A Quick Summary of What Streaming Services Are Paying Artists…

If you only care about exposure, then consider this icing on top.  If you don’t really need the exposure, then none of this really makes any sense. Here’s a quick rundown of the what the biggest streaming services are currently paying musicians and content owners, compiled for Digital Music News by Gryffin Media.

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Infographic courtesy of Gryffin Media.  Published while listening to J. Cole’s latest, Born Sinner.

76 Responses

    • Me

      But Rdio has a very small number of users. Of all of these, the average user is going to make the most money off of Spotify.

      • Me

        *I meant to say the average artist would make the most off of Spotify.

        • Anonymous

          Except that the average artist obviously is better off avoiding Spotify. :)

          Nobody buys what they can stream for free…

          • R.P.

            Opinion. Some people do buy even if they can get it for free. Those ads can get annoying.

          • Anonymous

            Just curious — which strategy do you use in your own line of work? Do you…

            1) give your work away for free? Or do you…
            2) sell it?

            Beyoncé chose #2 and boycotted streaming. Result: 430,000 albums sold on release day.

          • GGG

            Yes, if artists just boycott streaming everyone will sell 430K records!

          • Anonymous

            430,000 was yesterday’s news. :)

            iTunes has confirmed sales of 828,773 units (US + UK) after just three days. Without streaming.

            Sorry, but there’s no need for Spotify anymore.

          • GGG

            And that has nothing to do with the rollout/reaction/Beyonce and everything to do with leaving it off Spotify? Give a rest, dude, you’re clueless.

          • Esol Esek

            I wish these pissing matches would end, and someone would explain to me why Spotify is worth the black hole of handing rights over to, as it pays squat. Since it’s obviously only promotion, does it do that job at least, or not really? By the way, the Swedes are no longer neutral as far as I’m concerned. When it comes to rape charges against Julian Assange and PIrate Assbay, I’ve had it with this country, living off of the sweat of others.

            Read up on old Sweden, they’ve become one of the world’s biggest arms manufacturers and buddy-buddy with the Pentagon now.

    • zumic

      But what does less than $.01 per stream mean? That’s the least precise number on the whole graphic.

  1. Anonymous

    Meanwhile, Beyoncé boycotts streaming in all together.

    Now that’s interesting…

    • TuneHunter

      …and she is one of the few big names with honor and long term vision.

      Lets add her to “Thom Yorke hope list”!

      Streaming in current form leads only to REDUCTION of music industry goodwill from 100+ billion by 2020
      to just 30 – 40B range by 2025.

      • Anonymous

        “Lets add her to “Thom Yorke hope list”!”

        Yes. Good to see she’s doing so well (see below).

        This will obviously motivate even more artists to avoid streaming.

        • Casey

          So they are also now going to withhold from Amazon and Wal-Mart? I don’t think so. She didn’t withhold from anyone, she simply made an exclusivity deal with Apple. Something countless artists have been doing for years. Other services and stores get the album once the deal ends. Although as has been brought up in a different place, not many services have the capability of releasing a video album. So who knows where the album will end up.

          • GGG

            Woah, you mean one of the most popular and beloved female artists of all time generated a lot of buzz by putting an album up unannounced?!?!?

            Thanks for that hard-hitting news report, Anonymous!

          • Anonymous

            “Thanks for that hard-hitting news report, Anonymous!”

            My pleasure! Now, here’s the REALLY fascinating part:

            Her album sold more than 430,000 copies on the first day!

            Compare that to her previous album that sold 310,000 copies — the first week!

            Die streaming, die! :)

          • Casey

            You are forgetting the fact that her last album released prior to the launch of Spotify in the US. Back when on-demand streaming was still in it’s infancy and a rounding error when it came to market-share.

            Of course her new album’s hype has nothing to do with the fact that it is a unique video album by one of the most famous artists in the world and as a result has been on the front of every news outlet.

          • GGG

            No way, man. All the kids are talking about how Beyonce is so cool because she decided to not put the album on Spotify right away. It’s the hot conversation!

          • Anonymous

            “All the kids are talking about how Beyonce is so cool because she decided to not put the album on Spotify”

            OK, I wasn’t aware of that. But I do know why all the kids buy her album.

            Because they can’t stream it. :)

          • GGG

            I was being sarcastic, obviously. No kids, and 99% of non-music-employed people, give a shit about artists’ relations to Spotify unless it’s being upset they aren’t on there.

            And they (most likely not kids, first of all) bought it because she has enough fans to get that number, and the plan was a great one for taking advantage of social media and peoples’ desire to be included. (as a percentage of her fan base it’s probably still shit sales). Streaming or not, nothing substantial would have changed.

