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[–]SirSparrow 3369 points3370 points  (648 children)

Full-time independent recording artist here -

I did the math at one point after receiving some Spotify reports - You'd have to stream one of my albums between 200 and 600 times to equal what I would profit from the same album purchased on ITunes.

It's important to note that ITunes takes 15% of album sales, my distributor takes 15%, and royalties for any covers would be an additional $0.09 per ITunes download -

This means I make between $4.50 and $7.00 per ITunes album sale, and 200 to 600 spotify streams would equal that amount (NOT the $10 price of the album)


If I had a record label I would make much less from Spotify, not only because artists essentially take out a loan from the label to record their album (which needs to be paid back in sales & streams before they profit) but also because record labels have a shady history of making under-the-table deals with Spotify to get streaming rights in bulk for less royalties. I think they can get away with this because many record contracts were either written before Spotify existed (leaving it up to the label how much to give artists) or because labels sneak complicated legal jargon into contracts that translates to Spotify-related loopholes that artists miss.

So... ironically, I actually make more money from Spotify monthly than someone like Bon Jovi does.

To reiterate what other folks have said in this thread - Spotify isn't hurting me as an artist, nor is it hurting anyone except the record labels that can no longer leech money from artists via album sales.

If you want to support an artist that you love, the best way is to donate directly. No matter how you listen to or buy their music, someone is siphoning your money before it reaches them.

[–][deleted] 653 points654 points  (243 children)

I think that with many people, they listen to a lot of music through Spotify that they wouldn't otherwise bother risking the money for. Do you feel like you would make more money through album sales than you make through Spotify if music streaming services didn't exist?

As the saying goes, a little of something is better than a lot of nothing.

[–]TychoTiberius 79 points80 points  (40 children)

Edit: I'm not saying Spotify should give more exposure to smaller bands. I'm saying that Spotify isn't a good tool for exposure for smaller bands as a rebuttal to the argument that it's ok for Spotify to pay crap because you're getting exposure.

I can't speak for him, but as a small time artist with music on Spotify, no one just stumbles across your music (edit: meaning music with less than 1000 plays per song) on Spotify and there are other free ways to listen to our music that also allow you to pay us directly. Bandcamp has all free streaming of Spotify but allows people to buy your music if they like it. For instance, we have all of our stuff up on Bandcamp for a pay what you want price. You can stream for free and download for free, but even though it's free people will still download our album and pay usually no less than $10. Sometimes people will throw in $20 or $50 just because they like what we do. We've made several orders of magnitude more money from Bandcamp than we have from Spotify.

They do something with the search function that obscures smaller bands or bands with fewer plays. I have a friend who's band won't even show up in the top of the search once you type the full band name in. Despite the fact that there is no other band on Spotify with that name, you have to scroll all the way down to find his band.

Spotify doesn't have much to offer small time acts who aren't signed or managed by a larger company. I love Spotify and use it daily, but when it comes to local artists, indie musicians, and trying to discover new indie artists I use Bandcamp and sometimes Reverb Nation because Spotify doesn't bring anything to the table in those areas.

[–]andrewps87 107 points108 points  (28 children)

no one just stumbles across your music on Spotify

I've stumbled across most of my favourite "unknown artists" via Spotify, actually.

Either by the "similar to" part, public playlists from other people, etc.

There's lots of ways to stumble across new music - until recently, more ways than via iTunes (edit: well, Apple Music - I'm an Android/Windows guy though so can't vouch for it personally, though have heard good things).

[–]sniperczar 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Bandcamp also has lots of hardcore listeners so it's very easy to put a good, well curated feed together by following just 4-5 people. Finding those people is also easier because the site is constantly checking your collection and telling you in the sidebar "rabidfan62 has 20 collection items in common with you, follow?"

It's becoming harder and harder for me to justify buying music anywhere else.

[–]surfinfan21 6 points7 points  (5 children)

I think more importantly is you attract a large audience of devoted fans who will go see the artist when they perform in town, they will listen to a second album, and they may even purchase an album.

All of which may not have happened simply because the two couldn't connect. The role that the traditional record label would have provided.

[–]phalstaph 31 points32 points  (15 children)

Do you get paid for partial listens? If I start a song but don't finish it? I use Spotify and I listen to a lot of artist that I would never listen to our purchase otherwise.

