How Much Does Spotify Pay Per Stream In 2023?

While physical music mediums like vinyl, CDs, and even cassettes have become cool once again, the industry is absolutely in the middle of the digital age. Artists have no choice but to release their music online to various streaming platforms, such as Apple Music, Tidal, YouTube, and especially Spotify in order to survive in today’s all-online world. 

Streaming platforms have become a must for all musical acts, but they are sadly known to pay extremely low royalty rates for musicians. In fact, even some artists who rack up millions of streams are often disappointed with the checks they eventually receive, as all those fractions of a cent just don’t add up like many feel they should.

So, what does Spotify pay per stream in 2023? Let’s take a look at that figure, as well as the factors that can determine how much a musician earns from the platform.


In This Article:

  • How Much Does Spotify Pay Per Stream
  • What Determines Payout Rate?
  • The Different Kinds Of Royalties Spotify Pays
  • How Does Spotify Make Money?
  • How Many Users Does Spotify Have?


How Much Does Spotify Pay Per Stream

The biggest and most popular of the digital service providers (DSPs), Spotify pays rights holders an average of between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream. The rights holders receiving these payments include publishers, songwriters, and the master recording owners, who might be the artist and/or label if the artist or band is signed.

However, it’s worth noting that this figure is not 100% accurate. The royalties Spotify pays out are based on several factors, and they all can influence what the company shares for each stream. This means that not all plays are worth the same amount to artists and rights holders.

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What Determines Spotify’s Payout Rate?

Spotify’s per-stream payout rates are influenced by three main factors.

1. Your Distributor

The royalties an artist receives are based on their agreement with their music distributor or record label of choice. The amount of money they will receive per stream on Spotify can look very different after a distributor takes its cut. Some distributors have musicians and bands pay an upfront fee, others claim a cut of all royalties generated, and a handful make money from some combination of the two methods.

This has nothing to do with Spotify itself, but rather the distributor or even the record label, if one is involved.

2. Where Listeners Are

Where a listener streams a musician’s song matters. Spotify is a global company, and it claims millions of subscribers and users all around the world, with a presence in almost every nation. However, when it comes to money, not every user is generating the same sum with each play.

For example, someone streaming a song in a third-world country won’t generate the same per-stream royalty payout as a listener in the U.S., which pays much more. Subscriptions cost different sums in different locales, and advertising rates fluctuate greatly.

3. Type of Listener

The type of user also matters when looking at the money being earned. Spotify offers higher royalties when those who subscribe to a premium account listen to a song, as opposed to when someone using the company’s ad-supported free tier plays the same track. This is because premium subscribers are worth more to the firm, and it makes more cash from them, so there is more to pay.

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The Different Kinds Of Royalties Spotify Pays

There are two kinds of royalties generated from music streaming, and they’re both important to rights holders who are collecting all that money.

1. Mechanical Royalties

Before the rise of digital media, royalties were paid for mechanical reproductions of songs on physical mediums such as CDs or your album pressed on vinyl (which are still in play, though not like they used to be). However, in the present era, mechanical royalties have also been extended to online sales, where payments are generated every time a composition is streamed or downloaded. Each play is essentially counted as a reproduction.

2. Performance Royalties

Songwriters and publishers receive performance royalties whenever a musical composition is publicly performed or broadcasted. This encompasses various situations, such as live performances, public broadcasts, radio airplay, and digital streams. A performance royalty is generated whenever a listener streams a song on a platform like Spotify because the streaming of music, even if done privately at home, is counted legally as a “performance.”

Determining performing royalties for digital streams can be complex. To simplify the process, streaming platforms generally pay performing royalties to PROs (performance rights organizations), which subsequently distribute that money to songwriters and publishers. Typically, performance royalties are combined with mechanical royalties (which are also owed for each stream) for convenience, which can make it difficult to separate as an artist to fully grasp where money is coming from.

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How Does Spotify Make Money?

The Swedish streaming music giant pays 70% of the revenue it earns directly from streaming to the artist and/or rights holders. It then keeps the remaining 30% for itself.

How Many Users Does Spotify Have?

In its 2023 update on what it has been working on and what’s coming next –called the Stream On event– Spotify revealed that it has passed 500 million monthly active users. The streamer is now one of the only websites that counts half a billion visitors per month, and that number easily makes it one of the most successful names in the streaming music industry.


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