What Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, Google Play, and Microsoft Groove Are Paying Artists…

What Is Apple Music et al Paying Artists?

What are streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube paying artists?  Here’s what one indie label found out.

Sadly, most artists and labels have no idea what they should be getting paid by streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, and none of these services are offering any guidance.  So, we started publishing whatever royalty statements we could get our hands on (send us yours at [email protected] and help the artist community out).

Most recently, we’ve been working with an independent r&b, rap/hip-hop label to test the waters on a range of services.  Alongside some low-lying payments, they also discovered some outrageously high per-stream payments from Tidal and Microsoft Groove (who are now paying several dollars per stream, and no, that’s not a typo, scroll down).

After a test on their catalog, here are the resulting payments that came through.  These are before distributor INgrooves took their cut and applied other costs.  All of these are per-stream payments.

 

Royalty Payouts

 

You’ll notice that Microsoft Groove is not part of this graph.  The reason is that their payouts are so high right now, it would make it impossible to see the relatively tiny payouts from everyone else (scroll down and you’ll see what I mean).

And, here’s a more complete breakdown of everything captured.  Aggregated per-stream payouts across all countries at the top, with specific countries listed where data was available.

Apple Music (paid):

Overall: $0.0119

Australia: $0.01032

Canada:  $0.00773

France:  $0.01356

Germany:  $0.01056

Greece:  $0.01150

Indonesia:  $0.00801

Italy:  $0.01380

Japan: $0.01267

Kazakhstan:  $ 0.00988

Mexico:  $ 0.00460

New Zealand:  $ 0.01166

Singapore: $0.009594

South Africa:  $ 0.005599

Switzerland:  $ 0.01914

United Kingdom: $0.015994

United States:  $ 0.01105

Apple Music (free trial):

Overall:  $ 0.001703

Australia:  $ 0.001953

Canada:  $ 0.001741

Germany:  $ 0.002076

Mexico:  $ 0.000965

Netherlands:  $0.002421

Portugal:  $ 0.001386

Russian Federation:  $ 0.000425

Singapore:  $ 0.001585

South Africa:  $ 0.002256

Turkey:  $ 0.000695

United Kingdom:  $ 0.00252

United States:  $ 0.001985

Google Play Music

Overall:  $ 0.008516

Germany: $0.009078

Switzerland:  $0.01317

United Kingdom: $0.01519

United States: $0.007459

Spotify (subscription)

Overall:  $ 0.006111

Costa Rica:  $ 0.004420

Germany:  $ 0.008198

Mexico: $0.001621

New Zealand:  $ 0.007034

Norway:  $ 0.004889

Peru:  $0.003587

Spain:  $0.003212

Turkey:  $ 0.002988

United Kingdom: $0.01194

United States: $0.007339

Spotify (free)

Overall: $0.001348

Argentina:  $ 0.000109

Australia: $0.0001169

Brazil:  $ 0.000243

Canada:  $ 0.000773

Dominican Republic:  $ 0.000120

Finland:  $ 0.000830

Germany:  $ 0.000543

Hong Kong:  $ 0.000295

Mexico: $ 0.001621

New Zealand: $ 0.000656

Peru:  $ 0.000103

Spain:  $ 0.003212

Sweden:  $ 0.001016

United Kingdom:  $ 0.001352

United States:  $ 0.001437

YouTube

United States:  $ 0.00001212

(only ‘United States’ appeared in the statement).

Microsoft Groove

United States: $4.69

(only ‘United States’ appeared in the statement).

30 Responses

      • Jon

        What month was that YouTube number representing? Ad rates vary greatly from month to month. What company was monetizing the stream? Do they do direct ad sales? What was the demographic information of that stream? Different viewers get shown different ads at different rates based on their ad tolerance.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          “Different viewers get shown different ads at different rates based on their ad tolerance”

          Yeah, but 1% or less is not likely.

          Reply
        • Paul Resnikoff
          Paul Resnikoff

          > What month was that YouTube number representing?

