In the past, it was quite easy to calculate how much you earn from a sale. It was pretty clear how much you get per sold CD or vinyl record you sold and also with the downloads it was predictable what you earn per song. But in the streaming age the whole story has become much more complicated. Even though there are various figures on the web about how much Spotify pays per stream, there is no such thing as one fixed amount.
Therefore it’ s not surprising that we receive many questions from artists, why there are fluctuations in their streaming revenues. We have collected and analyzed a huge amount of data to give you a detailed insight into how Spotify pays you. Important: we only analyzed the numbers of Spotify. The other streaming providers work with different calculation models.
As mentioned, there is not one single amount Spotify pays per stream, but countless different ones. This depends on many factors, but mainly on which country the stream comes from and whether the listener has a free or premium subscription.
If we compare 18 of the world’s 20 most important music markets according to IFPI (China and South Korea are not on the list because Spotify is not available there), we see that the values vary enormously. The payout for one million streams ranges from 850 USD in Argentina to 5,479 USD in Norway. On average, you get 3,222 USD for one million streams in the 18 most important music markets.
What causes the fluctuations in streaming payouts?
One of the most important factors is the subscription price. In India, for example, a Spotify Premium subscription costs only a fraction of what you pay in Denmark. While a premium subscription in Denmark costs the equivalent of 15.65 USD, a premium user in India only has to pay 1.60 USD per month.
Also, the advertising revenues vary between markets and of course they also vary from month to month in each individual market. At the same time, the number of premium subscriptions and the number of streams generated by the listeners changes every month. In short, the numbers are in constant change and so is the payout to the artists.
This means that it doesn’t only depend on the changes in your personal streaming numbers, but also how the “market” changes in general. If the number of your streams decreases but also the total number of all streams drops equally, you still earn the same amount. Overstated, you earn the same amount for 5,000 streams at a PPS (Pay Per Stream) of 0.001 as for a single stream at a PPS of 5 USD. It’ also possible that you generate more streams, but the PPS decreases and you still don’t earn more.
Here are the most important factors that influence how much you get per stream:
- Subscription price
- Subscription type (Free / Paid)
- Origin of the stream (country)
- Advertising revenue generated in the respective market
- Number of subscriptions
- Number of streams generated per month
How much does Spotify pay per stream?
Spotify keeps 30% of all revenues generated. Of the remaining 70%, a part is paid for the songwriters and composers and the rest goes via label or distribution to the rights holders of the song.
From the remaining share it’s calculated how many streams there were in total and how high the share of each artist is. Assuming there were one million streams per month and you have achieved 1,000 streams, you will receive 0.01%.
So far, so good. But it’ s not that there is only one cake, there are dozens of them. So there’s one cake for every market, every subscription level, and so on. This is where the (big) differences start.
We have analyzed our extensive data material and calculated how much you earn per stream in the different countries where Spotify is available. Not yet included are the Balkans, as Spotify was only recently launched there.
You can see, for example, that for one million streams in Iceland you get almost nine times what is paid for the same number of streams in Morocco, Tunisia or Algeria. Assuming you had the same number of streams in each of the 79 countries, this would give you a PPS of 0.00203111. So for one million streams you would get 2,389.58 USD, which is about the same as in Uruguay or Spain. Many European countries such as Italy, Greece, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary or Poland are below this average, in some cases even significantly.
But even in the English-speaking countries the figures vary considerably. While you get 4,912 USD per million streams in the UK or even 4,977 USD in New Zealand, the figure is 3,964 USD in Australia, only about 3,525 USD in the USA and even only 2,738 USD in Canada.
The evaluation clearly shows that it’ s not only important how many streams you generate, but also in which countries. For example, Iceland is by far the country with the best payoff, but with its less than 400,000 inhabitants the island state is still only moderately interesting. Countries with a large population like India or Mexico are of course attractive because of their size, but you have to generate multiple times as many streams as for example in the UK. If you consider not only the payout per stream but also the number of inhabitants, the most interesting markets are the UK, Australia, Japan, USA, Germany and France. This is no surprise, but our analysis also shows that the Scandinavian markets should not be forgotten and countries such as the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland and Austria should not be ignored. On the other hand, if you have your core audience in Turkey, the North African states or even the Latin American countries, you have to make a double or triple effort.