That’s why rappers make their money from merchandise, promotions and features,” Brandon Pain, a 27-year-old New Jersey-based rap artist, told Insider.

This hasn’t always been the case – Spotify’s payment rates have changed over time. In 2014, they paid $ 0.00521 on average, but two years later the average rate fell to $ 0.00437. In 2017, the average pay rate was further reduced to around $ 0.00397, according to the artists rights site. The Trichordist.

How Spotify Streaming Royalties Work

Singer in recording booth.

Spotify royalties are different from traditional royalties in the way they are collected and distributed to musicians.

South_agency / Getty Images

Royalties are the payments that an artist receives from streams. Spotify Royalties are specifically distributed from the net revenue collected on Ads and Premium subscription fees.

Artists are paid monthly. When Spotify pays artists, they count the total number of streams for each of an artist’s songs and determine who owns each song and who distributes it. First, the rights holders get paid. Then the distributor is paid (this may be the same as the rights holder in some cases). And finally, you get paid.

“Each DSP has their payment, and it is the responsibility of your distribution company to get the payment correct. They help you set up and explain to you how much you get paid per feed and the royalty payment process,” said Bread.

Freelance artists and their managers generally use distribution services such as Tunecore Where Distrokid to put their music on Spotify. The greatest artists signed on major labels go through an internal process.

“Now that there are more outlets, this sector of the industry is starting to expand. That means costs are starting to come down,” said Sharlea Brookes-Keyes, director of Boston rapper Vintage Lee. “Tunecore makes 100% royalties [meaning they don’t take any of your streaming revenue], but you have to pay an annual membership fee of $ 50 for an album and $ 10 for a single. ”

How To Increase How Much You Earn Per Spotify Stream

A study conducted by Digital media Finland in 2017 focused on the pro-rata system used for Finnish Spotify Premium subscribers. This system pays rights holders based on how well their streams resist popular songs for a specified period of time.

The most popular artists stream more of their music, which means they earn more. So in order for artists to get more money, they need more flow.

The surest way to develop a fan base, many artists have found, is to release music regularly and often. A new masterpiece every year is great, but a sporadic release schedule will mean a smaller pool of listeners.

But other factors can also influence a musician’s income.

A group listening to music.

One of the easiest and most obvious ways to earn more on Spotify is to increase your fan base and the number of streams.

Hello everyone / Getty Images

Not all listeners are the same. Spotify Premium listeners pay more per stream than free tier listeners. And the pay-per-stream also changes depending on the country where the listener comes from; according to iGroove music distributor, US listeners will pay $ 0.0035 per stream, for example, while Italian listeners will pay $ 0.0019.

The role of Spotify’s 4 billion playlists shouldn’t be overlooked either. “Popularity and participation in their editorial playlists are two huge factors,” said director Brookes-Keyes. “[Vintage Lee’s] the song was already hot in the streets and worked relatively well, but when “NBA 2k18” came out [and it was put on the official playlist], his streams have grown and are still constant. “

RapCaviar, curated by Tuma Basa, is one of the most popular editorial playlists. His strategic curation helped propel artists to a wider audience and featured underground music, with Vulture even dubbing it “the most influential playlist in music”.

Caviar rap playlist

Spotify’s RapCaviar playlist currently has over 13 million subscribers.

Blanc d’Abbaye / Initiate

If the artists are on smaller playlists like Mellow Favorites, it’s still possible to upgrade to a bigger, more popular playlist like Chill R&B. Once an artist accesses a more notable playlist, it increases the likelihood that they will gain more followers and more streams.

In 2018, Spotify also presented its playlist submission tool. The feature gives artists the choice to submit unreleased music to Spotify, for a chance to put that music on a playlist as soon as it is released.

Once an artist chooses their track and submits it, they can tailor the song parameters to suit mood, style, genre, recording type, etc. This helps Spotify decide which editorial and algorithmic playlists your music belongs to and how to present the track to more fans.

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Victor L. Jones