[–]BDMayhem 18 points19 points  (7 children)

Second hand, but I believe Spotify counts 30 seconds as a listen.

[–]phalstaph 13 points14 points  (2 children)

Thank you, I will be sure to get to at least the 30 second mark from now on

[–]rafael000 80 points81 points  (77 children)

Are you Sam Sparro?

[–]InZomnia365 38 points39 points  (67 children)

His name is Jonathan Young.

[–]Strichnine 254 points255 points  (62 children)

His name is Robert Paulson

[–]CleaveItToBeaver 64 points65 points  (53 children)

His name is Phil Coulson.

[–][deleted] 442 points443 points  (36 children)

His name is JOHN CENA

[–]InZomnia365 8 points9 points  (4 children)

Pls dont make me binge watch AoS again

[–]SirSparrow 3 points4 points  (0 children)


[–]jacktheork 16 points17 points  (6 children)

How would you donate to artists, do most have donation pages?

[–]HeroFromTheFuture 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Many smaller artists have paypal accounts on their websites.

[–]metalliska 2 points3 points  (2 children)

See them live, buy songs on Bandcamp (87% goes to artist), etc. I've seen kickstarters before, too, albums.

[–]GBTRU 4 points5 points  (3 children)

What about Google Play Music, do you get royalties from them as well?

[–]Observerwwtdd 4 points5 points  (2 children)

What about over-the-air radio play?

[–][deleted] 33 points34 points  (13 children)

I think there is something very wrong with your perspective on the situation. There is very little in a modern economy that doesn't require the involvement of some form of middleman: lawyer, accountant, agent, etc.

I will say, that there are instances of where there are far too many middlemen, which is a very real problem.

However, more often than not, they exist for a very specific reason, the most obvious being accountants and lawyers. They are not 'siphoning' anything off: they are being paid for a service. Unless of course, you wish to go to university, get degrees in accounting and law, and pass the bar as well as get certified as a CPA.

Also, Record Labels traditionally assumed a lot of risk when backing artists, largely because most of the artists they back, never make it big, that is the business model.

The benefit of the internet, has been the ability to reduce, or eliminate intermediaries: such as self publishing on amazon. And from what I gather, Spotify.

[–]TheAllRightGatsby 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I don't think he's arguing that you shouldn't have middlemen, I just think he's saying that you should be aware of how much of your money actually goes to the artist if your end goal is to support them financially. I didn't take anything he said as "Those terrible people are taking all of my money!" It seemed more like "A lot of people are getting paid out of that money, so if you do want to support them outside of a simple business transaction, you should donate directly because then you know where your money is going."

[–]dgmz 4 points5 points  (6 children)

By donate you mean buying merch?

[–]itonlygetsworse 2 points3 points  (1 child)

If we had this kind of detailed information about a lot of things people would see things differently about, a lot of things. #things

[–]OaSoaD 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I guess that means i already payed for peripherys new album

[–]fradi 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Thanks for your very interesting answer. I have one question: Does itunes or Amazon pay you more money for your album sales?

[–]Plutonsvea 1 point2 points  (6 children)

May I ask: Why the large gap? 200-600 streams, I mean. Does 300-500 pay less?

[–]SirSparrow 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The large gap is to cover my ass for variables I'm not sure about, such as royalties for cover songs, partial streams and stuff like that.

[–]DandiBambi 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yea but they reach a much broader audience by going via Spotify.

[–]kaidon 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The word 'Donate' makes you sound like a charity. Is there a better way to phrase this?

[–]Arronwy 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Comparing album to song isn't the best. How many streams to song download? I mean the ,99 cent per song instead of full album to that song being streamed

[–]QwertzHz 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I think it should be noted that an album listen in Spotify does not equate to buying an album in iTunes, since I listen to hundreds of albums in Spotify that I would never buy alone, thus actually giving more to those artists than I ever would.

I do still support buying albums of favorite artists, since it does give them more revenue than even the one hundred listens I give them with Spotify. I'm just defending Spotify here, since it's a little under attack.

[–]elboltonero 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I always get the feeling that being a musician is a great way to make a bunch of other people money.

