Another Band Doubles Their Apple Music and Spotify Payments…

Tidal = 2X Royalty Streams
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Want to double your per-stream payouts from Apple Music and Spotify?  Do what this band did (and a bunch of others are doing).

Last week, an analysis of over 1 million Spotify streams revealed a per-stream payout of $0.004891, or less than half-a-penny per stream.  The band sharing the statement received Spotify earnings of less than $5,000 over a three year span, despite being included on a number of featured Spotify playlists (and garnering over 1+ million streams).  The band didn’t try to get onto those playlists, but once it happened, they started seeing some nice spikes and attention (but not a lot of cash).

That same band also accrued roughly 32,000 streams from Apple Music since mid-2015, with an average per-stream royalty of $0.005643, averaged across 42 different countries.  Those figures went through March of this year, with later statements not yet available (they also just got signed, which probably means they’re shifting some things into their digital distribution stack).

Now, this same group has shared their Tidal payout numbers, which have been consistently higher in other data sets we’ve examined as well.  In this case, the per-stream Tidal payouts for 2015-6 were $0.010149, or more than 1 penny per stream.  In other words, more than double Spotify’s payouts, and nearly double that of Apple Music.

The results were achieved across a streaming total of 1,299 streams on Tidal, a smaller set that offers statistical relevance but demonstrates that artists are still not prioritizing this platform.

And these results for Tidal aren’t out of the blue.  Last year, the company told one of our writers that seriously-elevated rates were coming, but it took a few months (or even quarters) to gradually replace payouts from the previous owner and iteration, WiMP.  Now, those rates are solidly higher, and according to all the data we’ve seen, consistently multiples over what Spotify (and now Apple Music) are paying.

Put bluntly, Tidal isn’t bullshitting: they are actually backing up their artist-friendly claims with actual numbers, on a consistent basis.

It’s also highly likely that Tidal’s streaming figures will markedly improve this year, thanks to a greater stock of paying subscribers, and even more importantly, a large mass of high-end, $20-a-month premium subscribers.  At last count, 1.5 million — or roughly half — of Tidal’s subscribers were hi-fidelity streaming subscribers, a market that has never been established at such scale.

But the most important part of this is that Tidal doesn’t have a free-access tier, unlike Spotify.  That, more than anything, is what’s been dragging royalty payments for Spotify, and creating massive economic issues.  According to 2015 financial data just released by Spotify, 30 percent of Spotify’s users account for 90 percent of their revenues (with the 30 percent being paying subscribers).

Tidal, on the other hand, limits its free users to a one-month trial.  All of which means more money for the artist and label, though Tidal isn’t the only platform showing substantially higher payouts.  According to a massive amount of data shared with Digital Music News by an independent rap label, Microsoft’s Xbox Music (now called ‘Groove Music’) is paying an astounding 10 times more than Spotify, with Tidal also showing serious payout multiples.

Here’s the royalty statement:

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Image via Pixabay (public domain).

26 Responses

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Ha, I’d love to have Tidal as a sponsor of DMN, only problem is we can’t seem to connect with anyone to discuss that!

      But the data’s the data. You can look at it yourself.

      • Anonymous

        Tidal doesn’t even have the cash to pay labels/artists for their streams, much less an advertising budget. But that per stream rate from those low volume users does look nice, you’re right.

        • Anonymous

          “It’s also highly likely that Tidal’s streaming figures will markedly improve this year, thanks to a greater stock of paying subscribers”

          Don’t forget they have music videos, too!

          That’s huge.

        • Elijah pettiway

          And where did you get this ridiculous statement from?

          • Anonymous

            Tidal doesn’t pay distros. Doesn’t pay labels with direct deals. Doesn’t pay artists. It’s been reported repeatedly, and they are currently being sued over non-payment of royalties. I know! Ridiculous!

