Zoë Keating has become the go-to artist for raw data on streaming payouts to musicians: because she’s fully independent with a distribution deal that gives her 100% of her recorded-music royalties. Her streaming numbers aren’t huge, because she puts her efforts elsewhere (famously Bandcamp), but they offer very useful data.
Business Insider has the details: just over 2m streams on Spotify between January and September 2019 earned Keating a per-stream rate of $0.003, while 495.5k streams on Apple Music earned her a per-stream rate of $0.012. Cue some coverage taking the ‘Apple pays four times the rate of Spotify’ line, which is factually correct in this case per-stream. However, Spotify generated just over four times the volume of streams for Keating in the period covered, so in terms of actual royalties, the two platforms aren’t really that different. This is why the per-stream debate is never as simple as ‘dump the platforms with a lower rate and only make your music available on the ones with a higher rate’. In Keating’s case, ditching Spotify would mean giving up 45% of her monthly streaming income. She does, however, see the data as backing calls for the introduction of ‘user-centric’ payout models in the streaming world. “If you only listen to me, I should get all the percentage of the money you spend on music,” she told BI.