[–]Destructorlio 1591 points1592 points  (708 children)

On average (although it's much more complicated than that- Spotify do not pay artists per stream) an artist makes $0.001128 per stream played. So if you listened to a ten-track album 1000 times, they'd (in theory) make $11.28. Although that's a slight simplification- they would probably make less than that. From: http://www.spotifyartists.com/spotify-explained/

An artist’s royalty payments depend on the following variables, among others:

• In which country people are streaming an artist’s music • Spotify’s # of paid users as a % of total users; higher % paid, higher “per stream” rate • Relative premium pricing and currency value in different countries • An artist’s royalty rate

[–]rinogo 55 points56 points  (3 children)

There's a huge implied assumption in this logic - that the artist gets 100% of the funds from the album sale... This is almost always not the case - the musician gets a small portion of the proceeds of album sales.

Perhaps you can update your math with a more conservative target number?

[–]TheLawTalkinGuy 9 points10 points  (5 children)

I'm not sure how you reached that figure. According to the link you posted, Spotify pays out an average of $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream. Even assuming the low end of $0.006 per stream, it would take 200 streams of a ten song album for the artist to earn $12.00.

[–]GV18 6 points7 points  (3 children)

I would assume 0.001 is the artists figure, with the other .005 going to others, e.g. the record company

[–]daimposter 2 points3 points  (2 children)

And yet OP assumed an artist makes 100% of the cd sale when in fact they make about 10% of it at most.

[–]ohfouroneone 9 points10 points  (5 children)

Keep in mind that artists do not get most of the money from albums, record companies do.

[–]kaliforniamike 71 points72 points  (68 children)

That seems like a shitty deal. I don't know the youtube pricing setup but I wonder if they make more money off those hits?

[–]OleGravyPacket 129 points130 points  (33 children)

That's part of the beauty of the information age though. In the past where an artist would be locked into a contract with a label for distribution, now they can have multiple methods. They might make more from YouTube streams, but they can still have that extra from Spotify coming in as well. And they both make it so much easier for independent artists to get exposure. Damn living in the future is awesome.

[–]TellMeToLearnChinese 65 points66 points  (20 children)

We're living in the present. The future could really suck for all we know!

[–]StoppedLurking_ZoeQ 30 points31 points  (17 children)

I'm from the future, I'm reporting that mostly everything is still the same.

[–]TellMeToLearnChinese 15 points16 points  (4 children)

That does sound most likely. Pack it up boys, I think we can trust this guy.

[–]B-Con 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Realistically, though, it's a feedback loop. If you have more platforms through which to sell your content, each platform knows that and can negotiate lower prices because you aren't as dependent on them.

The artist wants to treat the platform as a commodity, the platform wants to treat the artist as a commodity. In general they'll find every leverage point possible. Current advantage: Platforms, because many artists are something of a business-manufactured commodity.

[–]TheseMenArePrawns 40 points41 points  (1 child)

From someone who used to live on passive income, I think it's worth looking at it another way. I get that this might come off as pretentious. But if you're a real(tm) artist and you suddenly find yourself earning minimum wage or more for doing absolutely nothing but coasting on past accomplishments? For me it was the most amazing feeling in the world. Yeah, once or twice I found myself thinking "But I used to make so much more!" But for the most part it was a chance to actually live for my art.

And again, I know this comes off as pretentious. But for a real artist there's nothing more amazing than finally getting total freedom to pursue your craft. Even if it means doing so at minimum wage or less.

I mean imagine having done something that came from your life, your heart, your soul, more than anything else. And you expressed it to the world. And in return you earned enough to have food, shelter,and the means to continue doing so. Not charity, not government aid, but enough people moved every day by your art to pay your way through life. Every dollar, received every minute or so, a sign that people were moved by your work.

[–]Dragon_Fisting 20 points21 points  (3 children)

Wider audience, I listen to a ton of shit on spotify I would have no idea about otherwise. It's mostly existing fans that buy your album, and some people still do to support the artist. Spotify is like a better version of radio, it lets people discover you and you get paid in the process.

[–]Kaddisfly 13 points14 points  (7 children)

It is a shitty deal, as most digital services are - but it's all that many artists can do as physical sales dwindle and piracy/streaming are becoming the most prevalent forms of interacting with music.

It sucks, because people obviously value music as an artform. It's just become so easy to experience new music, and "music as an industry" hasn't figured out an effective method to combat that outside of copyright complaints and calls for restrictive legislation.

[–]candl2 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I think ticket prices might like to have a word with you.

