Pays YouTube to stream music

Earning money with Spotify and Co.? That's how much streaming services really pay artists

While artists used to make their living from CD sales and concerts, the music industry has changed in recent years. CDs are being bought less and less; instead, fans are listening to the music via streaming services such as Spotify. According to this, the income from music streaming accounts for almost 64 percent of all artist sales. But the various providers differ greatly in their distributions. An analysis by Atlas VPN shows how much money a band or an artist earns for one million streamed songs.

Streams now generate a large part of sales in the music industry

In 2019, sales in the music business were 11.1 billion. Music streaming was responsible for 7.1 billion. In 2009 CDs brought in a good 50 percent of sales (4.3 billion). Ten years later, this figure has fallen sharply and stood at 614.5 million in 2019, which corresponds to 5.5 percent of total sales. This clearly shows which direction musicians should take, but it is not that easy to find your way around in the world of streaming services. The offers differ particularly in the amount of the payout and the number of paying users.


To clarify the numbers briefly with a few examples: The musician The Weeknd has 59,979,743 monthly listeners on Spotify, streams should therefore be higher. That translates to a monthly income of $ 208,729.50 from Spotify alone. Ed Sheeran collects US $ 181,106.91 per month and Beyonce US $ 118,510.80. Of course, the three artists are in the top 10 of the Spotify charts and thus play in a different league than most other artists.

A good price per stream is of little use to few users

But assuming a gross monthly wage of around 3,100 euros (3,700 US dollars), artists would have to achieve 2.4 million streams with their music on YouTube, a little over a million streams on Spotify, 871,830 on Amazon Music and 871,830 on Apple Music 550.222. Purely based on the amount of the payout, one would think that artists are most likely to be on Napster. After all, at $ 0.00916 per stream, the service pays three times that of Spotify and just under six times that of YouTube. But that is of little use if there are significantly more users on Spotify and YouTube who stream the music.


If you take a look at the number of users, YouTube is ahead with two billion, but the platform cannot shine with many paying customers. While the entire user base pays for Apple Music and Amazon Music, it is only one percent for YouTube. At Deezer and Spotify around half, at Napster and Pandora around ten percent are premium users.

Artists usually do not have an exclusive contract with one of the streaming services and can therefore publish their music via multiple channels and thus secure an income.