If you’re in the music business, you’ve probably seen this infographic from 2010, which starkly contrasts payouts from older formats like CDs and iTunes downloads with streaming formats like Spotify.
Well, a lot has changed in two-and-a-half years. On the indie and DIY artist level, streaming payouts are steadily improving, at least on a percentage level, according to information shared by indie labels and bands like Uniform Motion. Unfortunately, that improvement is not being felt by most major label artists: according to a recent analysis by industry attorney Steve Gordon, most major label artists see nothing from their Spotify streams, outside of the biggest superstars.
Other sources for this updated infographic include Chuck D, whose lawyers recently spilled the beans on depressingly threadbare ringtone and download payouts from the majors. We also tossed in vinyl, which seems to be the breadwinner if you can scale it (even after all the costs). Enjoy!
Please note that indie label and artist payouts on Spotify and Rhapsody are purposely left equal, simply because these are rough figures based on information that has been shared with us (not company-confirmed information). Rhapsody appears to have a fixed per-stream payout, but label pass-throughs are another animal entirely.
Regarding publishing payouts, this assumes controlled compositions from artists (meaning, they own both recording and publishing copyrights). In situations like iTunes payouts, major labels pay publishers from their cut (or at least that’s the idea).
And, if you want to dig into some of the source data, it’s here.