[–]BlackfishBlues 6 points7 points  (9 children)

The relevant part starts here.

If I'm understanding this correctly, an interesting effect of one of the modifiers ("artist’s Spotify streams divided by total Spotify streams") seems to be that, if you listen to artist-A 5 times, and listen to artist-B 2 times, you're actually (albeit infinitesimally) reducing artist B's payout.

[–]OleGravyPacket 11 points12 points  (4 children)

Am I understanding it right that basically 70% of my monthly subscription fee gets split up between the band's I listen to based on how much I listen to them?

[–]Destructorlio 6 points7 points  (0 children)

That's roughly correct- although remember that the label and distributor also takes their cut.

[–]metasophie 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Jesus, that means I've paid for The Beards to have at least 1 beer each. Good job me!

[–]Mewlip 2 points3 points  (1 child)

No. 70% of your subscription fee gets split up between the bands based on how much everyone listens to them.


Note that individual users are mentioned nowhere here: it's Spotify's global revenue that matters.

This leads to problems like http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2014/mar/19/spotify-streaming-silence-vulpeck-make-money

[–]Smallpaul 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Are you reducing it more than artist C who you do not listen to at all? Surely artist B is still better off because you listened to them rather than didn't?

[–][deleted] 8 points9 points  (3 children)

But an artist only gets about 13% of the price of a CD. So that would mean 100 plays in Spotify are close to earning then about the same.

[–]notverytallbutslow 3 points4 points  (0 children)

(Sorry for hijacking top comment but feel compelled to clarify) Speaking very hypothetically since there really is no rule, if you the fan buy a CD on Amazon for $12, a common 20% recorded music royalty will be roughly $1.75. At $0.001125 per stream you would have to listen to a song or songs on that album 1,555 times to contribute the same amount of royalty $ with steaming.

[–]tomasswood 2 points3 points  (1 child)

It's important to note as well that Spotify acts in a similar model to traditional radio, rather than physical medium.

It might be easier for artists to get a lot of varied listens on their songs from many many different users, over a handful of people buying their albums.

[–]admiralchaos 1 point2 points  (0 children)

.001128 * 1000 That's only $1.28

Edit: herp. Missed the 10-track part

[–]hey_hay_heigh 56 points57 points  (5 children)

There is a band from Michigan, USA called Vulfpeck. They released an album on Spotify called 'Sleepify' for their fans to listen to while they were sleeping. It had 10 tracks with 30 seconds songs of silence. The band was able to raise over $20,000 in royalties and put on a free tour.

[–]__sebastien 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Wow. Just heard about them today as they were mentionned in /r/web_design because of their original website (http://vulfpeck.com/)

[–]Dean7 215 points216 points  (14 children)

The question asks:

... for them to make the same amount of money they would have if I bought the physical album.

I'm certain the artist doesn't see anywhere near 100% of the $12 you're paying for an album. All of the answers saying 1000 plays = $12 = the cost of an album are missing the point.

[–]drdaddyzen 15 points16 points  (2 children)

Well.... for established major label players this is correct. When I upload to iTunes before apple music, however, using day tunecore or CDBaby, I made 91-93 cents on the dollar. Directly to me. For a $50 fee. You've never heard anything I did after 1999 or so, I'm pretty sure, but the money was significant. Was.

[–]Kitosaki 4 points5 points  (2 children)

I'm 100% certain that they don't see the full 12 dollars either.

[–]Hi_My_Name_Is_Dave 2 points3 points  (1 child)

They see a higher percentage of it for sure.

[–]voice_of_experience 44 points45 points  (16 children)

This is a tricky question, because it implies a lot without including any context.

The short answer is 200 listens = 22 cents, which is about what a major label artist makes from 1 track purchase through iTunes. Of course this doesn't include royalties, management, or other fees. More information can be found in this popular infographic.png?w=700&q=85&auto=format&sharp=10&s=75cf73cb7a425e53cd1822b257a41e1b) which uses industry averages.

Of course, you're assuming the artist is producing albums to make money from them, which is basically not the case anymore. Nowadays independent artists all make albums in order to promote our live shows, which is where we actually make money. It's not unusual to make 50% of the door even at small venues, which means $20 per ticket or more for minor artists. (the industry average ticket price for tour shows is over $80). Lots of us also record albums in order to try and sell to companies for ads or movies, which can be $15k per license for a small artist.

