Recent months have seen more transparency around payouts from streaming music service, including Spotify’s publication for the first time of its average payouts.
The last few days have seen some updated figures from the independent sector too: a set of per-stream payouts from an unnamed indie label published by The Trichordist, and the latest sales and streaming figures from artist Zoë Keating. As ever, the figures will be brandished to support several different views of how well streaming is paying off for labels and artists.
The Trichordist first, whose stats are based on the anonymous label’s catalogue of 1,500 songs over 2012 and 2013, with per-stream fees calculated before distribution fees, and compared to an average payout of $0.70 per download sale.
The chart ranges from Amazon Cloud ($0.00012 per stream, meaning 5,862 streams equal the payout from a single download) to Nokia ($0.07411 – nine streams equal a song download) with Spotify, Rdio and Deezer towards the bottom end (134, 101 and 93 streams per download respectively) and Google Play and Xbox Music near the top (15 and 22 respectively).
Keating’s figures cover 2013 only, as she made $75.3k from sales of her music through iTunes, Bandcamp and Amazon, and $6.4k from streams – the latter including $1,764.18 from 403,035 Spotify streams (so $0.0044 per stream – or 160 streams using The Trichordist’s formula, which sounds about right since Keating’s figures will be after her distributor has taken its cut).
Keating made $1,247.92 from 1,943,263 YouTube plays, so 0.00064 per stream – 1,090 streams equalling a traditional download, although she points out that nearly all these views are third-party videos, and not all are monetised.
What does all this mean? The Trichordist figures are useful, but per-stream comparisons between different services don’t show their true value to the label: for example, if the label got 1m streams at $0.00754 per play on Deezer versus 10k streams at $0.07411 per play on Nokia, the former service would be more valuable despite its lower per-stream rate.
Keating, meanwhile, is a good case study of an artist persuading fans to buy her music, rather than just forcing them to (while her last album isn’t on Spotify, it can be streamed in full from her Bandcamp page). In both cases, the raw data is valuable as part of the bigger picture around streaming music’s economics.