          >> May 2016

          > What company was monetizing the stream? Do they do direct ad sales?

          >> No idea. Looks like some channel was setup, given the payment, but don’t know more than that. Can check.

          > What was the demographic information of that stream?

          >> Not sure.

          Reply
          • Me

            If this is from the distributor/aggregator statement then it’s not ad revenue, it’s streaming revenue for the sound recording based on content matching.

  1. Anonymous

    Mexico paying 3x as much on Spotify free than Spotify subscription. How many of these numbers are you mistyping??

    Reply
  2. Me

    For comparison, here are our average rates for May 2016 (U.S.):

    Google: $0.006879
    Microsoft: $0.035325
    Spotify Subscription: $0.005421
    Spotify Free: $0.00099
    Youtube Free: $0.00401
    Youtube Subscription: $0.007136
    Apple Music Family Paid: $0.0083
    Apple Music Individual Paid: $0.009721
    Apple Music Family Trial: $0.001688
    Apple Music Individual Trial: $0.003768

    Reply
  3. Versus

    The YouTube number is indeed horrid.
    Isn’t the real number probably even worse?
    The calculation assumes YouTube is counting every play. But the ContentID system is far from perfect, and it probably misses lots of plays, such as those within albums, mixes, or with dialogue or other effects, and those intentionally modified.

    Reply
  4. Adrien

    The numbers for google are not right.
    Google play Music : The current statutory mechanical royalty rate is $.091 (9.1 cents) per song per unit for compositions up to five minutes (5:00) in length. For songs over five minutes in length, the rate is based on the track length. The current is $.0175 (1.75 cents) per minute (or fraction of a minute). For instance, if your track is 7:34 minutes long, the mechanical rate would be 8 x $.0175 = $0.14.

    This can be found here : https://support.google.com/googleplay/artists/answer/1712984?hl=en

    Reply
    • Me

      This is for mechanical royalties, which is for publishing. The rates being referred to in this article are for sound recordings.

      Reply
    • Ari Herstand
      Ari Herstand

      9.1 cents is only for a download – not stream. And that’s for publishing royalties (for the composition) not label royalties (sound recording – the “master”). The “per stream” mechanical royalty rate (for the composition) is significantly lower. Nearly 1/10 what the sound recording rate is. HFA has put together charts to help you understand how to calculate mechanical royalty rates for subscription streaming here. It’s not as easy as 9.1 cents per download.

      For clarity, these numbers are for the label (sound recording) royalties. The publishing royalties (for the composition – for the songwriters who wrote the song, not performed it) are called mechanical royalties and are significantly lower and paid separately to the publishing company (not the label).

      Reply
  5. Royal Wade Kimes

    This may be the saddest thing in print I’ve ever witnessed in my music career. Chet Atkins once said that a record label can not stay open on single track mechanical sales alone, he was right, which means writers and publishers cannot make their nut either. Exception would be the lotto winner having a radio single. Mechanicals have dwindled, and these streaming rates are past anemic. It’s become a joke and one would cry if he did not laugh. The art form of the creator has been stolen by he kings of streaming and technology emperors. Unless these rates are seriously raised no one will be around long. Nashville songwriters are nonexistent already. Publishers are closing and some are being bought out by the BIG PUBS, and many of the once great studios are closing shop. If Microsoft Groove can pay a high rate it stands to reason the other streamers can pay at least a decent rate. It is embarrassing for John Doe public to know we the creator are being treated like a dog on the street, hunting for any scrap someone will hand out. A decent rate for streaming should be .25 cents to a dollar. That may seem high to some, but when mechanicals are finally a thing of history, you the creator won’t think it even enough. Someone somewhere that has the power to change things has to at some point step forward and right the wrong being done to the creators. After all we create one of the most precious things the world has ever known and enjoyed… music.

    Reply
    • Tim

      You are right. If Microsoft can pay, so can Apple and Google.