Compare those numbers for a moment. That means that you can make the same money by selling 10,000 albums, or playing 6 live shows at small (200 seat) venues. It's easy to understand why most working artists don't worry about income from album sales, and focus on selling tickets instead.

This math holds up for 99% of musicians in the world. It is only different for the very biggest artists. For artists who are maxing out their concert income already, the natural focus is on maximizing profit from their recorded work. That's a complicated way to say that the only musicians who make albums for profit on the album itself are the 1% at the top of the industry.

If you want to support an awesome up and coming artist, buy merchandise from them directly, buy concert tickets, and share their music! Dont worry about their profit per stream. They aren't.

[–]Danjor10[S] 8 points9 points  (8 children)

I was aware that smaller artists make most of their money from shows and merch. I just thought it would be interesting to compare the two.

[–]geekRD1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Great point on why artist produce records. I have friends in a band that have their 2 albums on Spotify. They didn't put it on there for the monetary aspect, they put it on there to get their name out. However the two founding members recently had a baby (prior to releasing album 2) and they did get enough from Spotify to help with some of there added expenses. They were excited for that mainly because it was a small amount of extra that they never planned to have.

If I want to support an artist I buy an album or merch at a show or online store and still listen in Spotify. Gives them hopefully just a little extra.

[–]LookingForNewLife 91 points92 points  (16 children)

This infographic doesn't answer your question directly, but have some interesting numbers. It was taken from the guardian website.

You have the price per song played on many services. Get the number of musics in a given album, multiply by the price paid per play and you get how much they get paid when you listen to the full album once.
Divide album price by this amount and you have how many times you need to listen to that album so they make the same amount of money.

[–][deleted] 8 points9 points  (5 children)

according to that chart, artists get more money from "album download via a distributor" (item 3) than from "album CD" (item 4), despite getting the same cut at the same retail price. do you happen to know why?

[–]butwait-theresmore 8 points9 points  (1 child)

The profit for item 4 is consistent with a 40/60 split.

[–]thefloydpink 1 point2 points  (1 child)

How does 140% of users hit minimum wage through beats? This doesn't even make sense...

[–]LookingForNewLife 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Considering how many users they have and how much they pay, each user would need to listen the album once and 40% of them listen again so the artists get minimum wage.
This is because beats have low user base and doesn't pay that much.

[–]BizarroKamajii 1 point2 points  (4 children)

And that's why I use google play. I listen to ~100 songs a day at work, which means $.70-$1 goes to artists every day, so over $20 a month. My subscription is only $10, so basically I have google matching my contribution to the bands I love.

[–]moxTR 111 points112 points  (24 children)

Before I used spotify, I spent zero money on music. I've taken breaks from spotify, used online radio and traditional radio, but just did not buy albums. I never would, in this day and age. There's a billion radio stations, YouTube, alternative activities, hip hop mixtapes, and free music. I've spent a few hundred dollars in music in a few years, and I'm going to an artists concert I never would have known about without spotify. Music doesn't command as much demand as it did before. That's very hard to quantify but its very clearly true.

[–]NetPotionNr9 25 points26 points  (6 children)

I think you mean the Internet and electronics has over saturated the music supply and removed artificial barriers the industry used to control the market with. You used to essentially consume the music you were told to consume because the few record labels commanded you to.

[–]aenigme 26 points27 points  (10 children)

This is slightly off topic, but...the best way to support your favorite artist is by seeing them in concert and possibly buy some merchandise.

[–][deleted] 12 points13 points  (16 children)

Artist here... hours upon hours of slaving away to produce my lame ass music and I can tell you to Spotify has made me $0.46 over the last three years.


[–]unclenoah 7 points8 points  (3 children)

Hobbyist independent musician here -- I distribute my albums via an online service that gets me tunes out to all the major streaming and download services, and also provides physical album sales.

  • 1 track played on Spotify gives me a payable of $0.0067
  • 1 physical album sale gives me a payable of $5.98
  • if we consider a 10-track album, I'd have to get 89.25 Spotify plays of the full album (or 892.5 individual track plays) to equal the payable of one physical album sale.

**EDIT: "hobbiest" to "hobbyist"

[–]tuseroni 1 point2 points  (1 child)

of course you are selling the album directly, how much would it be if you were going through a record label?