      • Martin Kennedy

        In recent weeks after these revelations I’ve prioritised Tidal (and Apple Music) as the streamer of choice on the splash page of my website. It’s a shame that given the delayed reporting time for these companies it’ll take so long to find out what effect the prioritising has. Still, it’s a long game we’re playing….

    • ADDAM B.


    • KS2 Problema

      It’s worth noting that Tidal is not the only service currently paying about a US penny per stream. In US streams via Google Play Music, I generally receive about $.00977 per stream as artist/label.

  1. anon

    What are the odds that Tidal has a higher Subscriber to Streaming Volume ratio?

  2. Anonymous

    Paul, these services do not pay out per-stream. Having done such in depth analysis on the topic, you must know this. The apparent higher rates on Tidal and XBox Live are most likely due to the fact that they have decent revenue from subscriptions and less dilution of it across the content base. That is another way of saying that they have less people actually engaged in streaming, so the revenue is distributed at what appears to be a higher rate per stream. If the same number of subscribers streamed twice as much, the “per-stream” payouts would be 1/2 as much as they are now and Tidal would look just as bad to you as Spotify or Apple Music. This doesn’t change the fact that no streaming service pays out per-stream and analyzing services based on this is wrongheaded.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      I’m not sure how you can say that, given that the royalty breakdown above lists the exact payout per every stream?

      • anon

        Paul, this post makes you look like a total moron. Please take a look at the Price and Delivery Country in the statement. Notice how how the price is the same if the country is the same? That’s because Tidal allocates all it’s revenue for a given country proportionately to each stream. The per stream rate is calculated, not predetermined. Please reread the post you replied to:
        “If the same number of subscribers streamed twice as much, the “per-stream” payouts would be 1/2 as much as they are now”

        • Paul Resnikoff

          “The per stream rate is calculated, not predetermined.”

          I don’t remember saying that it was ‘predetermined’?

          It’s really funny to me how everyone tries to explain per-stream royalties. Maybe it’s sad, because very few of these explanations really make sense, and they’re all different.

          Of course, if there are double the number of streams in one month (over the previous), the per-stream goes in half. But if this band had spend just 30 minutes more a day emphasizing Tidal, yes, they would have received approximately double the royalty (unless they themselves are doubling Tidal’s streams, which they wouldn’t).

          • Anonymous

            Paul, the point here is YOU are using per stream as a measuring stick for SOMETHING. I am not sure what, as no useful information can be derived from it. Either you are just trying to create a narrative of your liking or you don’t understand how it works yourself.

          • Anonymous

            “YOU are using per stream as a measuring stick”

            …because that’s what really, really counts.

      • Anonymous

        Paul, one can of course calculate a per stream rate by working backwards from performance reports and dividing the number of streams by the payout but this is not how services pay.

        Every distributor, or label with a direct deal, has an agreement that promises them a certain percentage of the platform’s revenue multiplied by that entity’s total share of streams for the month. These are all a little bit different and Tidal is not setting per stream rates at any point. In fact, Tidal does not know at the beginning of any given month what the per stream rate is going to be for a given artist. It will change with the mix of revenue and total streams. this is not my opinion, it’s just how it works.

  3. Me

    This is one of the most misleading and misguiding DMN articles yet.

  4. Me

    And speaking of Tidal, we haven’t received a cent from them in several months. Spotify and Apple Music, on the other hand, payout on a regular monthly basis.

    If Tidal did actually pay us, then maybe their back payment would double our Spotify and Apple Music payments.

    • not you

      tidal is so slow to pay the distributors. which distributor are you on?

        • not you

          orchard is REALLY slow to invoice which means tidal drags their feet even more. i used to work at the orchard. heh.

  5. Anonymous

    Better payment, better sound, videos!


  6. dkmstr

    So, based on streaming royalties, what would that be the average pay per working hour of an average independent artist? Does that ever show on a calculator?

  7. Rick Shaw

    Here’s the secret to doubling your online payments: put up twice as much content.

    Wow, that was tough.