How do we know? Late last week, Spotify launched its new weekly charts, the Spotify 50 and Social 50, with the former ranking the 50 most-streamed songs in each of the 28 countries that Spotify is available in.
The chart shows weekly play-counts for each track, and is backdated to the week ending 28 April for every country. In other words, spend a bit of time digging into the Spotify 50 widget (as we have done today) and you can get national and global Spotify streaming counts for popular tracks.
‘Get Lucky’ is a good subject, because it was released on Spotify during that first week – meaning the four weekly charts available through the widget account for all its streams so far on the service. It’s also good, because the song has been such a hit, it appears in the Spotify 50 for every single country for each of those four weeks. There are no holes in the data.
Having typed all the figures in to a spreadsheet (here’s a public version for you to see the raw data), here’s what we’ve found:
‘Get Lucky’ was streamed 25,467,772m times in its first four weeks on Spotify. What’s more, its momentum built over time: 6m streams in week one, 6.3m in week two, 6.5m in week three and 6.7m in week four. Note, if you’re one of the early users who can see play-counts in Spotify’s desktop app, it’s currently showing nearly 29m plays for ‘Get Lucky’, meaning another 3.5m-odd plays so far since the 28 April (the last published chart).
The US, UK and Sweden were the three biggest countries for the track. The US accounted for 6.4m of ‘Get Lucky’ streams on Spotify for the four-week period as a whole – 25.3% of the total. That’s ahead of the UK’s 3.8m (15%) and Sweden’s 3m (11.9%). That means that together, these three countries accounted for 52.1% of ‘Get Lucky’s Spotify streams.
Other notable markets: Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and Spain. This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise: key European countries where Spotify has been available for a while. Norway accounted for 1.7m streams over the four weeks, just ahead of the Netherlands (also 1.7m rounded up), Germany (1.6m), Denmark (1.4m), France (1.2m) and Spain (1m).
It’s very early days for Spotify in the Baltics. Last week, ‘Get Lucky’ was only streamed 5,657 times in Lithuania, but was still top of the Spotify 50 chart there. Streams are also counted in the thousands in Estonia and Latvia.
Using very rough calculations, all these streams may have generated $127k in payouts. We’re always wary of simple per-stream = X thus artist makes Y calculations, not least because we have no idea what the deal is between Daft Punk and label Colombia Records when it comes to streaming revenues. But if you take the $0.005-per-stream average that’s often cited (for example here) about Spotify, 25.5m plays generates around $127k of payouts.
We can see the negative headlines now: 25.5m plays for the biggest song in the world right now only makes $127k? Streaming sucks!
One, because as a single-track, ‘Get Lucky’ has sold like the clappers. In the same four-week period in the UK alone, it sold 606k units according to the Official Charts Company, alongside those 3.8m Spotify streams.
Two, because the ‘Random Access Memories’ album appears to have been pre-selling extremely strongly too. In the US alone, it’s expected to sell more than 250k copies in its first week – again, despite the album being available to stream on Spotify and other services.
Three, because the figures above are only for Spotify. They don’t include payouts from Rhapsody, Deezer, Rdio and other streaming services, nor do they include YouTube (34m plays so far for the official audio there).
Four, because people are going to keep playing ‘Get Lucky’ for the rest of 2013 and beyond. It has ‘summer hit’ written all over it. If summer ever deigns to arrive, that is. Spotify and its peers will keep paying out as long as people keep playing the song.
We’re not blinkered evangelists for streaming music – there is still too much murk around how streaming payouts make their way to artists, and reasons for concern about whether streaming services can find a sustainable business model for the long term.
What’s more, all the data in this blog post relates to one of the biggest hits of 2013 so far from a well-established artist: it doesn’t say much about what Spotify and streaming in general means for emerging artists, which is another point of contention within the industry.
But the really vital thing when talking about streaming music and how it’s paying off or not paying off for artists and music rightsholders is to look for accurate data, and start to draw conclusions based on that, rather than prejudice for or against the streaming model.
In short: here are some hard numbers. Now tell us what you think they mean…
(Update, here’s an embed of the figures):