TIDAL Says They’re Paying Artists 5 Times As Much as Spotify…


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Last week, Digital Music News published a real royalty statement from a really reliable source showing TIDAL’s per-stream royalty payouts, which averaged $0.0144 (or, 1.44 cents) per stream for an independent label.

Now, TIDAL says that statement isn’t correct, and they are actually paying double that amount.  “This is not one of TIDAL’s royalty statements,” the company told Digital Music News in an official statement this morning.

“For the same period (March 2015) as this purported ‘leaked’ statement, TIDAL paid an average royalty per stream of $0.024-0.028, or double the royalty shown in the statement.”

TIDAL is definitely correct on one point: technically, this isn’t a statement mailed from them, because they don’t mail statements directly to smaller labels and artists.  Rather, the statement was issued by a digital distributor servicing the independent label in question, which is norm for the industry.

In that same statement, Spotify’s per-stream royalty averaged $0.0048, or 0.48 cents per stream.  That fits industry numbers of approximately half-a-penny per stream, though Spotify itself has claimed a higher 0.7 cents per stream (which has never been verified as accurate).

Image above by Digital Music News, you can use however you want under Creative Commons Attribution.  Please don’t just steal it like Zach Frydenlund of Complex.

42 Responses

  1. Yep

    Aspiro are paying at least twice as much per stream.


    They are tiny, tiny, small in comparison the the goliath – SPOTIFY

    They might catch up but RIGHT NOW, they are irrelevant on the balance sheet.

    Surely, that is all that matters.

    • Anonymous

      “They are tiny, tiny, small in comparison the goliath – SPOTIFY”

      Well, that’s entirely up to artists and labels — they can kill Spotify tonight if they want to.

    • HansH

      Absolutely true. Rates are less relevant than the number of streams a service generates. It’s easy for Tidal to pay higher rates. They have a $19.99 a month subscription.

  2. Steve Sinclair

    Impossible. If Spotify pays out 70% of revenues then what does Tidal pay out? Five times that amount, 350%?

    • johnny

      steve, you don’t understand.

      spotify pays 70% to labels, not artists.

      tidal pays more per stream. that’s a big difference in where the money goes.

      • John Smiths

        The 70% are being divided between labels and publishers in a ratio of about 7:1 in favour of the labels.

      • John Smith

        These 70% are also including the publisher’s share. The Labels get the vast majority of the 70% though.

        • larry

          yeah, most streaming money goes to labels.

          artists are lazy and will never stand up and remove their music from streaming in protest.

          won’t happen… until another kurt cobain comes along.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not impossible. Many services pay high rates when they are just starting out or in Tidal’s case, restarting. Google Play and Xbox music both did something similar. Tidal supports very few devices compared to their established competitors. They don’t have desktop apps, meaning people are less likely to leave music playing for endless hours. And their new customers are still adjusting to a new service. They likely have few playlists and relatively few songs in their playslists and personal libraries. All these things combined means fewer songs are getting streamed per user until they get settled in and can stream their music more often in more places. With fewer streams comes a higher payout per stream.

  3. Tcooke

    People would like to know if that label got hosed down by a distributor, and which one? Or is this an artist being an uninformed drama dunce?

  4. Anonymous

    lol yes much easy to do with no scale

    • Jeff Robinson

      So maybe the distributor is lying?

  5. GGG

    Yea, wait, so you buried the lede here. This label is getting taken for 50% by their distributor?

  6. Anonymous

    Just went through a recent statement and pulled 28 lines of transactions, 14 from Aspiro (Tidal) and 14 from Spotify. 14 tracks total each with unique ISRC’s.

    Tidal’s Total was $3.253546768
    Spotify was $0.728353077

    The same 14 tracks on each store.

    • Anonymous

      So that more or less confirms Tidal’s statement.

    • Anonymous

      Totals don’t tell what the per play rate is though unless you are assuming an equal number of plays from each service.

      • Anonymous

        “The same 14 tracks on each store.” meaning:

        14 plays on Tidal
        14 plays on Spotify

        • Anonymous

          14 plays didn’t make $3.25. That would be over 23 cents a play.

  7. Anonymous

    This is per audio stream, right?

    What do they pay per video stream? $0.024-0.028 x 2?

    • Anonymous

      That would be 20 x more than Youtube.

