Average Spotify salary now $132,301 whilst musicians still get $0.006 per stream

New report shows once again, artists are not getting a fair deal.

Posted 10.05.2019 09:03
Updated 10.05.2019 10:13




Since its launch in 2008, Swedish music streaming service Spotify has been the subject of much debate regarding its positive and negative impacts on the music industry, and the musicians that fuel it. Some say it’s killed the music industry, others say it’s revolutionized it. Whatever your take on the topic, it’s here to stay.

One of the biggest issues facing the company is the amount of revenue it generates for itself whilst artists that use the platform struggle to make a living. If you’re lucky enough to be in Metallica, AC/DC or Guns N Roses, then streaming royalties probably aren’t even on your radar. However, it’s smaller artists that are being crushed by streaming services such as Spotify.

You might be lucky and go viral, racking up millions of streams on your latest hit single that will no doubt launch you into a lucrative musical career, in the short term at least. But what about the artists that struggle to compete amongst the 1000s of other musicians on the service. They are literally giving away their hard work for free.

Now, a new report that has been analyzed by Music Business Worldwide shows just how much of a gap there seems to be between how much an artist is paid, and how much someone working for a streaming service is paid.

The average salary of a Spotify employee is now a whopping $132,301. Now, before you go screaming "But software engineers need to be paid a good wage", yes they do, but Spotify doesn't employ over 4000 software engineers.

For an artist to earn the same as a Spotify employee, they would need to generate 22,050,166 million streams

Sure, it’s great that a company actually wants to pay its employees and incredible salary, but how can this be justified when so many artists struggle to even pay for the cost of recording an album in the first place. It’s obviously a very complex issue with 100s of factors involved and not every artist will earn a living from music as it's ultimately down to how popular their music is, but when an artist receives just $0.006 per stream, compared to selling an actual single for a few bucks, this is obviously not great news for them.

Spotify now employs over 4000 people, so it’s not as if it's just the CEO and top-level management receiving a heavy paycheck, this is a huge workforce being paid way over the average salary of what most people can only dream of earning.

56.4% of the money paid to subscription streaming services in the UK in 2018 was paid out to artists and record labels. It used to be 58.9%. So streaming services are not only keeping more money, they are giving it to their own employees rather than the artists that generate the revenue for them in the first place.

Streaming could very well be the death of music. Read the full report here.