Music Industry

How Do Artists Make Money on Spotify Per Play? 

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Streaming has transformed and revolutionised the music industry, both for consumers and for the bands and singers who lay down the tracks. But is there cash to be made on Spotify, and how much?  

Spotify has been around since 2008, a veteran of the streaming market. It has all the big names, as well as lots of upcoming ones and fills many a musician’s bank account with its payouts. So how do artists make money on Spotify per play? 

Artists make money by uploading their music and then receiving a share of the profits, based on the number of streams they’ve had. There’s a lot more to it than that though. In this article, we’ll tell everything you need to know about making money on Spotify with your tracks.  

How do artists make money on Spotify per play? 

how much does spotify pay artists 2019

Spotify is essentially a profit share type of organisation. The ethos is, the company’s earnings are split among the artists/managers/musicians as dividends, according to the number of plays they have achieved over a period of time (usually calculated four times a year). It’s not just about how well you’re doing. It’s about how well the service as a whole does too.   

Yet these figures might seem remarkably low, given how successful an enterprise Spotify is. If they’re turning over multi-millions, why are songs paying out at fractions of a pence per play? Well, profits are a grey area.

Any organisation has to pay staff, running costs, insurances marketing and expenses. And the more successful they are, the more the costs tend to be, due to the volume of work and requirements to keep things ticking over.   

And don’t be disheartened if this doesn’t seem like an easy way to make cash. There are plenty of other reasons to launch your work on streaming platforms and it’ll help you make money in other areas of your career too. So it’s not just about the pay per play sums.  


What does Spotify pay artists? 

How do you make money on Spotify?  

They pay out money! This is placed into the account of the nominee and it’s all above board. There are times as a performer you may be paid in tips, free meals or drinks, but Spotify operate via bank transfers. 

You might wish they spent less on PR to pay you more. But this can be a false economy. Less investment like this will result in a lower turnover. Meaning you won’t get any more in the long run in any case.  

Another factor to consider is how popular a long-running service like this one is. And this can change from year to year. With Spotify, you may find you’re a small fish in a very large pool of big fish and get fewer streams as a result of the range of choice for listeners.

You may get more plays elsewhere on a more niche streaming service, but as that service gets less overall streams, you make less per play anyway. It’s all about maths and balancing it out.    


How do you make money on Spotify?  

Spotify – and indeed any streaming service of aggregator doesn’t automatically pay out to the artist. Rather it is the person who owns the rights to the music that gets the wonga. Make sure when signing contracts, or if someone else is uploading your music under their name, that you have a clear agreement when it comes to who gets what. Get it wrong and you could get little, or nothing at all, even if your tunes hit the big time.   

But let’s get down to some exact figures… 

How much money do you get per play on Spotify?  

The only way to know what Spotify pays is to look at what they’ve paid. No one knows what they’ll be paying out in future, so it’s a bit like playing the stock market. We can forecast and estimate, but that’s it. It depends on their turnover. We’ve got the inside track on the last two year’s figures, with a guide to how it’s likely to affect the next year.  

How much does Spotify pay artists – 2018  

Leading the way in 2018 was Drake, with the 8.2 billion streams. God’s Plan got 1 million streams alone. He was followed by Post Malone and XXXTENTACION.  

How much does Spotify pay per stream – 2018 figures 

The average 2018 payout per stream in 2018 was 0.0031 in GBP or 0.0039 in US dollars.  

How much does Spotify pay artists – 2019 big hitters 

How much money do artists make from Spotify? 

Ed Sheeran topped the charts in 2019 payouts. His No 6. Collaborations Album, broke their streaming record, with in excess of 70 million streams. Over 30% of Spotify subscribers listen to his music on a regular basis. Shawn Mendes has been attracting over 56 million per month, while Camila Cabello achieves 54 million.   

How much does Spotify pay per stream – 2019 figures 

In 2019 the streaming service paid out around 0.0035 in pounds sterling per stream or 0.0045 in US dollars. The good news is that that is a rise in the 2018’s figures, so we can guess at a forecasted rise of around 0.0006 in 2020.  

How much money do artists make from Spotify? 

How does Spotify calculate these figures? With a simple equation: Net income ÷ overall number of streams = pay per stream. Another thing to be aware of is that only tracks over 30 seconds in duration count toward your paid for streams.

These kinds of payouts cause a lot of controversy in the industry. Many artists love the platforms, but others protest against them. Notably, Taylor Swift withdrew her albums from Spotify a few years ago. 


How much does Spotify pay per 1000 streams? 

On this basis, you’d earn £3.50 per 1000 streams in 2019. Not a lot, just enough for a large coffee. It’s fine as long as you’re not depending on big money. 1000 streams is nevertheless a big achievement so a cause to celebrate, even if it’s not going to buy you diamonds, gold and fancy cribs.  