      • Anonymous

        5-6 cent/stream wouldn’t be interesting compared to YouTube, until Tidal reached 40-50,000,000 subs.

        And there’s a long way from 770,000.

        • Sarah

          Well, if there were a basis for thinking that Tidal could sustain such rates if it were to reach those numbers, that’d be a reason for helping them grow by using Tidal more.

          • Anonymous

            “if it were to reach those numbers”

            That’ll never happen.

            Netflix reached 60,000,000 because it gave us an offer — an almost constantly updated stream of Frank Underwood type of stuff — we couldn’t refuse.

            Tidal doesn’t have anything to offer.

          • Anonymous

            Netflix is also way cheaper. What does it does cost for a family to use Netflix? $8 per month. What does it cost for Tidal? $10-20 per month, per person. Not to mention Netflix also had a massive multi-year advertising campaign. Those “time for the bonus round” commercials were annoying as hell. But they brought in the subs. So much so that they don’t even seem to advertise anymore.

          • Anonymous

            “So much so that they don’t even seem to advertise anymore”

            With a product like that, you don’t need to advertise. People simply want it.

            So this is the lesson for Tidal and others:

            People don’t pay just because you want them to. They pay for stuff they truly want — if it’s cheap.

          • Sarah

            People don’t pay just because you want them to. They pay for stuff they truly want — if it’s cheap.

            Yep…. although I’m going to edit that to:

            People don’t pay just because you want them to. They pay for stuff they truly want — if they think the price makes it a good value for them.

            The bottom line is that people want to feel like they’re getting something with value in it. Everyone loves a good deal, and packaging and presentation matter enormously for that – whether you call it snake oil or whatever, it’s all about the consumer’s perception. That’s why you can take the exact same burger, and sell it for $5 at McDonald’s and for $20 (plus tip!) at a higher end restaurant.

            Also, if you’re the real Anonymous, guess who decided to add live video streaming to our beta launch?!
            (We did! 🙂 ) Apparently some artists really, really wanted live streaming for parties, so my partner (who’s an absolute wizard) added it over the past few days.

          • Anonymous

            “packaging and presentation matter enormously”

            Couldn’t agree more — but don’t forget why you buy that burger:

            You’re hungry!

            🙂 The real Anonymous 🙂

  8. Edward Jennings

    This is not one of TIDAL’s royalty statements – I told you so.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      A smaller indie would get their statement through their digital distributor, which is what this is. Not directly from TIDAL.

  9. Anonymous

    Your chart is missing a 0 to the immediate right of the decimal point.

  10. Fedwa

    What does it matter to the consumers what the artist get paid? If Tidal offers a $10 premium, which is same as Spotify, than why should we worry about how the actual people who make what we consume get paid? Its like the Government taking more taxes from our pay to sponsor a program for something we pay full for. NOT FAIR! I like the direction this new App Tidal is going..im not up for the numbers that don’t apply to me….

    • GGG

      Uh…this site is pretty much geared toward people in the industry….that’s why we care.

      Go back to PerezHilton, you’re on the wrong blog.

    • Anonymous

      “What does it matter to the consumers what the artist get paid?”

      It’s very expensive to write and produce the kind of music consumers want.

      Professional writers, artists, engineers, etc, can’t make new songs for you if you don’t pay them.

  11. Patriq

    Why wouldn’t Tidal’s model be sustainable with a double per track compensation compared to Spotify? Tidal does not offer a free tier, meaning that there is more compensated listening, i.e. money to be divided among the listened tracks. Second, Tidal has the 20 bucks per month version along with the 10 bucks.

    Spotify should get rid off their free tier (looks like Spotify has stopped their 5 bucks plan – which is good), since that would help artists and songwriters some. Then the latter should renegotiate their contracts with the (major) labels in order to get a fair share of the revenue.

  12. Ryan

    Oh my god, I worked for a major label for years, spotify pays the publishing company and they pay the artists. If the artist isn’t being paid then it’s the publishing company that is at fault.

    What is so complicated about this????

  13. Music Jolt

    Tidal also has been reluctant to pay artists our artist has been getting plays in playlists but we haven’t received any royalty payments from Tidal since May. We use #TuneCore as distributors and they even said that Tidal hasn’t submitted any royalty reports since then