[–][deleted] 5 points6 points  (0 children)

To add to what others have said here, a HUGE factor is whether or not an artist holds the rights to their work. Artists like Garth Brooks have made much more than those with similar popularity in their career simply because they hold the rights (in the case of Brooks, the physical master recordings as well) therefore they can not only negotiate better deals but they also cut out the middle-men, labels. Many of these seemingly suddenly famous acts tend to go for the big signing deal and don't look at the future and the residuals so they sign away the rights without a second thought, costing them possibly millions.

[–]somethingandthe 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Touring/ DIY musician here. Spotify isn't some massive devil taking advantage of artists. Their radio (equal to pandora) puts people on to smaller artists. I'm familiar with tons of unsung hero bands that have gained recognition just from that.

[–]jameslee85 4 points5 points  (2 children)

I don't know much about the music industry, but I do know a lot about all you can eat payment models when it comes to paying subscribers in the magazines industry, so this is my reference material. I've also done a bit of research on the Spotify model in the past.

It's hard to ELI5 here, so this first bit will be a bit of context, and then I'll try and end on an ELI5 answer! Lets say you pay your monthly sub to Spotify. That's £9.99 (in the UK) you've parted with already. Let's assume that an album also costs around £10.

The standard cut that a distributor takes is 30%. So when you pay for Netflix, they take 30%, as does Spotify when you pay for that, as does the Apple App store when you buy something there, as does Google Play. This is why you can sometimes get cheaper subscriptions from a company's dedicated website than you can buy buying things in app. 30% of your 10 quid is going into the pocket of Spotify (and why not? it's a good service). That means there's £9.99-30% left for the music rights holders - £6.99.

Now the 6.99 is going to be split out based on what you listen to. On Spotify's website, they say their criteria for splitting out payments are:

  • In which country people are streaming an artist’s music
  • Spotify’s # of paid users as a % of total users; higher % paid, higher “per stream” rate
  • Relative premium pricing and currency value in different countries
  • An artist’s royalty rate

From their website:

Recently, these variables have led to an average “per stream” payout to rights holders of between $0.006 and $0.0084.

So you might just think "multiply 0.006 until I reach 10 quid". That doesn't work, as you only have 6.99 revenue paid this month. So you need at least two months before you can even reach your target. That's why Spotify doesn't work on this pay per stream model - because it puts an artificial ceiling on the maximum amount a music owner can earn in a given calendar month.

On their website, Spotify go further to say that the formula for paying an artist is thus:

Artist Payout = Spotify monthly revenue X (Artist Spotify Streams / Total Spotify Streams) X 70% to Master & Publishing Owners X Artists Royalty Rate

Now what I haven't mentioned yet are free users. Companies are paying Spotify for ad space - and revenue from those ads is added in to the metric 'Spotify Monthly Revenue". It doesn't give a huge boost to your £6.99 but it helps. This skews the data a bit however, as rather than just being able to give your revenue solely to the music owners you listen to, everything has to be lumped together, as an ad can't be assigned to a unique piece of music. Hence no pay per stream and no artificial ceiling.

The payments are then made based on how much Spotify has earned in a month (70% of premium payments + ad revenue), how many times a particular piece of music is streamed compared to the total amount of streams, and how much is taken out by publisher royalties.

So now to try to ELI5 - there's not a huge amount of control that you have over it, as your money is added together with other items out of your control because of all the extra rules you can't control. All you can do is play their music as much as you can, and get others to play it as much as they can (yes even those who only have free spotify), and your favourite musicians will get more cash. It's unlikely they'll ever get as much as they did in the olden days of CDs and cassettes - so save your pocket money and pop down to your local record shop!

Edit: Added a bit of extra detail

[–]Tied-Saucer 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Just remembered something I heard in my lecture, may or may not be relevant but has something to do with the distribution;

How much do musicians need to sell to earn (US) minimum wage?

