What Streaming Music Services Pay

Find out what top streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music, actually pay per play.

Major record companies have been thriving, and they continue to break records. The top three have collectively been racking in around $1bn per month. Music streaming, contributing $3.2bn overall, has been generating more money than any tangible product on the market right now.

Wait a minute.. So, how much do artists actually earn from that?

In 2017, Digital Music News found that Napster had the highest payouts. After just 90,000 plays on the platform, artists would earn the U.S. monthly minimum wage of $1,472. Alternatively, the largest platforms, Spotify and YouTube had the worst payouts of the bunch. With over 1.1 billion users, artists would receive only $0.0006 per play on YouTube. Even Pandora, at $0.00134 per stream, dished out more than YouTube in 2018.

What’s Happening Now?

This year, The Trichodist, with a catalog of 200+ albums that generate over 200 million streams annually, provided each major services’ per stream rate. Microsoft’s X-Box Music, Napster, and Tidal ranked as the top three platforms for highest artist payouts. Microsoft’s service, X-Box Music paid $0.02730 to artists while Napster followed closely after at $0.01682 per stream.

A couple years ago, Microsoft caught everyone off guard when they abruptly announced that it would exit the music streaming market. With few users lining up behind the service, the company just couldn’t compete against established market leaders. Although it ranked the highest on this list, it had the lowest streaming music market share of 0.65%.


This explains why Microsoft abandoned the music streaming market altogether.

Napster may no longer be the king of streaming payouts, but it still has significantly higher artist revenue payouts.

With 4.5 million subscribers and only a 1.75% market share in the US, Napster pays its artists $0.01682 per stream. Although they don’t have the highest subscription numbers, they rank #1 in its artist payouts.

What about Tidal?

Don’t count them out just yet. Last year, unsigned artists on the platform were paid $0.0110 per stream. This year, Jay-Z’s seemingly troubled music service paid $0.01284.

Coming in third, Apple Music.

Right behind Tidal, Apple Music ranks higher than Amazon, Deezer, Google, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube, paying artists $0.00783 per share.

Apple Music doesn’t have a free tier, which might explain explain why it offers a significantly higher per-play rate.

Amazon proves that providing two separate streaming music services can actually boost numbers.

With millions of consumers, Amazon’s streaming services offer a slightly higher payout that most. Artists on this platform make $0.00740 per stream.

Ever heard of Deezer? If not, you have now.

This streaming service may not have the most well known presence in the U.S., but this French based platform pays out a pretty penny to its affiliated artists. In just one year, Deezer jumped from $0.0056 up to what it is now at $0.00624 per stream.

Merci, Deezer.

The former payout king continues its slow descent to terrible payouts.

Google Play is one of the largest platforms and used to have one of the highest payouts around. Now, they pay $0.00611 per play to their artists. Meanwhile, they used to dish out $0.0179 per stream.

With over 100 million subs and counting, Spotify is growing but still isn’t the end all be all.

Ranking in two spots above YouTube, Spotify artists make only $0.00397 per play. Spotify’s great for the exposure but many think there is more to be done here for artists. Musicians need to aim to rack up 1 million streams before they get close to taking home monthly minimum wage. The profits are in the streams and getting on a playlist has been shown to boost streams by 50%-100%. Spotify has a lot of focus and aims to continue to build more discovery tools and avenues to continue growing artists. This streaming service is here to stay and growing with the industry – we’re keeping an eye on it.

Slowly but surely, Pandora is dying.

Things haven’t been going so well for Pandora these days. The service has consistently paid their artists $0.00134 for the past two years, but they will more likely be paying something closer to $0.00000 when they ultimately descend into the darkness.

It’s rumored to even be ending its long run sometime this year.

Should We Even Include YouTube In This List…

We, and everyone in the world, strongly suggest to steer clear of attempting to launch your career with YouTube.

However, they’re trying. We’ll give them that.

YouTube is planning to launch a third attempt at yet another streaming service. Will the third time be the charm? If you do decide to delve into a relationship with YouTube’s streaming services, expect to make a super low pay rate of $0.00074 per stream, the lowest of the bunch.

START SPREADING YOUR MUSIC