How Much Does Spotify Pay Artists?

Martin Kristiansen

Martin Kristiansen

My name is Martin Kristiansen and I’m the founder and chief editor of I’ve been playing, recording and producing music for the last 10 years.

Whether you’re new to music or not, you may be wondering, “how much does Spotify pay artists?” The pay varies significantly by user location, paid vs. free streams, and the number of streams, with each stream being less than a cent.

We looked at some data from different websites to find the statistics on Spotify pay. After reviewing a few sources, we found some average rates per stream.

Read on to learn:

  • How much Spotify pays per stream
  • The number of streams you need to make minimum wage
  • How royalties work
  • How to increase your earnings
  • Why Spotify is worth it, even with a low payout

How Much Does Spotify Pay Per Stream in 2021?

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Spotify doesn’t have much official information on how much it pays per stream. Various websites claim the streaming service pays anywhere from $0.0032 on the low end to about $0.0054 on the high end.

The rates vary between regions, and the pay can depend on if a user is a paying subscriber. In general, Spotify pays more per stream in countries with higher Spotify subscription costs. Spotify Premium is cheapest in India (the equivalent of $1.58) and most expensive in Denmark ($14.39).

The company may also pay a bit more when a paid user streams your music. As seen in the table below, where the stream comes from is a huge factor of what Spotify pays:

CountryAvg. Pay Per Stream ($)

How Much Does Spotify Pay for 1 Million Streams?

It can be hard to calculate what Spotify pays for a million streams unless all of those streams come from the same type of user. But you can get an idea of how much Spotify might pay.

Using the rate of $0.0032 per stream, 1 million streams would make $3,200. If your average pay rate is $0.0054 per stream, you’d make $5,400 after a million streams.

However, you may not get the entire amount. If you aren’t the sole owner of the song, you’d need to split royalties with songwriters, bandmates, and even a manager if you have one.

How Many Spotify Streams Do You Need to Earn Minimum Wage?

How much does Spotify pay per stream

If you want to make minimum wage, you’d need to make $7.25 per hour at the federal level. So you’d have to make that times 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year. That comes out to $290 per week or $15,080 per year.

With a higher-than-average rate per stream, you’d need at least 2,792,593 streams per year. If your average is closer to $0.0032 per stream, you’d need 4,712,500 streams.

But some areas of the US have a higher minimum wage. Washington DC’s minimum wage is $15 per hour, so you’d need almost twice as many streams to make minimum wage there.

How Spotify’s Streaming Royalties Work

You may be wondering, how do artists make money on Spotify?

Spotify pays artists royalties using net revenue from subscription fees and ads. The company pays royalties each month, and it will calculate the streams for all of your songs.

If you don’t own the rights or distribute the music, Spotify will pay the people who do. Then, they’ll pay you.

When an artist has a label, the label will typically handle the distribution. But indie artists can use one of many distribution services. Some of them will take the distribution royalties, while others charge a flat fee each month or year.

If you’re willing to distribute the music yourself, you can collect the entire streaming revenue from your songs.

This video from Spotify’s ‘Loud & Clear‘ describes how streaming royalties from Spotify work!

How Do Spotify Royalties Compare to Other Platforms?

So, how much do artists make on Spotify?

Spotify’s average rate per stream isn’t quite as good as other platforms, but it’s not the worst. The average on Spotify in 2020 was $0.00318 per stream. That’s just below the average rate of $0.00339 that Amazon Prime paid.

However, it’s quite a bit better than what YouTube paid, which ranged from $0.00087 to $0.00802 on average. Spotify also had a better average rate than Pandora, which paid about $0.00151.

In the same period, Apple Music paid artists an average of $0.00563 per stream. Google Play Music was just behind that at $0.00551. Amazon Music Unlimited had the highest average payout at $0.01196 per stream.

Spotify pay per stream

How to Increase Your Earnings

You can earn more from Spotify streams in a couple of ways. The more straightforward option is to put more music on the platform. Each time you write and record a new song, get it on Spotify as soon as you can so that it can start making money.

Another option is to get more listeners. You can do that by asking people to follow you and share your songs with others. Creating playlists with other popular songs can also be a great way to introduce people to your music while they listen to songs they already know.