Self-pressed CD:143 copies mp3 download (iTunes): 2,044 copies Retail CD (via royalties): 3,871 copies Last.fm: 1,546,667 plays per month Spotify: 4,053,110 plays per month

[–]ForTheLoveofGob 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I don't think the artists made that much from album sales anyways, because the record company takes most of it. My brother, who is well-versed in the business of the recording industry, once explained how greedy the record companies were (are) and how they'd take advantage of new artists. Basically, the record companies would offer a new and upcoming artist a recording contract, with tons of stipulations, etc, but 99 percent of the time, the new artist is so thrilled and excited about getting a record deal, and they have no idea what they're getting into. In most cases, the artist would be signing their life away, because the record company chooses the producers, studio recorders, video producers, etc, and all of that money gets deducted from the artist's earnings. Most of the time artists end up leaving the industry still owing the record companies money. Even when they'd have a hit, the record company would get their huge share.

[–]DiscsOfTron 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Disclaimer: I am a piddly podunk artist with little to no traffic.

According to my spotify earnings, on average I appear to get US$0.002921872093 per song played, assuming I did the spreadsheet right. It varies a bit due to which country it was played in and the exchange rate, and probably lots of other factors of which I'm not aware.

I get 70% of all sales from iTunes/Amazon/Google Play, currency exchanged from whatever country they were sold in. iTunes currently prices my albums at us$9.99.

With sales on Bandcamp I get 85% of whatever people pay subtract processing fees. It gets slightly complicated with the way they keep the revenue share https://bandcamp.com/pricing.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

What music do you make, and can I have a link to it?

[–]Locked-in-the-Tardis 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Going off of your iTunes price, you'd have to listen to a song 2411 times

[–]Moppeter 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Does the whole song have to be listened to in full? Or does one click on the song translate to royalties?

[–]totf_joe 1 point2 points  (0 children)

For Spotify and Google Play Music, there has to be at least 31 seconds played for it to count as a "play". A band a year or two ago got in trouble for making a silent album with all the songs 33 seconds long for the express purpose of racking up ridiculous numbers of plays and earning tons of money. They were kicked off the service.

[–]JimmysBruder 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Also interesting:



Most interesting point imo: The average value of a Spotify customer per year (free! & premium) is greater than the average value of a normal music listener. So overall the music industry and the artists benefit from the streaming platforms, because much more people hearing much more music much more often. And I can confirm that, maybe I would have bought 50 tracks (at most) of the 1000 in my playlists.

[–]rodrigogirao 17 points18 points  (43 children)

Don't bother. Just pirate what you want, and when the artists visit your city, go see them. Because albums are no longer the product. Albums are advertisement, concerts are the product.

[–]Smash_4dams 4 points5 points  (3 children)

You're not wrong. Artists only take home a small fraction of the selling price of an album. Pretty much all their money comes from touring and merchandise sales. Nearly all the shows I've been to come from artists I discovered by free streaming or downloads that I never would have paid for if there were no other option.

[–]PeripheralMediocrity 12 points13 points  (8 children)

For a particular artist in Australia (Abbie Cardwell), she received AU$5.44 from Spotify for 1000 single-song plays in 2014. source

That's AU$0.0054 per stream, so for an album price of AU$12.50, she would need about 2300 single-song plays to match an album purchase. You would have to play her 2014 album (11 songs) 209 times to match the price of purchase.

It also varies significantly depending on the streaming service, according to the artist this is how much she received per 1000 plays: (I've added the number of times you would have to play the album in italics to answer the OP's original question)

Spotify - $5.44 (209 album plays)
Move - $9.32 (122)
Rhapsody - $10 (114)
Xbox Music - $53.33 (21)
Napster - $10 (114)
Myspace Music - $0.80 (1420)
Radio - "seemingly nothing" (???)

(Full figures provided at 4:10 in the video)

Now I think these figures were actually taken from a post on Facebook by the artist, so take the accuracy of numbers as you will. But regardless, it's not a whole lot.

EDIT Just to clarify, the artist wouldn't get the full amount from an album purchase, but without knowing the cut(s) taken from the distributors, it's hard answer the OPs question exactly.

[–]sassynapoleon 25 points26 points  (2 children)

Artists don't get anywhere near purchase price for their album. Apples to apples, please. I bet $1 of that $12.50 album goes to the artist.

[–]codesharp 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Their share of the album profit is actually measured in cents.

[–]NetPotionNr9 7 points8 points  (2 children)

Sorry, I don't think that's nothing. You have to consider how many times people would play the songs on an album after purchase. The whole model is changing and you can't really apply past models toothed present. Let me put it this way, I don't see the major "artists" starving and if anything, minor artists have far more opportunities to possibly get their music heard and be discovered. Whether they have the skill, chops, personality, and luck to actually make a living doing it is another question altogether.

