Drake Proposes Spotify Offer Bonuses to Artists for Streaming Thresholds

Drake Spotify bonus
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Drake Spotify bonus
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Photo Credit: Felipe Pelaquim

Drake is the first artist to reach 75 billion streams on Spotify. Now the rapper says the platform should offer bonuses to artists who reach streaming thresholds—like athletes.

Drake made the proposal via an Instagram Story on Wednesday evening, following a tweet from chart data. “We should get bonuses like athletes to motivate the future artists to be consistent and competitive,” Drake writes. “So feel free to send me a Lebron-sized cheque. I have enough dinner plates.”

Spotify has over 200 million subscribers now, but many musicians struggle to see any income from their streaming music. It’s an issue that’s prevalent among all DSPs, and the Union of Musician and Allied Workers (UAW) has been calling for higher payouts for years now. Streaming music from services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, and Deezer makes up 83% of the recorded music revenues in the United States. 

These platforms use a pro-rata system of royalty distribution that that pools all of the money from subscribers into a pot, which is then divided by the total number of streams that month. If Drake drives 8% of streams that month, then he gets 5% of the pot—split between him and the companies that handle his music.

This is why even if you’ve never listened to a single Drake song on Spotify—your subscription is still subsidizing his income because the system favors artists with mass appeal who can drive massive engagement. 

Spotify’s estimated payout rate is less than half a cent per stream, or around $4,000 for one million streams. UAW is calling for Spotify to raise its pay rate to one cent per stream. But Spotify has pushed back, saying two-thirds of its revenue goes to rights holders. Apple Music–without a free tier weighing it down–manages to pay artists around a penny per stream. According to Spotify’s own numbers, only 57,000 acts on the platform account for 90% of the monthly streams on the platform.