Last week, financial filings revealed that the average Spotify employee makes approximately $168,747 a year. But what would an artist have to sell or stream to meet that number?
This is an update of a famous infographic by Information Is Beautiful from a few years ago. That was a shocking (and depressing) look at what a modern-day artist needed to make the equivalent of a minimum wage, one that raised serious questions about the ability of artists to make ends meet.
In this scenario, we’ve increased the bar substantially above that mark, and calculated how many CDs, iTunes downloads, or streams would be required to live like a Spotify employee.
Here’s the methodology we employed:
(1) CDs: Assumes a very healthy $10 price for a CD, which is considered generous in this market (at least on a regular basis); approximate $0.50 production, shipping, etc. per unit assumed.
(2) Bandcamp: Using their standard 15% cut.
(3) Label cuts: these vary and label accounting is frequently opaque; we went with an estimate of about 10% payout on CDs. On streams, you’re lucky to get anything.
(4) Spotify streams (copyright 100% controlled): Using an average per-stream royalty rate of $0.004891, based on our analysis of a band with more than 1 million Spotify streams over a three year period.
(5) Spotify streams for songwriters: based on a per-stream rate of $.00058 as calculated by Trichordist author David Lowery.