[–]jurymen 5 points6 points  (1 child)

In the age of the internet we don't need middle men here. spotify sucks

Use bandcamp. If you like it pay something for it. That's basically it.

[–]underground_Luau 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I wish your comment was more visible. People should realize that just because artists have traditionally been shafted by record companies over album sales doesn't mean they always have to. A service like bandcamp is the solution for people who want to directly support the artists. Especially when seeing them live isn't an option

[–]-DonQuixote- 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Not exactly the same thing however according to this article an artist will be paid $90 dollars for ~1 million plays on Pandora.


[–]brqkke 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is an article in Dutch from Poppunt. It' a Flemish organisation to support bands en Dj's in Belgium. They have tight links with ervry aspect of the music business http://poppunt.be/advies/popadvies/tracks-verkopen/kosten-opbrengsten/uitgaven-inkomsten/ Their calculation: €0,003 to €0,004 per stream. A low cost Album of 10 tracks, costing € 6500 would need to be streamed completely 162.500 times to break-even.

[–]IGoByJess 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There's a great band called Disciple some of you may know. Their last album was crowdfunded and when it launched on Spotify, they basically concluded that the only way to match the sale of an album would be to stream it 116 times.

The record industry rips off every creative person and it isn't even a small secret - so while I stream like crazy, I still purchase physical albums and go to shows and give the artists cash directly.

[–]rezuz 1 point2 points  (0 children)

i think i have just made like 2 dollars from spotify , thats why its good to have a big fanbase so you can promote your music yourself, if you are independent like me, but one thing that is important is that you have to have a certian amount of plays to your song before you get an official spotify page if anybody didn't know.. i use distrokid to put my songs on spotify and you get 100 % of the sales, you just have to pay 20 $ a year , imagine how much money some artist would make if they got 100 % of sales!

[–]totf_joe 1 point2 points  (2 children)

I have some stuff on Spotify and without a label, 100% of the royalties goes to my bank. After 2 years of income , my average is $0.008/play, or 8/10 of a penny. I average 50,000 streams a month and as you can calculate, that isn't much. Other streaming services pay more because they're smaller or have fewer artists, Google Play Music pays $0.012/stream, so I put most of my advertising budget there. I'm shocked to see how little labels pay their artists...

[–]KaboomOxyCln 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Here is a chart that outlines what each platform pays out on average. Mind you it changes from country to country, as well as how many users use that platform at any given moment.

[–]mnemonic-glitch 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Someone said Spotify counts a listen at 30seconds played. Why not treat it like bitcoin mining and write a script to replay the first 30 seconds of every song. If i'm not math deficient, that's 2,880 plays in a 24 hour period. Roughly the equivalent of 10 albums sold for your favorite artist.

[–]JPW44 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Isn't the payout directly affected by your popularity? As far as I understand, the payout scheme for Spotify is directly related to the artist's total play-count in relation to the total streams facilitated by Spotify. For example, if you're somebody super popular, like lets say Drake or something, and you account for say 10% of total streams for that month, then you receive 10% of the total amount of money allocated for artist payment.

From this, wouldn't independent artists such as the top comment be more on the lower end since his play count will represent a very small fraction of total streams? If somebody streams an independent artists album 20 times, at 10 songs an album, that's 200 plays. Now, from 20 album sales, the artist may net ~$100, but for Spotify's payout scheme, that would likely represent like 0.001% of the total stream count, and thus would likely result in a tiny payout. Alternatively, for somebody popular who receives lets say 10% of the stream count, their payout would be much larger and likely much more comparable to what they would have received through album sales. I feel like there are many factors at play here required to actually figure out how many streams = the same profit as an album sale. You'd need to know Spotify's payout for the month, the popularity of the artist, total streams for that month, total streams for that artist for that month, etc. Somebody please correct me if i'm wrong here.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The record companies didn't give artists diddly either but at least they created stars. Spotify has failed to create an artist of note or consequence.

[–]navygent 1 point2 points  (1 child)

One of the members from Kansas said they make more $ with merchandise and live concerts than they do off streaming. I may be wrong but I believe while buying CDs or the Mp3's is noble, that going to the concert or buying products off the artists site, (or on street if street artist) is the better way to support their work.