So how much do artists get paid for a single stream? We have an updated list.

The Trichordist, a website run by David Lowery of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, has always been extremely critical of the payouts coming from streaming music services. He’s a fierce defender and advocate of musicians’ rights.

Every year, The Trichordist publishes what they call their “streaming price bible,” detailing what the various platforms pay out for a single stream of a single song. The 2019 version is out now and is based on date taken from a mid-sized indie label with more than 350 titles generating 1.5 billion streams per year.

According to the date, Spotify pays out US$0.00348 per stream, slightly up from US$0.00331 in 2018. (A point of clarification: This figure is derived from both Spotify’s subscription service and its free tier that’s supported by commercials.)

Doing a bit of math, it means that if your song has 1 million plays on Spotify, you can expect a payout of US$3,500. That doesn’t sound like much until you compare that to the payouts for airplay on traditional terrestrial radio. It’s certainly higher than if a station plays the song once and is heard by a million people simultaneously. But compared to revenues from music sales, it’s obviously a pittance. That, however, is an apples-to-oranges comparison. But let’s not digress right now.)

Apple pays out quite a bit more per stream: $US0.00657, so if you have a hit on Apple Music, you’ll make at nearly 1.5x the revenue. That’s the highest payout rate of any service.

From a musicians’ point of view, YouTube is a necessary evil. Viewership/consumption is huge–and if you don’t exist on YouTube, you simply don’t exist for a lot of people–but a single view pays out just US$0.00022. That’s almost immeasurable.

If you want to dive into the payouts made by 30 different streaming services, go here.

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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