Streaming site Spotify reveals how much artists earn for each song

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2013, 9:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 4:55am


Spotify, the world's most popular music streaming website, has revealed how much an artist makes from each song listened to in an effort to fight criticism it shortchanges musicians.

On a new site aimed at artists, the company on Tuesday defended its business model against a raft of recent accusations, including from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, that streaming sites like Spotify leave singers high and dry.

Yorke pulled his solo work from Spotify in July, with his collaborator Nigel Godrich describing streaming as "an equation that just doesn't work".

In its first attempt to fight the criticism, Spotify said it paid an average "per-stream" payout of between US$0.006 and US$0.0084, though it cautioned that royalties depended greatly on where the music was produced or listened to.

Spotify said holders of rights included the artist, but could also bring in producers, managers and a record label.

"The precise division between these types of rights holders varies by territory in accordance with local laws and negotiated agreements," it said.

In the United States, for example, the artist receives about 21 per cent of the payout.

In other words, if a hit by a US singer was listened to one million times, the artist would receive about US$1,500, Spotify said.

But the company insisted the numbers told only part of the story. "Although much public discussion of Spotify has speculated about such a rate, our payouts for individual artists have grown tremendously over time as a result of our user growth, and they will continue to do so," the company said.

Created in 2006 by two Swedes, Spotify has yet to make a profit, unlike its US rival Pandora. In 2012, the company said it lost €58.7 million (HK$617.2 million), on sales of €434.7 million.