What YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music & Amazon Are Paying Artists In 2018

What YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music & Amazon Are Paying Artists In 2018

Napster, Tidal, Apple Music, and Amazon still have the highest per-play rates.  And don’t expect to make much on Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube.

How much should artists expect to receive on streaming music platforms?  That’s a complicated question.

Last year, Digital Music News published a list outlining the most popular streaming music platforms’ per-stream rates.  At $0.0190 and $0.0110 per play respectively, Napster and Tidal ranked as the services with the highest artist payouts.  Spotify and Pandora ranked among the worst paying platforms.

At a shockingly-low rate of $0.0006 per stream, YouTube took the last place.

Now, Statista has released its list of gross payouts to labels.  Using information from The Trichodist, they listed each major service’s per-stream rate.

Oh, what could’ve been, Microsoft…

Microsoft’s service, labeled as Xbox Music here, paid $0.02730 to artists.  The company had announced late last year that it would exit the streaming music market.  Users could transfer their favorite playlists to Spotify.

It’s good being king.

Napster/Rhapsody may not rank as one of the services with the highest subscription numbers.  Last year, it reportedly had around 4.5 million subscribers.  According to the Trichordist, the streaming music service only had a 1.75% market share in the US.  Napster reportedly pays out $0.01682 per stream.

Not dead yet.

So, how much does TIDAL pay?  Last year, unsigned artists on the platform received $0.0110 per stream.  This year, Jay-Z’s beleaguered music service paid $0.01284.

The Garden of Eden of Apple.

HomePod sales aren’t doing so hot.  Why?  Well, besides the absurdly-high asking price, users can only stream from Apple Music.  You can stream from multiple streaming platforms on the much cheaper Amazon Echo and Echo Dot.  Yet, the HomePod’s closed streaming ecosystem may actually prove beneficial for artists.  Apple Music pays $0.00783 per play.

Tens of millions of users.  Yet, just pennies per play.

Right behind Apple Music, Amazon’s own streaming platforms, Prime Music and Music Unlimited, now sport “tens of millions of consumers.”  That may partially explain the company’s slightly higher payouts.  Artists should expect to receive $0.00740 for each stream played on the platforms.

Merci, Deezer.

Focusing on over 180 markets, Deezer doesn’t exactly have a strong presence in the US.  Yet, the French-based service now pays out $0.00624 per stream.

Wait, people still use Google Play Music?

Among the largest music platforms, Google Play Music had the highest payouts.  Artists reportedly earned $0.0179 per stream.  Yet, it now stands at $0.00611.

A successful direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange.  A not-so-successful platform for artist payouts.

Spotify now has 71 million subscribers, 3,500 employees, and over 35 million tracks on its platform.  Its direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange has gone well.  Yet, why is this platform just two spaces above YouTube?  Spotify reportedly pays $0.00397 per stream.

Still alive, but not exactly kicking.

Here at Digital Music News, we’ve documented Pandora Radio’s slow descent into obscurity.  Last year, the service paid $0.00134 per streams.  Artists this year should now expect to receive $0.00134 per play. That is, until the service likely kicks the bucket, maybe even this year.

Please, don’t even think about building a career on: YouTube

This year, proving that Google won’t give up on its overly-ambitious music streaming service plans (or hilariously low payouts), the company will soon launch its third premium service on YouTube.  But, how much should artists expect?  Well, currently, YouTube pays $0.00074 per stream.  So, not much.

Our advice?  Please don’t ever make a career out of your earnings on the popular video platform.  Trust us.  You’ll regret it.


Featured image by Olichel (CC0)

9 Responses

  1. so

    Good to see that you are giving the stream payouts some context with the market share chart. This is helpful and a good article. Would love for YouTube to show the data that led Lyor to quote a $0.003 payout. Some sleight of hand going on here, perhaps weighing one RED stream and one ad-supported stream and dividing by two. The rate you have here for YouTube is accurate, but the one for Spotify is slightly low but very close.

    • Remi Swierczek

      Do not mention LY0R TRAiTOR!
      Let’s calculate how much DIGITAL MONSTERS for the title of this article FEED to leftover of music industry locked up in digital CONCENTRATION CAMP – my guess they are not yet above ONE BILLION/MONTH! Note 1999 = $60B today!
      Time to stop all inclusive, on demand BULLSHIT and cut off KAPOS from the VAULT.

      200,000 Radio and TV stations converted to music stores can give us $50B music business TOMORROW.

  2. lol

    I think groove shouldn’t even be considered , because that payout rate was due to low user/low usage base. If they would grow more, they payouts would be lower, if they would grow to over 2-3m subs (but they had maybe 1/10 that?) the payout would be as the others. That’s why groove payouts are just fairy tales that will probably never repeat again. Now most others have lots of users so forget about such payouts , imo.
    The others well it depends on a lot of things, but surely spotify has only sheer sub numbers but freemium kills it. youtube listening wont get u anything. I tend to forget the ones that cant afford 10 bucks a month, so maybe (almost) free listening is better than nothing. 0.00000000001 is more than 0.00000000000000

    • Faza (TCM)

      Sorry, but for all intents and purposes 0.00000000001 is pretty much equal to 0.

      Neither allows you to pay the bills or build a business. This fallacy that anything is better than nothing needs a stake driven through its black heart.

      • lol

        yeah of course. BUT , there are people who 1. can’t afford premium and 2. will never pay a dime for music (mindset) .. Get me better now?

        • Jaclyn S. Hit

          Right. The argument goes something like this: at least those people are on the legit side, and potentially — emphasis on potentially — could cross over.

        • Remi Swierczek

          Let the listen too WHAT IS SERVED! No reason for cherry picking and ass kissing of FREELOADERS and semi-FREEELOADERS. Any all inclusive sub below $29.99/ month per human (not family) is a ROBBERY.

  3. LTS

    Just an FYI, Xbox Music/ Groove shut down at the end of 2017, so they pay out $0.00000 per stream.


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