Spotify Royalties: Some Real Statistics

Spotify this week has once again been the focus of artists’ ire, as more than 200 labels chose to withdraw music from the service.

A post on Digital Music News revelaed research from NPD Group and NARM that claimed:

“access has been deemed ‘most detrimental’ to monetization across nearly all demographic categories”

What is lacking is a transparency from music streaming services that will allow people to decide fro themselves.

So, in a (small) attempt to make the money you receive for a ‘stream’ of one of your tracks a little less hidden, here’s a very basic breakdown from some first hand experience.

I signed up with Routenote, a digital music distribution service, a couple of years ago. It has been in the last few months that I’ve used Routenote to it’s potential, managing to get some of my old band’s tracks on Spotify (you can listen here if you like!).

*click the image to see a bigger version

In August we had 61 plays and earned $0.35016
In September we had 52 plays and earned $0.30396

So for just over 100 plays, we earned ourselves two-thirds of a dollar.

Now that might not seem like much to you, but that 100 plays as 100 more than we would have had otherwise.

To put it another way, the 100 plays is the equivalent of us selling 20 CDs at £3 each that are then only listened to once, straight from the disc.

That would net us £60 profit (our overheads from making the CD were covered years ago), a lot more than half a dollar.

It would seem to make NO SENSE to an outside figure who is interested only in the money at hand.

Why would you spend months creating something, only for its potential value to be made obsolete by uploading it to the Internet and making it publicly available for free?? ARE YOU NUTS?


The presence on Spotify helps, in my mind, to establish your footprint digitally. If you don’t get on the platform, someone else will, and they make take your potential audience with them.

It makes sharing your music with others easier too. Back in the day, you’d carry 100’s of CDs to gigs, that nobody would buy; now they can listen to you on Spotify and you save your back.

You might end up on a playlist of similar artists, stumbled across randomly by a Spotify user who happened to like your tracks.

Like many elements of our digital lives, there is an element of luck involved, if you are to succeed.

Think of ‘viral’ videos for example. The brands and people involved were lucky that they caught a wave of cultural phenomenon that their content played so well into.

Similarly, that job you got through Twitter? You wouldn’t have it if you’d made a cup of tea and watched the TV instead of checking your stream.

That half dollar may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it is half a dollar that has meant the band’s music has been listened to 100 times more than it would have otherwise been.

It has yet to lead to a sale or download, that much is true. But, if it does, that simple 5 minute process of uploading some tracks will have been made worthwhile.

10 thoughts on “Spotify Royalties: Some Real Statistics

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