How much are music streaming services paying to artists?

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

Though these numbers change throughout the year with no predetermined period of receiving an update, this info-graphic can provide a close calculation to help you prepare. I've broken it down for you and provided some of my own opinions for each service.

According to the graph:


Napster - pays out the most at $0.0190 per stream. Interesting! Streams needed to earn a min. wage of ($1,472): 80,000 (approx)

  • Users: 5 million

  • No Free users

  • My Thoughts: Not sure who still uses Napster but I like that energy.


TIDAL - pays out $0.0125 per stream. They have a lot of free users. Streams needed to earn a min. wage of ($1,472): 120,000 (approx)
  • Users: 4 million

  • Free Users: 2.88 million (approx)

  • My Thoughts: They're still growing. A few hiccups in management but that will happen with any company that has been thrusted into the spotlight of an ultra-competitive landscape. They'll do just fine!


Apple Music - pays out $0.0074 per stream. Ehh! Streams needed to earn a min. wage of ($1,472): 200,000 (approx)
  • Users: 36 million

  • No Free Users

  • My Thoughts: I mean, it's apple. No matter the losses they take with this platform, their bread and butter is still the MacBook computers and laptops (oh and dongles and AirPods). These services are to keep the notorious end-to-end user principled company in play for users to remain within their network of devices and conveniences.

Google Play - pays out $0.0068 per stream. Android users are on the fence at 50% of subscribers are paid users. Streams needed to earn a min. wage of ($1,472): 220,000 (approx)
  • Users: 10 million

  • Free Users: 5 million

  • My Thoughts: With the Google Play Music merger with YouTube Music, many people have panicked and jumped ship or stayed put to await the changes. Keep calm and see if it's service will be grandfathered into YouTube's Premium service. No worries, I hope!

Deezer - pays out $0.0064 per stream. Streams needed to earn a min. wage of ($1,472): 230,000 (approx)
  • Users: 16 million

  • Free Users: 9.12 million

  • My Thoughts: An 11 year veteran at this music streaming game. With the instant presence of being embedded on 45+ different devices at point of purchase, Deezer has positioned itself for a reasonable piece of the streaming pie. They're smart with their acquisitions and have consistently toppled the evolving challenges facing streaming services today.


Spotify - pays out $0.0044 per stream. Streams needed to earn a min. wage of ($1,472): 366,000 (approx)

Amazon Music - pays out $0.0040 per stream. Streams needed to earn a min. wage of ($1,472): 366,000 (approx)
  • Users: 20 million

  • Free Users: 16 million (My guess is that they partner it through their Amazon Prime services which is a behemoth of subscribers)

  • My Thoughts: They've actually been doing this since 2007 with their beta version and full launch in 2008 , according to wikipedia. And with all of Amazon's success they are still trying to have a piece of every cake from A to Z.

Pandora - pays out $0.0013 per stream. Streams needed to earn a min. wage of ($1,472): 1,100,000 (approx)
  • Users: 81 million

  • Free Users: 76.95 million

  • My Thoughts: And we all know the financial issues they were having in years past in trying to get bought out, but they keep trucking along with a loyal *free subscriber base.

YouTube - pays out the least amount at $0.0007 per video stream. Streams needed to earn a min. wage of ($1,472): 2,100,000 (approx)
  • Users: 1 billion

  • Free Users: 999 million

  • My Thoughts: I guess, when you're the number two search engine in the world you don't have to pay as much for content that creators will willingly upload though your service platform. YouTube Music is not at all different from the rest of the streaming services but how YouTube is able to get people to pay for music through their system that has historically been free will definitely be something to see. YouTube Red, which is predominately for movies and TV, has around 1.5 million subscribers and they're going up against another behemoth, Netflix. You have to start somewhere, I guess.

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