How much do musicians actually make from major streaming companies?

Musicians say they’re not earning enough from music streaming services. But major streaming companies like Deezer, Spotify and Napster are still making a loss. So how much do musicians actually make from major streaming giants? And how does the size and popularity of a service impact the likelihood of musicians earning a living from it?

Information is Beautiful has released a new infograph showing how much major streaming services actually pay. It reflects their best efforts to amass per-stream data into one diagram. They compared eight major music streaming services: Napster, YouTube, Pandora, Apple Music, TIDAL, Google Play, Deezer, and Spotify.

The team tracked the following information:

  • Artist revenue per play.
  • Total users (millions) per platform.
  • Percentage of free users on the platform.
  • Plays needed to earn minimum monthly wage ($1,472).
  • Total annual loss reported by the streaming platform.
  • Annual loss per user.

Highest revenue per play:
1. Napster: $0.0167 per play
2. TIDAL: $0.0110 per play
3. Apple Music: $0.0064 per play
4. Google Play: $0.0059 per play
5. Deezer: $0.0056 per play
6. Spotify: $0.0038 per play
7. Pandora: $0.0011 per play
8. YouTube: $0.0006 per play

To reach minimum wage:
1. Napster: 90,000 plays
2. TIDAL: 130,000 plays
3. Apple Music: 230,000 plays
4. Google Play: 250,000 plays
5. Deezer: 260,000 plays
6. Spotify: 380,000 plays
7. Pandora: 1.2 million plays
8. YouTube: 2.4 million plays

Surprisingly, Napster topped this year’s list with the highest artist revenue paid out per play. For a single stream, Napster paid out $0.0167. Compared to its competitors, however, the platform has the second-lowest amount of total users: 5 million. So it can be difficult to scale that per-play number, but great if you assemble a core Napster following.

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