            Also, notice you haven’t responded to the long post about Milt someone made in the other thread. Why so silent all of a sudden when someone who clearly actually knew what his involvement was steps in? Coward.

          • Anonymous

            “notice you haven’t responded to the long post about Milt someone made in the other thread.”

            Sorry GGG, I thought that thread were as dead as the original Napster. :) And I fail to see its relevance for this discussion.

            Not sure which commenter you’re referring to either, as there isn’t any new relevant information in any of those threads.

            But here are the only facts anybody needs to know about what happened in Napster under Mr. Olin’s watch:

            * Napster stole music from Metallica, Dr. Dre and Madonna.
            * Napster refused to remove the stolen content.
            * Napster was sued and sued again.
            * Napster lost in court and appealed — and lost again.
            * Napster went bankrupt.

            Again, none of that is relevant to this thread…

          • R.P.

            No they aren’t. Kids don’t talk about Beyonce’s music these days. Cite your sources please.


          • Anonymous

            “Back when on-demand streaming was still in it’s infancy”

            Yeah, it was the dark ages — Spotify didn’t exist, and nobody knew about YouTube in the summer of 2011.

          • Casey

            In the summer of 2011, Youtube was still in quite a few legal battles. Finding the entire copy of her album on there would not have been easy and like a lot of music at the time, being taken down regularly. Not to mention that people didn’t expect to find full albums on Youtube, only the popular singles.

    • Anonymous

      The first result of Beyoncé’s streaming boycott:

      80,000 albums sold in three hours.

  2. HansH

    Nice graph, but I doubt if their data are correct. If I look at my statements Deezer and Spotify rates are more or less the same and Spotify rates can be as “high” as $0.01.

    Why did they leave out Rhapsody?

    • Casey

      I doubt the Slacker one is correct. For free, yes. For paid it would be more. They use a variety of licensing methods. Who knows that their songs that utilize the direct deals (caching/on-demand) are worth, but their Plus/Premium Sound Exchange radio streams would be $0.0022. Same with Pandora One. Paid subscriptions pay higher rates to Sound Exchange.

      Rhapsody would probably be equal to Rdio or more.

    • TuneHunter

      Hans, besides he streaming cash-flow what is your annual take home for spreading this streaming Eldorado propaganda?

  3. David

    The Spotify figures are inconsistent with Spotify’s recent ‘transparency’ statement. Not that I trust that either.

  4. tippysdemise

    Some strangeness in this chart. Why wouldn’t “cost to listeners” be normalized as either monthly or yearly for all services? Also, surely no one is paying 30% to a third-party aggregator. The chart seems to be slanted towards emphasizing the percentage taken out by “aggregators/distributors” but there are percentage-free options available that are not mentioned (which is not a huge point other than it makes the presentation feel slightly biased). Spotify is clearly the best option here – Deezer has yet to contend with licensing the US, and Rdio is tiny.

    • Anonymous

      The question is why were Rhapsody and Muve excluded. With both having over 1 million US subscribers they should be paying out high rates.

  5. Gary

    It’s per stream for one person listening…it shouldn’t be more than it is. If they want to earn a lot, they need to be streamed a lot (and have a good contract with their record company). Which is no different than how it was, the money just comes in differently. At least they get something. Before I started using spotify and torch music I pirated everything…now I do it legal. So there’s that effect.

    • wow, thanks

      “At least they get something.”

      Yeah, they should just be thrilled that Gary’s not pirating their music anymore. He might have even bought a tee shirt from them, too!

  6. Matt

    How do you figure Beyonce is “boycotting” streaming services Anon? It IS on iTunes Radio and the album is currently EXCLUSIVE to their site with a full album purchase (you cannot buy tracks individually). Availability for individual track purchases and to other retail sites expands on December 20th and since she is on Columbia Records, it’s unlikely that the record will not be on streaming sites as of that date.

    • Anonymous

      “How do you figure Beyonce is “boycotting” streaming services Anon?”

      Hm, let’s see…

      Could it be because she boycotts all streaming services (as in her album can’t be streamed on any streaming service)? :)

      And no, iTunes Radio ain’t streaming. Do you know the difference between internet radio and streaming, and do you know why the difference is crucial?

  7. FarePlay

    Ah, the hubris of those who say that if artists withhold their music from streaming they will disappear. When the reality is that people will always seek out what they truly want. Do you really think people would give a s… about Spotify if enough artists pulled their material?

    Why some put the internet ahead of creative content really makes no sense, but tech does have the money to fund and promote whatever benefits their business. Whoever has the loudest bullhorn is the one that is heard. Until they aren’t anymore.

