What is Apple Music paying artists? We asked an artist with more than 32,000 streams across 42 countries for the answer.
This is part of Digital Music News’ ongoing streaming transparency initiative, designed to offer artists, labels, and content owners better information on exactly what streaming platforms are paying (please share your statements under complete confidentiality to [email protected]).
And with that, the latest to generously share statements with the industry is a fast-rising EDM artist from Australia with some notable accolades and critical acclaim. That includes inclusion on some high-profile Spotify playlists, which helped to generate broader overall attention for the group (which likely bled into Apple Music).
Most importantly, this is an artist getting plays in virtually every major country where Apple Music exists, and a very substantial number of smaller countries and markets.
Here are the per-stream payouts recorded for a total of 42 countries, starting in with the first reporting period of August 15th, 2015, and extending through March 15th, 2016 (presumably the last). Apple Music first opened its doors on July 1st (technically June 30th with partial availability and a few other hiccups).
(quick note on the math: $0.01 means one cent (1/100th of a dollar); $0.005 means half a penny; etc.)
In total, Apple Music is now available in 101 different countries. DMN did capture data for more than 42 countries, but without enough spins to get a good, average rate. Of the larger markets, Ireland, China and Saudi Arabia did not report any spins for this artist.
Map backdrop by Guy Sie, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).
Hi there what dollar value is this? AU? EU? US?
Great question. It’s USD.
(just double-checked with the artist)
I’ll clarify that above.
One other thing you could clarify, Paul, is how were the rates calculated. Total revenue divided by total streams, perhaps?
This is important because we’re still going through the transition phase where free-trial rates apply to a large portion of Apple Music users. We know what those rates are – for the US, at least: 0.2 cents. If free-trial streams are included in calculating the average rate per play, it really isn’t telling us much about what we can expect from a more mature subscriber base.
Looking at my own statements, I see that the non-free-trial rates for both US and Japan are substantially higher than reported here – both around 1 cent per play. The simplest explanation, to my mind, is that the free-trial rates are depressing the average rates reported here.
Whether that should be seen as a problem is another matter.
Good point, though I don’t remember seeing a lot of $0.002 payouts in there. I think it would have to factor in.
EU dollar never heard that before haha.
If this is USD those rates are wrong. Here are some per-stream USD rates copied from my latest Distrokid statement.
Maximus, the numbers are definitely USD, but it seems per-stream rates are never the same compared to other artists (for the same digital retailer) or even from statement to statement. There are so many factors that make each rate different.
Martin, I wouldn’t doubt it! I would also guess per-stream rates would be higher for major label artists.
” I would also guess per-stream rates would be higher for major label artists.”
Not sure about that …The iTunes Store pays you 70% whether you’re Lady Gaga or Joe Blow, why would it be different for Apple Music ?
… because major label deals tend to require ‘minimum revenue guarantees’ from a licensed service, the value of which will traditionally exceed the actual amount owed during a given period through plays alone- meaning the service has to ‘top up’ the payment to the label to match the MG commitment. The label then calculates a new ‘effective per play rate’ for their artists.
As far as i recall, its customary to only top up an amount that still leaves a massive great margin behind for long lunches and flying around frivolously to see people from the office next to yours in far flung destinations for ‘conferences’.
Paul, if you were really interested in transparency, you would explain that subscription streaming services don’t actually pay out on a per-stream basis.
Not to major labels maybe but for the rest they sure do pay on a per stream basis
sorry but they do not. they pay out on the basis of a share of total revenue. Your distributor has a deal to receive a percentage of the platforms revenue multiplied by their pro-rata share of the overall number of streams in a given period. You get a share of this based on your music’s contributions to that pool of revenue
Just because one can divide the number of streams by the revenue to get a per-stream rate, it does not mean the platforms are paying out this way. That number will also change every month depending on how much revenue there is, the total number of streams on the platform and what your share of those are.
I’m not arguing this is a good system, but trying to judge the value of a platform that uses this model by using per-stream rates is wrongheaded. There is no useful data to be gained from it. None.
As an example, A platform could have $10 in revenue, one single stream in an entire month and the artist/label on that single stream that would get $6/stream. Imagine the next month they have the same $10 in revenue but 100 streams. the label/artist payout per stream would drop to $.06. Does this tell us anything useful about the service?
Streaming business model 101. And why Paul’s crusade for “transparency” around per stream pay-outs is dumb.
So one sold iTunes track equals a shitload of streams.
Amazing that anybody still believes in streaming…
50 million subscribers and growing, while download numbers fall off of a cliff.
What fantasy do YOU “believe in”?
The rest of us are going to continue dealing with reality, here.
I agree. Streaming seems to be a financially bankrupt model. I wouldn’t be surprised if streaming became a loss leader for companies that want a value add to reach consumers. ie – will Apple use “free” streaming/Apple Music to sell iphone 7 ??? This is an interesting ride…
How is the average calculated? I ask because most of the territories one would expect to be big in terms of plays (US, UK, Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia, Brazil) have payouts *above* the average. I do hope you didn’t just add up the payout numbers and divide by the number of territories!
Many working hours to create and release. Thousands of streams. Few dollars of income generated by per stream basis ratios. Complete lack of clarity and feedback from streaming services and distributors. Slavery in 2016?
There are info: What YouTube Pays Artists In 42 Different Countries?
The different averages received are explained by the varying ratios of free trial streams and paid subscription streams in each territory. My own payouts show great variation, in each territory, from month to month too. Any sort of average pay per stream from this data can only be a very rough guide. Average payouts make a good headlines, and are interesting but are the data is fairly meaningless. To get proper numbers, the data would have to be separated by month, by territory and by end user account type. And that is when it gets too boring to look at.
This analysis is flawed. Another commenter pointed this out, but I’ll make it even simpler. This article asks what “Apple Music” is paying “artists.” The answer is zero. Apple Music (or whatever streaming service) pays the label, with whom they have a deal to distribute the material. If an artist is independent, this is still true, although the artist will keep 100%. Otherwise, the label will take a cut and pay the artist what they are owed according to their contract.
This article does not clarify if these figures are to be what the artist receives after the label takes its cut, or whether this is the total amount paid to the label for each play. However, neither of these can be true, as the other Anonymous commenter pointed out, because this is not the way the streaming model works.
I’m not sure where these numbers came from, but everyone please, ignore them.