New figures show per-stream payouts from Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and more


Spotify’s average per-stream payout has fallen by 16% since 2014, according to a new dataset published by artist-rights blog The Trichordist.

The figures are based on 2016 streaming data for an independent label with around 150 albums available digitally, which is compared to a similar study in 2014.

According to the analysis, Spotify generated $0.00437 per stream for the label in 2016, down from $0.00521 in 2014. Yet Spotify accounted for 69.6% of the label’s overall streaming revenues: its per-stream rate may have fallen, but its scale still makes it the major earner for this particular catalogue.

(Additional context: if Spotify users have become more engaged in its service over time, listening to more music by more artists, that would be a factor in the falling average per-stream payout. When Spotify relaunched its artists portal in November 2016, it stopped publishing its own figure for average per-stream payout to all rightsholders.)

Apple, meanwhile, sits “in the sweet spot generating the second largest amount of streaming revenue”, with a per-stream rate of $0.00735. That’s 68% more than Spotify, although Apple only accounted for 13.4% of the label’s streaming revenues in 2016.

The Trichordist also highlighted the fact that YouTube accounted for 21.7% of the label’s streams, but only 3.8% of its streaming revenue.

“The top 10 streamers account for 99% of all streaming revenue,” added its analysis. In fact, the top six services – Spotify, Apple, Google, YouTube, Deezer and Rhapsody – account for 96.8%.

The source of this data, an independent label, is likely to be the reason for Amazon not showing up strongly in the chart, with just 0.6% of streams and revenue. For most of 2016, Prime Music was Amazon’s only music-streaming service, and its focus is a smaller, more mainstream catalogue of music.

The Trichordist has also calculated the number of streams needed on the various services to equal a traditional sale: 139 streams on Spotify, 83 on Apple Music, 90 on Google Play, 95 on Deezer and, ahem, 876 on YouTube.

Written by: Stuart Dredge