How Much Does Spotify Pay per Stream: Everything You Need to Know

Discover the truth about Spotify's payout rates.
Discover the truth about Spotify’s payout rates.

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Let’s take a closer look at how much artists earn every time you press ‘play’ on Spotify.

Spotify is a key revenue source for many artists, making its payment policy crucial for supporting your favorite musicians.

However, with different factors influencing the numbers, calculating Spotify’s actual payout per stream can be confusing.

That’s why we researched more than a hundred testimonials from artists in and out of the US to determine how much artists earn on Spotify. Let’s dive in!

How Much Does Spotify Pay per Stream?

Spotify hasn’t officially revealed its per-stream rate, but our research combining more than a hundred testimonials from different artists found that Spotify is averaging a payout of $0.0032 per stream

Spotify Pay Per Stream Headphonesty Research Database
Spotify Pay Per Stream Headphonesty Research Database
For a look at our data, feel free to visit our spreadsheet of the Spotify artist testimonials, their links, and the amount each artist is said to be receiving.

However, this average rate may not be fully accurate, as Spotify states they use a streamshare payment model. They divide monthly profits by total plays and pay artists based on that figure.

Additionally, Spotify doesn’t pay artists directly. They pay track rights holders, who then compensate their artists.

How Are Spotify’s Streaming Payouts Calculated?

Streaming platforms usually have a fixed payout rate per stream multiplied by the stream count. So, if we use Spotify’s $0.0032 per stream rate, an album with 1,500,000 streams should earn $4,800.

Sample Spotify Payout computation
Sample Spotify Payout computation

On the other hand, with Spotify’s streamshare model, the payout per stream will depend on the monthly profits and total streams in a specific country. For example, if a track accounts for one in every 1,000 streams from Italy in June, the rights holders get 1/1000 of Spotify Italy’s June profits.

Royalties are paid monthly by Spotify. However, the timing and amount artists receive depend on their contract with rights holders. Indie artists usually keep all profits, while major labels take a cut for expenses like advertising and distribution.

Factors Affecting Spotify’s Streaming Payouts

While there are many variables involved, streaming payouts to artists depend primarily on the local market and user type. Here’s a quick look at each:

Free vs. Premium streams

User type affects artist earnings per stream, with payouts varying across streaming platforms due to different subscription models. On platforms like Spotify and Deezer, which offer free and premium plans, average payouts come from both subscriptions and ad revenue.

Average per-stream pay is typically a percentage of the platform’s total revenue. Higher platform revenue leads to higher per-stream pay for artists.

For context, a 2017 study reported Spotify’s Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for premium subscribers at $4.81, versus $0.51 for free streams. That said, even with equal streams, premium users contribute more revenue than free users.

Local streaming markets

Market conditions influence streaming payouts globally.

For example, a Spotify Premium subscription costs $10.99/month in the U.S. but roughly $3.99 in a smaller market like Indonesia. In this case, Spotify reduced its prices to compete with local services like Joox, which charges only $1.50/month.

Apple Music and YouTube Music have similarly adjusted their pricing, leading to smaller per-stream payouts for artists.

Spotify’s premium pricing ranges from $13.14/month in Denmark to $1.13/month in Turkey.

Pay-for-play features

Spotify takes a fee for boosting songs via Discovery Mode. While exact rates are undisclosed, some artists say they pay up to $0.50 per user click. This tool allows artists to select songs for paid inclusion in Spotify’s personalized playlist algorithm, boosting visibility and potential earnings.

However, the feature only works if listeners enjoy the promoted songs; otherwise, the algorithm stops recommending them.

The fee can be high relative to average streaming rates. And with no guaranteed results, it’s a risky investment for artists unsure of its value.

How Much Do Other Music Streaming Platforms Pay per Stream?

The table below shows artist earnings per stream and the number of streams needed to earn $1,000 on the different music streaming platforms.

PlatformPay per streamStreams to get $1,000
Apple Music$0.01100,000
Amazon Music$0.004250,000
Youtube Music$0.008125,000
For a stream to count toward an artist’s payout, it must be played for at least 30 seconds.

How do other music streaming platforms calculate streaming payouts?

Streaming services use various methods to determine royalties, leading to diverse payouts per stream. Here are the average rates for other major platforms:

FAQs About Streaming Payouts

Can artists live off music streaming payouts?

Unless they’re really famous, artists rarely make a living from music streaming, with indie artists particularly affected.

To illustrate, consider a minimum wage of $15 per hour, or $31,200 annually. Earning an annual minimum wage requires 10.4 million Spotify streams, not including expenses and deductions. To put it another way, an artist requires 312,500 streams to earn $1,000 at this rate, not counting fees, so the actual number could be higher.

Low streaming payouts have financially burdened many musicians. Even stars like Paul McCartney have advocated for a fairer streaming economy, as most revenue goes to big labels, leaving little for artists.