    • Anonymous

      “Ah, the hubris of those who say that if artists withhold their music from streaming they will disappear.”

      Indeed, this has been a funny weekend. And a beautiful one for everybody who loves music.

    • GGG

      I have literally never heard one person say if they withhold their music from Spotify they will disappear.

  8. Claes Olson

    Wow! Since the payment is based on the amount of streams/listeners – and there aren’t that many streaming listeners yet (except in Sweden and Norway), most of these are indeed good figures. MUCH better than payment for the same amount of radio listeners, for instance. Good news!

    • Anonymous

      Still, nothing beats Beyoncé’s release strategy:

      Boycott streaming all together — and sell 430,000 albums on release day!

      • GGG

        It is a brilliant strategy. But it works because she’s Beyonce. It played into the immediacy of social media, the immediacy of people’s reactions to social media, and everyone’s desire to be included. Beyonce is also one of the most universally loved, unoffensive pop stars of all time, certainly modern day.

        I don’t even think Adele or Mumford, the highest sellers of the last couple years, could have pulled off those numbers with the same thing. It has very little to do with streaming. It has everything to do with Beyonce being Beyonce, and her being a mainstream darling, a blogosphere darling, etc.

        • Anonymous

          “It is a brilliant strategy. But it works because she’s Beyonce.”

          And yet, I’ll bet you’re considering non-streaming release weeks for your artists.

          “I don’t even think Adele or Mumford, the highest sellers of the last couple years, could have pulled off those numbers with the same thing”

          If I were you, I wouldn’t use a Spotify holdout such as Adele to prove that point… :)

          • GGG

            Well, the thing is there isn’t’ enough research and/or data that I am privy to to make a cut and dry decision. If I had an artist at even half of Beyonce’s popularity I would consider keeping it off streaming for about a week or so to make sure I can take advantage of brand recognition and the people who will just be like “fuck it, I’ll buy the record.” I have no issue with short withholdings. At the same time, getting something on streaming quickly also most likely cuts down on piracy immensely. You could certainly argue you are probably cannibalizing a bit, but at the same time, you’re monetizing people’s lack of desire to actually buy the record. No matter how much you want to argue otherwise, there has ALWAYS been huge portions of artists’ fan bases that never bought music. So between people who were going to steal and people who just want to listen but wouldn’t have bought it, streaming could open up a substantial revenue stream. Beyonce has 53M Facebook fans, I’m sure far, far more than that in reality. So she sold to less than 1% of her fan base so far (yes, in one day, so let’s see how it sustains).

            I haven’t seen any noticeable difference in artists of similar size of the ones I work with. I know/know of artists that have kept their stuff of Spotify and sell the same as people on it. I also know how the indie music scene works. Not even a BNM on Pitchfork guarantees you a good amount of sales. I hate the word exposure just as much as the next person in music (besides the assholes taking advantage of it), but one thing streaming does do is monetize exposure.

            Also, Adele is on Spotify now and based on just 10 tracks alone has grossed over $2M bucks. She’s another one that even selling an absurd number of records for 2013 probably isn’t even 25% of her fans. Again, did some people stream instead of buy? Probably. But I’m sure far more of those streams are people that were either going to pirate or never buy the record to begin with.

          • GGG

            Replied to amend my comments, based on the 800K sales figure for 3 days, not 430K. Still doesn’t change my point, though. But kudoss to her team for the successful plan.

          • Anonymous

            The silly thing is that I’m not sure we disagree that much. And why would we? I assume, reluctantly, :) that our goals are somewhat similar.

            Who cares whether this or that company lives or dies… If the pirate bay goes legit and finds a way to make money for artists, I’ll be all ears. (In fact, I was all ears when somebody suggested something like that a few years ago, perhaps in 2005-6…)

          • GGG

            We don’t disagree on anything for the most part except the role Spotify (all streaming really, I just say Spotify all the time because it’s what I use and it’s the biggest at the moment) plays for artists. If Deezer comes along and is better than Spotify and better for artists, I’ll switch in a heartbeat. I have no brand loyalty to Spotify beyond it’s the best horse to back out of what’s available in the US. But again, if their growth is too slow and Deezer comes along and crushes it, I won’t care one bit.

  9. Why do I bother?

    The Spotify payout figures are completely wrong – Music Week quotes an average payout of $0.007 per stream (http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/spotify-tells-artists-we-re-not-giving-everything-away-for-free/057056), even though this is a useless metric to use to think about streaming services.

    If that figure is so wrong, despite the huge coverage of it over the last week or two, then clearly the rest of this ‘infographic’ shouldn’t be trusted either.

