New data says that 1% of artists account for 90% of all music streams

An analytics company called Alpha Data took a look at the state of streaming. By examining the fortunes of 1.6 million artists who released music on streaming music platforms over 18 months, 16,000 artist–1%–were responsible for 90% of all streams.

We can expand that, too. If we look at the top 10% of artists–160,000–they suck up 99.4% of the streams. Doing a flip on the math, it means that 1.4 million artists are fighting for that 0.6%. Almost half of all the artists in the analysis had 100 streams or less.

But this only tells a part of the story because we’re not sure how many artists actually live on Spotify. In March 2018, the company gave a number of three million. Things have obviously increased since then.

Then there are the songs that have never been streamed even once, which is estimated to include up to 20% of all songs posted to Spotify. For fun, used your Spotify account to sign on to Forgotify. It will give you a stream of songs no one has ever streamed before.

More details at Rolling Stone (paywall).

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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