However, you can also try to increase your average rate per stream. Market your music to users in countries with higher costs of living and higher subscription fees. And you can focus on subscribers in any country.

ArtistTotal Streams (Billions)Total Earnings
J Balvin15.5B$37,904,012
Post Malone15.3B$37,577,611
Bad Bunny14.8B$36,227,528
Ed Sheeran14.7B$36,014,920
Justin Bieber13.5B$33,094,199
Ariana Grande11.1B$27,205,449
The Weeknd9.3B$22,745,724
Top 10 highest earners on Spotify

Why You Should Have Your Music on Spotify

Putting your music on Spotify may seem like a waste. If you don’t get millions of streams, you may not make much money.

But there are other benefits to using Spotify for your music. Consider some of the best reasons for posting your music on the platform.

Users and Subscribers

According to the Spotify website, there are 158 million paying subscribers. The platform has another 198 million free users, who listen to ads.

While you may not reach all of those people, you can reach a lot of them. And you might get your music in front of people who wouldn’t hear your music elsewhere. You never know when a first-time listener might turn into a life-long fan.

Maybe your fans find you on other platforms, but they also use Spotify. Having your music on the platform means people can listen anytime, anywhere.

Music Streaming PlatformMarket share
Apple Music21%
Amazon Music15%
Tencent apps12%
YouTube Music5%
Music Streaming Platforms Market Share in Q2 2021 (source – Business Of Apps)

Get New Fans

Not only can putting your music on Spotify get you more fans on there, but you can encourage people to follow you on other platforms. Then, you can grow your audience on YouTube or Instagram, which can help you grow your music career.

Even if you don’t make a ton of money from Spotify streams, you may be able to make money from fans in other ways. Perhaps they decide to download your album, or they buy your band merch.

Not all of your listeners will convert into fans. But some may find your music and want to support you as much as possible.

Alert Existing Fans

When you post something on Spotify, the platform will notify people who follow you there. That way, your fans can learn when you have a new song, and you can get more streams.

Some fans may follow you on other platforms, but others may only do so on Spotify. Those notifications can be a great way to connect with your audience when you release something new.

You may not be able to share a post like you can on Instagram or Facebook. But you can still stay in touch with your followers.

Spotify pay

Decrease Piracy

Piracy is when someone illegally downloads or distributes something, and music can be that thing. Each year, piracy costs the US economy about $12.5 billion. It lowers earnings in the music industry by about $2.7 billion per year.

By putting your music on Spotify, you can give people access to it without needing to use illegal methods. And you can earn a bit of money, even if it’s not enough to replace gigs or other jobs.

While new artists may not be affected by piracy, it’s an industry-wide problem. As you get more fans and listens, people may want to pirate your music. But streaming on Spotify may help avoid some of that.

Help With Marketing

Promoting your music can seem overwhelming, but it’s a great way to grow your career. Luckily, putting your music on Spotify can help with your marketing strategy.

Of course, people can find you on Spotify and become fans. But your fans can share a screenshot or a link to your music. They can post that information on another platform or send it in a text message, which can help you get even more fans.

Consider asking your Spotify followers to share your songs that they love. Those shares are a great way to get free promotion.

Advance to the Top

If you want to make it to the top of the music charts, streaming can help with that. Both free and paid streams can help count toward chart ranks. However, Billboard gives more weight to paid streams.

Any album purchase can also help your music get on to a top chart. But having streams as a factor may help more artists have a shot at ranking closer to the top.

Reviewing How Spotify Pays Artists

Now, you know how to answer the question “how much does Spotify pay artists?”

The average pay per stream on Spotify isn’t the best when it comes to streaming. At an average of $0.0032 to $0.0054 per stream, you’d need millions of listens to make even minimum wage.

But making money isn’t the only reason to put your music on Spotify. You can use the platform to get more fans, market your music, and grow your career.

Does that all sound good? Put your music on Spotify today to see how it can help you.

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  1. I heard Napster pays the most to their artist (or at any the the reproduction rights’ owner).

    Do you second that?
    (Guardian article in 2019: “Which is the best streaming service for supporting artists?”)

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