    Also, access to these services does not have to be through a distributor – companies like CI or Fuga will deliver content for flat fees (not % of revenue – and even those figures are wrong in the graphic – they quote ‘% of all profits’…) and commercial deal access to a number of these services is available through Merlin, or as a label you could get a deal direct with the service.

    Yet again, a piece of anti-streaming, inaccurate rubbish from DMN.

  10. Anonymous

    The high range for Spotify is still less than we’re receiving for the average stream. But whatevs.

    Also conveniently leaves out the lowest-paying and highest-usage on-demand streaming service, Youtube. But whatevs.

  11. Dantronix

    Why not allocate royalties based on what percentage of your overall (monthly/subscription period) listening time is devoted to each track/artist?
    So, an organisation like Spotify would take its initial cut of the user’s monthly subscription fee in order to cover operating costs/revenue. The remainder of the subscription is divided up for royalties based on your listening statistics. That way, if you binge out on a select few artists over the course of a month – these artists receive a substantial quantity of your subscription fee as opposed to the measly payments they accrue.

    It seems like a fair alternative.

  12. Jay-Z

    If you aren’t on Spotify, I’m not listening. I won’t listen to the Beyonce album now. I’m boycotting it. Blue-Ivy too

  13. Reviews New Age – Discovering Music – Streaming, la palabra maldita para los músicos

    […] recientes por el portal de música Digital Music News muestra la infografía que compila todos los datos de pagos por streams de los servicios más […]

  14. vladdavy

    This is a good answer to the situation, when music lovers and fans are the audience:

  15. Esol Esek

    Country and Rap are the highest sellers of physical product because their fans are the least computer-savvy. THat has to be taken into account in this discussion.

    Still, there’s no doubt that ARTISTS generate more INTEREST and LOVE than corporations. Therefore, an artist’s fans are going to listen to the artist if they want to do something another way a non-streaming way.
    Why should Swedes get our money anyway?

    Plus, packaging materials are one of the ways you hold the musician you admire in your hands – it was the great thing about albums, but not cds, except a few that were very specially made.

    I’m sure Beyonce has included a bunch of stuff in this release for fans only. It’s the only way to fly. Plus by including the video, its actually a time saver – watch with no commercials whenever you want.

  16. BJ

    Spotify saved the music industry in Sweden. The climate for releasing records here has never been healthier. Universal just had an incredible year and the indies are thriving too.

  17. 18 Ways Music Artist Can Make Money This Year

    […] Streaming: Although per-stream payouts from streaming services tend to be small, they can add up over time. Keep in mind that these services also help new fans […]

  18. Deezer subscription user

    Well just adding to the Beyonce argument, Deezer has her complete back catalogue available I checked. I pay the £10 monthly subscription. Also would like to know if the deezer and spotify stream rates are subscriber level or free via wifi level. As far as i know there is a difference between something synced to your iphone, android which you can take anywhere offline (as long as your subscription) lasts. As far as I know the deezer and spotify rates refer to these synced/subscriber streams with the free streams fetching an aweful lot less. It’s all well and good moaning about the streaming sites but I refuse to buy or pay for downloads because I usually don’t know what I should buy and often cannot be arsed to sync a cd to mp3 (yes I am that lazy) and if I am paying for it I want a damn plastic case and cover with it. Either way since I had Deezer I have listened to Artists I have never heard off or would have heard off but not bothered to buy their album in music generes I would have previously stalled upon. I have since bought tshirts and band merch from said artists sites. Besides streaming their songs has generated more pennies for these artists than if I had bought the CD for $10. I am quite obsessive in my listening habits so I have certain albums on repeat all day long. Work this out over a year and I reckon I generated around $300 (based on 5 hours a day and a 3.01 min average song lenght) for an artist I am currently very much obsessed with (Hello Tegan and Sara!!!)

  19. jmacofearth

    Yeah, the Spotify numbers are total BS. Those top rates are for artists like Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones. You and me, are in the 0.0000000000013 range. I assure you.

  20. Jacob H

    Saying that Rdio goes up to 17.99 is disingenuous because 9.99 is actually the max for an individual subscription. 17.99 is for a family plan, which is 2 users.

  21. Tom@musicstreamingindex

    Hi these numbers are all quite old now. I’ve had as much as $.032 from Deezer (Netherlands) in 2015 and $.017 from Spotify (Switzerland). I’ve got some more up to date pay per stream figures for Rdio and others too. I’m trying to collate as many up to date figures as I can. Please get in touch if you can help @

  22. Alex young

    Nice presentation about the music albums chain. It clearly explains the Total process of Music from artist to user I like this.

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