How much does Spotify pay for 1 million streams? 

Get a cool 1 million streams and you (and your manager, producer, musicians and backups) land £3500. That’s more like it, but it’s not going to make you rich. You’ll need billions of streams for that. But if users are listening to your songs in that quantity, it’s not just about the pay per play, it’s about the impact the exposure has on your career.

And much of your earnings as an artist come from other places: gigs, merch etc. So getting seen and heard will have an overall impact on that.  

A great tip is to record a winning Christmas song. Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas hit 11 million streams on 24th December last year – and people will keep on playing it every yuletide. Find out more about cash from Christmas hits in this video  

Spotify for artists 

Once you’ve uploaded some music onto Spotify, you can choose to become a part of their community, an online space for their artists. This is definitely recommended as you get access to handy stats and control over your Spotify artist identity.  

How do I boost plays on Spotify? 

How do I boost plays on Spotify? 

First you must create a Spotify for Artists account if you haven’t already (there’s more on how to go about this further along in this article). You may have noticed that you get a suggested playlist every week. And that there’s suggested playlists for different genres and occasions. So how do you get on these and get heard by people who may not have otherwise known about you, or clicked on your profile? Here are some top tips for boosting plays… 

  1. Get verified. This is very easy and just means that Spotify will check you are who you say you are, adding legitimacy to your account.  
  2. Send your music to the editorial team for playlist consideration. 
  3. Create your own playlists, including lists based on themes around your sound – you can then share these.   
  4. Share others’ music, they may return the favour.  
  5. Highlight your account on your social media channels, ask fans to follow you on the platform and share tracks. 
  6. Contact independent streaming playlist curators.  
  7. Tell everyone you know! No one will listen if they don’t know you’re there.  
  8. Keep adding regularly content to keep listeners and followers interested.  
  9. You can also buy streams. This has ethical issues, so whether you take this option has to be your own decision.  


When does Spotify pay artists? 

It takes up to three months for Spotify to report the results of your streams to the distributors. And the finances are usually organised and calculated quarterly, based on the available figures ar the time, so you may not see the income roll in for many months, depending on how quickly the results are reported In short, don’t be relying on this income to pay your bills on time.  

How much do artists make per album?  

You’d need around 4 million streams per month to achieve the region of a minimum or living wage. But artists don’t make all their money just from streaming. They also add tracks on to multiple sites, so they have fingers in many pies.

And an artist’s earnings per album will vary from month to month. You also have to take into account any costs and expenses to be deducted.    

Stormzy’s Gang Signs and Prayer has had upwards of 17 million streams on Spotify for example, making at least 60 grand. Other artists might make nothing from releasing an album, but raise their profile.

It can be hard to know just exactly how much artists are pocketing, as it’s dependent on so many factors. A key way to understand how successful they are in financial terms is to check out their lifestyle and read the annually released ‘rich lists’.  

How much does Tidal pay per stream? 

Tidal pays out around 0.0099 GBP or 0.0130 USD. this is a much larger sum and might seem like a better option on this basis. But as Tidal has fewer subscribers you’ll likely get fewer streams too, than for the equivalent on Spotify. Not necessarily a bad thing, but a factor for consideration. 

How much does Apple Music pay per stream 

How much does Apple Music pay artists? 

How much does Apple Music pay artists? 

Apple Music is in the region of 0.0058 GBP or 0.0074 USD. Again they average higher than Spotify in this sense, but you’re limited to iOS users. And with other brands becoming more and more popular and Apple having less of a monopoly on the device market these days, there are pros and cons here too.  

If you have concerns about how you’re going to stand out from the crowd and make any money, then be aware that streaming services are not the only option. You can look at music aggregators as a way of spreading your sound too.                     


But with so many streaming services at your fingertips for nothing, you’d be well advised to take advantage of them. Pick the one that works for you best, where you are in your career – and you never know where it could take you.  

Related Questions  

  • What artists are on Spotify? 

You’ll find every genre of music and artist imaginable on Spotify. As it’s one of the most (if not the most) prolific streaming service, all the big names can be searched at the click of a button. Whether users are on android or iOS, Spotify caters, making it universal.  

  • What is artist Spotify? 

This is a great tool that enables you to see who’s listening to you and control your profile. Members of the Spotify artist community are also the first to know about new features. Spotify also verifies your identity, so fans know they’re getting the real thing and not someone else ripping you off.  

  • How do I get an artist profile on Spotify? 

First, you need to upload your music on to Spotify, then claim your profile and attach it to the tracks. Before you do any of this, you’ll need to register for a Spotify account if you don’t already have one.  

How do you make as an artist on Spotify per play? Has streaming helped your career? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.