I Got 100,000 Plays on Spotify and Can’t Get Paid. Can You Help?

I Got 100k Plays on Spotify and Can't Get Paid. Can you Help

100,000 Spotify plays, yet no royalties for this Music Kickup artist.

So, how much are artists actually earning on Spotify?

According to the team at Information is Beautiful, unsigned artists earn $0.0038 per stream.  After 380,000 plays, they make $1,472, the monthly minimum wage in the US.  Signed artists get a slightly better amount of $0.0044 per play.

According to the RIAA, however, musicians on Spotify should expect to receive around $7.50 for 1,000 streams.  Roughly, artists earn $0.0075 per play.  So, to make $1,472, their songs would need around 192,266 total streams.

But, what happens when you don’t get paid at all, despite having over 100,000 streams?  That’s what happened to one artist who recently reached out to Digital Music News.

Why haven’t I been paid?

Last month, an artist who had 122,364 total plays on Spotify received €403.27 ($470.47).

In June, after fans streamed another artist’s songs 4.3 million times on the platform, TuneCore only sent a check for $5,078.

Today’s case is slightly different.  I’ll dub the musician ‘Artist X.’

After reading this article on average per-stream payouts for 1 million plays, Artist X reached out to Digital Music News.

Artist X uses Music Kickup, a cloud based record label for indie artists.  The label handles all contracts and rights management, along with global physical and digital distribution.

With five tracks on Spotify, Artist X has slightly over 112,017 total plays.  Yet, according to the artist, they haven’t received any royalties from the platform.

After reaching out to Music Kickup, the artist received the following reply:

The sales reports come from the stores on some months delay.  For example if you have done a release and made some sales/streams, you’ll see it on your withdrawal balance after we’ve got the reports and the royalties from the store.  As your releases are released in January you will soon see some updates for your releases.

Interestingly enough, Artist X has received payments for streams on Deezer and Google on Music Kickup.

Several months have passed and still no royalties for Artist X’s plays on Spotify.

So, for about an entire year on the platform (as well as on iTunes), the artist has yet to receive any word on what exactly happened.  Artist X doesn’t know whether the problem lies specifically with Music Kickup or the music streaming platform.

We’ll keep you updated on what happens and whether the artist will eventually receive royalty payments from either platform.

For independent artists out there, feel free to share your royalties to [email protected]!  It will greatly help other artists and the industry to get a better sense of what streaming platforms are paying.



10 Responses

  1. Ray

    Good luck! If you read their info, the only way Music Kickup makes money is if they hold on to yours. It’s not in their best interest to pay artists. That’s why artists should never use them.

    • Gabriel

      I wholly agree with you. If they hold onto Royalties by say 100 artists , they will release the royalties after cashing in on the interest generated. Im currently having the same experience with an aggregator who has been taking me in circles for over a month now and the last communication with the aggregator was that they have a right of holding onto royalties for a period of 60 days before releasing the monies to artists. The aggregator’s catch to artists is that “you distribute your music for free” with them. I come from a country where 60% of the population live on/under a dollar a day so when you hold onto 500 dollars of artiste’s earnings for almost two months, you are rightfully labelled a thief.

  2. Anonymous

    I mean…not saying the guy doesn’t deserve his money, but anything described as a “cloud based record label for indie artists” should be clicked out of immediately.

  3. Aliem Jumpp

    I have no clue about the platform..But I can definitely say that Spotify royalties have declined for indie artists. Something is not right. One of my artists had over 200,000 streams in a quarter and she received less than $200. Deezer, Tidal, Google were all where they were supposed to be. But not Spotify.

  4. Dana Drury

    We have music on Spotify and recently noticed royalty payments from Spotify that ranged from .009-.005 cents per stream. The payments were all over the place but the result was that our music was paid at about 30% of what it should have been. We have nearly 1 million total streams on Spotify and have been shorted thousands of dollars. I asked Spotify support about it and they told me to contact CD Baby or my Pro, saying Spotify had no control over what is paid per stream! When questioned, they didn’t respond. CD Baby states that they only collect and pay the royalties, they don’t determine how much to pay for each stream. I’m still trying to get Spotify to answer. Our new material is now being distributed by Kobalt AWAL, so maybe we will see higher payments per stream on the new material. It seems to be a racket and there is no explanation as to why we would see so much variation in per stream payments.

    • ERo

      Dana Drury,

      Hi, just wondered if you had an update on your situation? Did Kobalt work out better?? thanks

  5. Keith Spinney

    You have got to use a comany with a good track record. There is a lot of bs out there. I’m over a quarter a million plays and I’ve never had any problems getting paid. I would say run, run hard, run fast.

  6. Curious Jim

    In the same situation with kobalt sadly a release from February with over 300k streams yet to be paid.


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