Find out how much you’ll earn from the most popular streaming music services – Pandora, Napster, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and more.
Based on information directly received from artists and indie labels, as well as various published sources, we can rank streaming music services according to their per-stream rate. Take a look.
Napster remains king of streaming music payouts, but total usage is lower.
With Microsoft’s Groove Music shutting down, Napster became king of streaming music service payouts.
The service had paid $0.01682 per play. According to two sources – Information Is Beautiful and David Crosby – that number has steadily risen. On average, Napster now pays out $0.019 per stream. To meet the monthly minimum wage amount in the US of $1,472, an artist would need 77,474 total plays.
With 5 million paying subscribers, the service loses around $7.00 per user. Unlike its rivals, however, Napster remains a profitable streaming music service.
Jay-Z’s beleaguered TIDAL remains a top player, at least in terms of payouts.
This year, Jay-Z’s streaming music platform, TIDAL, has remained embroiled in multiple controversies. These include accusations of hacking users’ accounts to inflate Beyoncé and Kanye West’s total streams.
Nevertheless, the service had remained friendly to artists. But the service reportedly paid out $0.01284 per stream earlier this year. That number has fallen slightly to $0.0125, according to more recent data. Artists on TIDAL now need 117,760 total plays to earn $1,472.
Jay-Z’s streaming music service reportedly loses $6.67 per user with an annual loss of $28 million.
Apple Music takes third place.
Historically, Apple Music has paid artists much better than its streaming music rival, Spotify.
Back 2017, the service paid $0.0064 per stream. By last year, that number had risen to $0.00783.
Today, that number has settled at $0.00735. Artists on Apple Music would need around 200,272 plays to earn the US monthly minimum wage amount.
With Apple closely guarding its user metrics, it remains unclear how much Apple Music loses each year on the service as well as per user.
Don’t count out GPM just yet.
Despite the introduction – and subsequent failure – of YouTube Music, Google Play Music (GPM) remains a competitor in the streaming music market. But fair warning: GPM is officially shutting down at the end of 2020, so focusing your marketing efforts on the platform is probably unwise.
Last year, and right behind Deezer, GPM paid $0.00611. That number now stands at $0.00676 per stream. Artists will need around 217,752 total streams to earn $1,472.
Like Apple, Google closely guards GPM’s user metrics. According to Information is Beautiful (IiB), Google Play Music has 10 million total users, with 5 million paying for the service. It remains unclear how many of those users will transition over to YouTube Music in 2021.
Deezer falls to fifth place.
Launching several years ago in the US, French-based streaming music service Deezer still doesn’t have an established presence in the country.
Back in 2018, at $0.0056, the service topped GPM in terms of payouts. By 2019, Deezer paid $0.00624. That number has slowly risen to $0.0064, placing it right behind GPM. Artists will need 230,000 total plays to earn the US monthly minimum wage amount.
Deezer recently reported an annual loss of $27 million, losing $1.69 per user. Deezer reportedly has 16 million users, with around 9.12 million – or 57% – paying for the service.
Amazon falls behind.
As with Napster, Apple, and Google, Amazon closely guards its user metrics.
Earlier this year, The Trichordist found Amazon paid indie artists $0.0074 per play. That number has now plummeted to $0.00402, placing it just above Spotify. Artists will now need around 366,169 total streams to earn the monthly minimum wage amount in the US.
How much does Spotify pay per stream?
Spotify’s per-stream rate ranks as one of the worst, and it appears to be falling. According to the latest data, Spotify pays most artists between $.003 and $.005 (one-third of a penny to one-half of a penny) for each stream.
Back in December 2019, you may have read our report on cellist Zoe Keating’s receiving a $753 check from Spotify, as compensation for 206,011 streams. Rounding up, the sum represents a per-stream royalty rate of $0.0037 – down from Keating’s 2018 Spotify royalty rate of about $0.0054. Separately, mechanical royalty firm Audiam also suggested that Spotify royalties have decreased despite rising subscriber counts and revenue.
Pandora continues to struggle.
Back in 2018, despite having the second-highest amount of total users in the US, Pandora paid artists $0.0011 per play. By 2019, the digital radio service slightly increased that rate to $0.00134. The company has now settled at paying artists $0.00133 on Pandora Premium. Artists will now need 1,106,767 total plays on Pandora Premium just to earn $1,472.
YouTube pulls a U-Turn.
Historically, YouTube hasn’t ever been an artist-friendly platform, thanks to its horrendous payouts.
In 2017, the popular video platform paid $0.0006 per play. By 2019, the company had increased its rate to $0.00074.
But YouTube executives have now pulled a U-Turn, choosing to pay artists $0.00069. To earn the monthly minimum wage amount in the US, artists will need around 2,133,333 total plays on YouTube.
The video platform reportedly loses $174 million each year, with loss per user calculated at $0.17.
So, what’s our advice?
Once again, please don’t ever make a career out of your earnings on the popular video platform. Trust us. You’ll regret it.