It’s never been in doubt that artists are making exponentially less money than they did in the past, and it’s been quite the topic of discussion. The main questions being brought up in the debates about music industry in recent years is why these artists are making less, and what can be done to bring music industry revenues back to what they were 20 years ago. The truth, it seems, is that the music industry can never return to it’s former glory, so now, it’s about making the best of a bad situation, to which the industry seems to be working on solving, still. One of the answers that popped out in the past 10 years is streaming, which would take advantage of ad-revenue, as well as subscription fees. With the recent rise to dominance of Spotify, it seems that it was a pretty successful idea. Well, kinda…
Now, it’s been confirmed that it’s nearly impossible for artists to make even minimum wage using Spotify for signed artists. It started 5 years ago, when a study titled Selling Out was released, which revealed how much it took for each artist to break minimum wage. The study reported that selling 143 self-pressed CDs in a month is equivalent to about 1,229 downloads on iTunes, 850,000 streams on Rhapsody, and 4 Million streams on Spotify. Keep in mind that this was also back in 2010, when streaming services weren’t nearly as popular as they are today.
You can check out a nice infographic for the study here:
Today, an updated version of the Selling Out study has been released, and it seems to reflect some pretty positive changes for streaming services. This time, there are some better numbers to go along with it, like what % of artists actually make minimum wage off each type of streaming service. The bottom end of the numbers didn’t change much, self-distributed CDs landing at 105 copies to hit minimum, and 1,126 iTunes downloads. The streaming end is what’s interesting, as there are many new services that have been added. Beats music is at the top, with 43,726 streams needed and 35% of artists making minimum wage or higher. Rhapsody got a bit better, with roughly 700,000 streams needed to make minimum and 35% of artists making above that. The biggest change here, however, is Spotify, who were able to cut streams needed to 1/4 of what it was, at 1 million streams needed. The worst offender, to no ones surprise, is YouTube, who take Spotify’s old spot of 4.5 Million streams needed to break minimum, with 0.2% of all artists making minimum.
Here’s another helpful infographic for this year’s chart:
While 2.0% of all artists using Spotify making minimum wage isn’t exactly a good thing, it’s definitely better than 0.2% of all artists. Maybe, if enough of the 60,000,000 total users decide to become subscribers, within the next 5 years, Spotify might just be able to completely take up the bulk of an artist’s revenue, instead of just being complimentary to it.