Skip to main content

For artists participating in the Big Tech-driven streaming economies of Apple Music, Spotify, and beyond, it's no secret that there's a vast chasm between the haves and the have nots. 

But how large is that gulf really? A new Rolling Stone piece published by Tim Ingham, founder of Music Business Worldwide, sought to answer that question by piecing together nuggets of data released by Spotify's own volition. Unfortunately, what unfolded was the revelation of deep inequality within an increasingly crowded digital landscape. 

It all starts from one sobering big picture statistic. Nearly 57,000 artists on Spotify are vying for their share of around $4.5 billion, which represents 90% of the royalties Spotify pays annually. According to Spotify's statistics outlined in their Loud & Clear value proposition, these artists are touted as a benchmark for success. But they collectively represent just 0.8% of the artists on the platform.

Streaming Data

A pie chart breakdown of the earnings enjoyed by tier for Spotify's top 0.8% of creators.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Spotify

Here Are the Best Spotify Wrapped Memes of 2022

Let's laugh away all the tracking we let this giant tech company get away with this year.

EDC Vegas 2022_brphotoco-01

Insomniac's Unique Hotel Experience for EDC Las Vegas 2023 Is a "Rave Wonderland"

"Hotel EDC" will take over Resorts World’s Las Vegas Hilton next spring.

However, the divide increases dramatically when considering the estimated take-home pay for the upper echelons of creator society. Ingham defines this subset as artists making at least $50,000 or more annually, of which there are just 13,400 creators, or 0.2%. Even within this small subset of "haves," the lion's share of the rewards are enjoyed by few. That is encapsulated by the stat maintaining that only 870 artists take home over $1 million from Spotify per year.

In lieu of these statistics and more, the battle for fairer artist pay is beginning to find a new battleground at the federal level. Earlier this month, a UK Parliamentary probe prescribed a "complete reset" to the streaming economy for this very reason.

Related

spotify

Open Letter From Congress Rips Spotify's Controversial Discovery Mode, Seeks Financial Transparency

Congressional leaders are requesting Spotify release a monthly report of all the content included in its promotional Discovery Mode feature.

spotify

House Representative Rashida Tlaib Takes Aim at Music Streaming Services In New Resolution

It is the "duty of the Federal Government to establish a new royalty program," according to Tlaib's resolution.

d39e230e026c15ff371fa9e598d19aa6

Controversial Twitch Leak Highlights Gap In Compensation Between Streamers and Musicians

Twitch is shelling out the big bucks for their top streaming personalities, but only a small fraction of the pie is reaching the platform's top musicians.

spotify

Wolf In Sheep's Clothing? How Spotify's Discovery Mode May Harm Artists and Listeners

The Discovery Mode feature feeds audiences the music that saves Spotify the most money, contradicting its original value proposition.

Spotify money

Here's How Much Each Music Streaming Platform Pays Per Stream

Aggregate data was collected by The Trichordist.

general music streaming

New Study Reveals Fewer Than 800 U.K. Musicians Make Livable Wage From Music Streaming

It takes over one million monthly streams to sustain a livable wage from streaming.

general

Electronic Music Industry Tops $6 Billion In 2021, Makes Key Strides In Web3: IMS Business Report

Dance music artists are also topping the list of the most in-demand creators in the NFT space.

general

Spotify Editors See Rising Appetite for Underground Genres in Dance Music

As the dance music ecosystem matures, listeners are gravitating away from main stage EDM towards underground styles.