How can I increase my earnings from streaming platforms?

Artists can enhance streaming revenue by regularly releasing and promoting new music, targeting English-speaking markets for higher per-stream payouts, featuring tracks on popular Spotify playlists, and optimizing their Spotify presence using SEO tactics. This multi-faceted approach helps in growing the fanbase, increasing visibility, and boosting earnings.

Some artists buy Spotify plays to increase visibility and income. Though not considered ethical, strategic and limited use can improve your music’s reach and performance.

Why do so many musicians hate Spotify?

Many musicians criticize Spotify for its perceived inadequate pay-per-stream, arguing it reflects broader industry issues. They also feel compelled to use the platform due to a lack of alternatives and are concerned about working conditions within the streaming industry, all contributing to a general discontent towards Spotify and similar platforms.

💬 Conversation: 28 comments

  1. “ For songs under 5 minutes, the mechanical royalty rate is 9.1 cents per stream and 1.75 cents per minute for songs over 5 minutes.”
    This is not correct. This is 9.1 cents per sale not per stream

    1. You were right to not believe your eyes. No, it is not real. It is 0.012 (actually closer to 0.013 now), not 0.12. Tidal is still by far the best platform for supporting artists, but articles like this need to get their facts straight.

  2. Your math for the Justin Bieber song is wrong. You said mechanical royalties payout at 9.1 cents ($0.091) but you multiplied 17.4 million streams times 91 cents ($0.91). 17.4 million would only generate $1,583,400 not $15.4 million.

    1. The number for tidal in this article is FALSE. It is 0.012 usd per stream NOT 0.12!!!!!! Please fix this!

  3. I’ve never been paid from Qobuz ever. My music been out also spinning on there app since 2020 🤦🏿‍♂️

  4. Hi everyone! Thank you for bringing these inaccuracies to our attention and apologies for the mistake. We are investigating the matter and will be updating the article with the new & verified numbers, soon!

  5. So it’s $0.0033 per stream of original music.

    What % of that do you earn per stream for cover songs?

    1. it depends of your deal. if you dont have license to do a cover all the royalties will be for the copyright holders, if you have a license which mean you have the right monetize, then the total amount will be divide by x% for label (master recording rights)and x% for publishing (song compositions rights) then from the master recording the artist that is performing the song (in this case yourself) get a percentage and from song copyrights the compositors get another percentage.

  6. I have been on Pandora since 2007, I have over a half billion streams on my music there. A follower of mine sent me this article astonished at Pandora’s low payout. I feel like Pandora is continuously getting an undeserved badrap because people fail to research updated accurate information. I can vouch for my own payouts, as well as the the info is verified on the Copyright Board website. Please watch my TikTok explaining correct Pandora payouts.

  7. Very good.
    At least I’d learnt how much platforms pay. And may ideas.
    Thanks for the update.

  8. Please, you didn’t mention Audiomack and I want to also know what artist gets from download, likes and comments that’s if artist gets anything from the aforementioned. Thanks!

  9. Thanks for the article! What about Soundcloud? I’d also like to know if likes and comments monetarily help my favorite artists. I like to do that anyways.

  10. Hi, I live off my music royalties and here are some facts for everyone. Spotify is by far the lowest paying service at .002!! Napster is the highest at about 1 cent per stream. Amazon is at about .004 for USA streams. euro or british pound streams is .oo8. THIS GOES FOR ALL STREAMING, EUROPE PAYS ABOUT DOUBLE PER STREAM THAN USA. all the others are in mixed between .003 and .006.

  11. I’ve been loving Tidal for the last year or so and joined partly because of their move to fan-centred royalties. But all mention of it has recently been quietly removed from their website, and it is no longer mentioned as a feature of their Hi-Fi Plus tier. When I contacted them asking for clarification, they avoided the issue and kept directing me to the direct artist payouts (which are up and running, but are a separate thing entirely). I’ve downgraded my subscription to the Hi-Fi tier in disappointment.

    Still appreciate that they are (apparently) one of the best payers and love the service. But the transparency needs to improve.

    Would appreciate some more detailed insight as to where Tidal really are with fan-centred royalties.

  12. Mechanical royalties are only 9.1 when they’re downloads or physical copies like cd!s or vinyl. Your record label or distributor is obligated to pay you directly.
    When it comes to mechanicals in STREAMS it is only calculated by percentages of the service revenue involved in that particular period. Depending on what period you read this, the copyright, the CRJ’s may have changed the percentage.

  13. Spotify, or any other music streaming platform, does not have a fixed rate per stream. It is a percentage of total revenue divided by the total number of streams. For Spotify, this typically averages 0.33¢, but it is not a fixed rate.

  14. Spotify, or any other music streaming platform, does not have a fixed rate per stream. It is a percentage of total revenue divided by the total number of streams. For Spotify, this typically averages 0.33¢, but it is not a fixed rate.

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