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‘Streaming Price Bible’ reveals one label’s 2018 per-stream rates


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Every year, artist-rights blog The Trichordist publishes a new ‘Streaming Price Bible’ comparing the latest per-stream rates for the main music-streaming services. This year’s went live this morning, based as ever on data from “a mid-sized indie label with an approximately 250+ album catalogue” – a catalogue which now generates nearly 1bn streams a year.

As the blog notes, the top 10 streaming services generated more than 97% of this label’s streaming income, while the top five generate more than 88%. Who would those be? In order: Spotify, iTunes/Apple (downloads are included); YouTube Content ID revenues; Amazon Music Unlimited; and Google Play.

“The Spotify per stream rate drops again from .00397 to .00331, a decrease of 16%,” reports The Trichordist (that’s $0.00331 obviously). “Apple’s per stream rate drops from .00783 to .00495 a decrease of 36%. We need to state again, that 2018 saw a massive shift of revenues from downloads to streaming and no doubt this expansion of scale, combined with more aggressive bundling (free trials) as well as launching into more territories was bound to bring down the overall net per stream.”

Spotify generated 29.2% of this label’s streams and 48.9% of its streaming dollars, while Apple accounted for just under 10% of streams and 25% of revenues. Cue ‘YouTube Content ID’ (which we’re taking as YouTube’s free tier) which generated 48.6% of streams and 7% of streaming dollars. “This is your value gap. Nearly 50% of all recorded music streams only generate 7% of revenue. Apple Music and Spotify combined account for just short of 40% of all streams and 74% of all revenue,” claimed the blog.

(For the record, revenues attributed to ‘YouTube Red’ (i.e. the now-rebranded premium tier) were just outside the top 10, generating 0.12% of streams and $0.56% of dollars.)

The post makes it very clear that the data is from a single source: it’s a snapshot of one label’s annual business, rather than the overall market. Still, it’s a very-useful snapshot, especially when the trends from the past analyses are compared. Spotify’s per-stream rate for this label, for example, has fallen from $0.00521 in 2014 to $0.00437 in 2016, $0.00397 in 2017 and now $0.00331 in 2018 – although its volume of streams (and thus revenue) has grown sharply over that time too.

Stuart Dredge

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