Are Musicians Really Earning Much via Streaming in 2022?

Ever since digital music streaming services took over physical distribution, musicians have been struggling to make a living out of music. Nowadays, we all see artists getting a giant number of streams. Does that mean Independent musicians are earning enough to make a living via streaming in 2022? The truth is, most musicians fail to recover even the cost of recording or publishing the music. Platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Youtube Music, etc. are paying so low per stream that most musicians are giving up.

How Much Streaming Services are Paying Per Stream to Musicians/Artists?

To get an idea of how much musicians are earning via streaming, we need to see how much music streaming services are paying the artists in 2022. First of all, the pay-per-stream for every streaming service is different. In addition, most of the streaming platforms do not pay a fixed amount per stream, their pay-per-stream varies according to the region. Now let’s check out how much famous streaming services are paying per stream in 2022:

Streaming PlatformPay-Per-Stream
Spotify$0.003
Apple Music$0.010
Amazon Music$0.004
Tidal$0.013
Pandora$0.001
Youtube Music$0.008
Pay-Per-Stream of Music Streaming Platforms in 2022

At the time of this writing, the most popular music streaming platform is Spotify. Despite being the top gun, Spotify’s pay-per-stream is lower than most of its competitors (just around $0.003). Apple Music claims that it pays up to $0.010 per stream but not everybody will earn that much per stream because the pay-per-stream of Apple Music varies from $0.007 to $0.010 region-to-region. On average, Apple Music pays around $0.05 per stream (still on the higher side against Spotify). Amazon Music on the other hand pays around $0.004 per stream (just a little ahead of Spotify). Tidal is paying the most per stream ($0.013) but it does not have enough users as other competitors.

When it comes to Youtube, note that the Youtube (video streaming platform) and Youtube Music are different entities. Youtube (video) is paying too low (around $0.001) per video stream whereas Youtube Music is paying much more (at least in comparison) per stream ($0.008).

How many streams do Artists/Musicians need to make a living

Firstly, to make a living, a musician would need at least $2,000 per month. Now let’s calculate how many streams musicians need per month to make a living out of music:

Streaming PlatformStreams Required to Generate $2000 Per Month
Spotify666,666
Apple Music200,000
Amazon Music500,000
Tidal153,846
Pandora2,000,000
Youtube Music250,000
Pay-Per-Stream of Music Streaming Platforms in 2022

Now the numbers are creating pressure on a musician’s mind. It is not that easy to generate these many streams (that too per month). Some musicians fail to even cross that number for years.

So, Are Musicians Earning via Streaming in 2022?

There are only a few musicians who are really earning good via streaming in 2022. Most of them are associated with major labels. But most Independent musicians are barely generating enough streams per month to make a living. The Musicians are working so hard but they’re not getting what they deserve. A lot of independent musicians have started working on other jobs to support their music life.

Even if a musician generates about 100,000 streams per month from Spotify, for example, he/she would earn around $300.

Musicians are now complaining that popular streaming services (like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc. with revenue over billions) are not paying fair. Keeping the low pay-per-stream in mind, some have also said:

The Music Streaming Platforms are paying so low per stream. It just feels like legalized piracy!

We work insanely hard, spend days and nights and all we get is nothing!

People in every other field get paid for the work they do. But when it comes to musicians, we don’t get paid fairly for our work!

Streaming services are more focused on listeners than artists!

People are dreaming of a good life in music. They’re working tirelessly and doing everything they can to support their music life. But they aren’t making much via streaming.

So what’s the solution?

As of now, the major source of income for musicians is Live Music. Completely depending on streaming services for earning and making a living in 2022 won’t be a wise decision.

Hopefully, streaming services will raise their pay-per-stream in the future. Presently, these services are more in favor of listeners than artists. To stay in the competition, streaming services are constantly lowering their subscription prices (good for end listeners). But this is making the situation even harder for musicians/artists as they are paid accordingly.

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Ishaan Sarna

Founder of AUDEMPIRE (Pro Audio Equipment Store), SOUNDELICIT (Music Industry & Pro Audio Blog), TECHNOISER (Tech blog), and ISOLAPSE (Motion Industry & Photography Gear Blog). Music Producer by profession and also a Tech Enthusiast.