      They don’t because they are greedy and they get away with it because our corrupt government sits back lets it happen and does nothing.

      Reply
  6. Steve

    I totally believe that the system is definitely broken. The fleecing of music is stronger than ever. Being an independent artist makes me want give up music completely. Frustrated and aggravated of being wronged wasn’t the reason for creating music. If there was only a way where I could give my music away and that nobody could benefit from it except the listeners, now that would awesome!

    Reply
  7. Johnny Snow

    in a nutshell, the basic minimum LOWEST standard rate SHOULD be: $1 per 320 MP3 download / $2 per WAV / $0.05 per stream.. these rates should only ever GO UP as everything else does based on cost of living. otherwise, artist and consumer alike, we’re all doomed. no money = bankrupt artist = disappointed fan because the music maker they love ran out of money for survival, much less enough to make the next hit and so has gone bye bye. and with the trickle down effect, all areas of the industry suffer, eventually closing their doors for good. it’s lose lose all around. BUT! of course, somebody is always laughing to the bank… the only people making any money (and its BIG 8 figure annual money) under the current regime are the 1% poster child, major label stock holder and tech CEO (oh and lets not forget about the fvcking torrent site owners). indeed it is the wild wild west, it is highway robbery of the utmost degree right in broad daylight, right in front of the cops, caught on video etc etc etc and yet nobody is doing a damn thing about it. the simple fact that our govts. have refused to do anything about the billions of dollars in annual IP theft is alarming to say the least. they have failed us all. we NEED big change and we need it now. period.

    Reply
  8. JS

    OK so lets not sugar coat this anymore. in a nutshell, the basic minimum LOWEST standard rate SHOULD be: $1 per 320 MP3 download / $2 per WAV / $0.05 per stream.. these rates should only ever GO UP as everything else does based on cost of living. otherwise, artist and consumer alike, we’re all doomed. no money = bankrupt artist = disappointed fan because the music maker they love ran out of money for survival, much less enough to make the next hit and so has gone bye bye. and with the trickle down effect, all areas of the industry suffer, eventually closing their doors for good. it’s lose lose all around. BUT! of course, somebody is always laughing to the bank… the only people making any money (and its BIG 8 figure annual money) under the current regime are the 1% poster child, major label stock holder and tech CEO (oh and lets not forget about the fvcking torrent site owners). indeed it is the wild wild west, it is highway robbery of the utmost degree right in broad daylight, right in front of the cops, caught on video etc etc etc and yet nobody is doing a damn thing about it. the simple fact that our govts. have refused to do anything about the billions of dollars in annual IP theft is alarming to say the least. they have failed us all. we NEED big change and we need it now. period.

    Reply
  9. Teddy Burton

    You guys are such whiners. Don’t use those systems if you don’t like the rates. Visit aoor.gq for more solutions. xdrcft

    Reply
  10. Brian Rawlings

    This is a good start Paul, but, to this needs to be substantially quantified and explained. The comment about mechanicals and the responses are a good indication that the parties involved don’t even understand the terms yet. The fact that so many of the comments are anonymous tells a story in and of itself. People are scared of the labels etc so they can’t speak openly and freely. Still a sad state of affairs.

    Reply
  11. Kevin

    The solution is oviously to actively promote Groove over the rest of these streaming services. That’s why I ended my Spotify Subscription and went With Groove. I really see no reason to pick Spotify over groove. Well, actually, the one thing spotify does have over Groove is the fact that most People use Spotify and therefore sharing playlists and so on would be easier. However, I’d rather not have the Music industry die just for that minor convenience.

    Think about it. If I like a song enough, I wouldn’t be surprised to know that I played it over 100 times, that’s easily 3 dollars with Groove to the artist on my behalf, for that song.

    However, forcing me to buy songs would’ve just lead to me listening to free “covers” by good artists. Or pirate. So in one sense, legal streaming services is a good thing, if they do at the very least pay the artist as much as Groove does.

    Reply

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