Spotify’s most streamed artists still struggle to make money, new report suggests

Image by Richard Drew

A new article published by Rolling Stone has revealed that Spotify’s highest streaming artists still struggle when it comes to making any significant income. The report aims to expose the truth behind the lure of a lucrative ‘creator economy’ and also investigates platforms such as Patreon, which promise musicians and creators an opportunity to earn a decent income by making their work and content available on their services. The article was researched and written by the founder of Music Business Worldwide, Tim Ingham

Ingham did a deep dive into investigating the streaming turnover from who he identifies as Spotify’s ‘Gold Club’ based on Spotify’s own Loud and Clear report. Loud and Clear was published to offer more transparency and clarity regarding Spotify’s commission and payout process. According to Ingham, the ‘Gold Club’ is made up of the top 0.8% earners on the platform, a total of around 57,000 artists. Based on Spotify’s reported earnings, less than 900 of these artists would have made $1 million in 2020. 

Breaking down Spotify’s report, Ingham notes that of the ‘Gold Club’, only 13,400 artists made above $50,000 during 2020’s streaming year. The remainder of the ‘Gold Club’ artists would then have to split $1.5 billion dollars between them. With around 43,600 artists remaining, this would mean that the majority of Spotify’s most streamed artists would earn around $34,404 annually from streams on the platform. Rolling Stone and Ingham break down the data in a pie chart:

Read the full Rolling Stone report here.