This Is What iTunes Match Is Paying an Indie Band

The following is the payout an indie band is getting from iTunes Match.

It was posted by David Harrell of the Layaways.  Keep in mind that this is separate from the iTunes Store, which has a simple, 70 percent payout for each download.  Actually, iTunes Match still pays 70 percent of aggregated, annual $24.99 cloud-enabling fees, but each track receives a different payment based on factors like popularity, exchange rates, etc.

Add them up, and you’ve got two streams of revenue from Apple.

Band: The Layaways

Source: iTunes Match – Americas

November, 2011: $.00012767 per play

December, 2011: $.0012083 per play

January, 2012: $.0020231 per play

February, 2012: $.0025946 per play

Average Payout from Spotify: $.0041792 cents per play

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Note: These were handled through CD Baby, though these payouts are before the 9 percent commission.

9 Responses

  1. John

    where you get the $0.0041792 per play from?

    I’m tracking spotify payment at

    and the number is higher than that

    • paul

      That’s an average calculated over a longer period of time. Actually we’re seeing payouts in the 1/3 to 1/2 (ie, $.003 to $.005) range for Spotify, though I’m sure there are plenty of data points outside that range.


  2. Micol

    But iTunes match doesn’t allow people to listen to music that they didn’t already have. It’s kind of apples and oranges when comparing spotify and match.

  3. HansH

    What exactly is an iTunes Match play? When I play a song that’s in the Match Cloud on my iPhone, Match downloads the song to my phone. The file stays there so what about the next plays of the same song?

    If only the Match download creates revenue, it will never be much of an income source I guess.

    Isn’t it better to look at the number of “plays” instead of the rate?

    BTW Paul, why not link to the source of the data: ( Digital Audio Insider)

  4. Jeff Robinson

    Come on, are we arguing over thousandths of a penny? bwaaahahahahahahahahhaaa Streaming services blow. We know that.

  5. um

    Spotify pays crap, obviously. But why is iTunes Match even paying artists? All it does it take the music you already own and “put in the cloud”. That’s like having to pay a book author a monthly fee if you put the book into storage. This is not something that should require a license or permission from a copyright holder.

    • HansH

      You are right. I guess Apple wants to remain the sweethart of the big labels.

  6. Roger Bixley


    The “Americas” includes revenue from South America, which will artificially bring down the price per match.

    How about providing some US-only revenue so we can get a true sense of the actual rate?

  7. Robbie Fields

    On our iTunes directly distributed titles, U.S. iTunes Match revenues were nudging 2% of iTunes sales back in April. showing consistent monthly growth but have stalled since then.

    The 2% is comparable to Spotify U.S. revenues on a much broader catalog.

    The more interesting comparison is in Europe.

    The numbers for Spotify (Europe) and iTunes (Europe) are in the same ballpark, which is not saying much, as each represents circa. 1% each of our total digital revenues.

    We do ZERO to game the systems for higher payouts.

    Any free streaming service with pro rata revenue share(s) have me worried. At least with iTunes Match, they are only paying this streaming income on titles in their normal download catalog. I expect that they will detect abuse, such as titles achieving 1000% of streaming revenue vis a vis paid downloads. Remember, we’re at 2% on a clean comparison on deep catalog. What methodology can/will Spotify use?