Apple Music Tops Spotify With One Cent Paid Per Stream

In a letter slated to be shared with artists today through the Apple Music for Artists dashboard, obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Apple has reportedly revealed that it pays music rights holders one cent per song streamed on Apple Music.

apple music
The report claims that Apple Music's payment structure is thus roughly double what Spotify pays music rights holders per stream, which averages to about one-third to one-half penny per stream, although the report cites music industry experts who say that Apple Music's payments can dip lower. Apple Music's payments come directly from the service's subscription-based revenue from customers, the report adds.

In the letter, Apple says it pays 52% of subscription revenue, or 52 cents of every dollar, to record labels and other music rights holders, according to the report. These music rights holders in turn pay artists based on their recording, publishing, and distribution agreements, so artists might not receive the entire cent per stream.

"As the discussion about streaming royalties continues, we believe it is important to share our values," Apple said in the letter, the report says. "We believe in paying every creator the same rate, that a play has a value, and that creators should never have to pay" for their music to be featured in prominent sections of the Apple Music app.

Spotify has significantly more users than Apple Music worldwide, with 155 million paying subscribers and 345 million total users as of the end of 2020. Apple Music's last known subscriber count is around 60 million, including those on a free trial, but Apple has not provided an updated figure in nearly two years now.

Top Rated Comments

MauiPa Avatar
24 months ago
Exactly why I won't use Spotify. They are the biggest by so much, where do they spend the money they don't pay artists? Not in quality software, must be CEO pay and such.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MauiPa Avatar
24 months ago

It still doesn’t sound very much for the artists!!!!
do some math. If you bought an Album and played it only 30 times with an average of 15 songs, that is $4.50 directly to artist. In traditional CD sales "Artists can receive 10% – 15% of suggested album retail minus packaging costs." https://www.recordingconnection.com/reference-library/recording-entrepreneurs/how-do-record-labels-turn-a-profit/

So that is $1.50 on a $15 Album
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CB1234 Avatar
24 months ago
It still doesn’t sound very much for the artists!!!!
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yaxomoxay Avatar
24 months ago

do some math. If you bought an Album and played it only 30 times with an average of 15 songs, that is $4.50 directly to artist. In traditional CD sales "Artists can receive 10% – 15% of suggested album retail minus packaging costs." https://www.recordingconnection.com/reference-library/recording-entrepreneurs/how-do-record-labels-turn-a-profit/

So that is $1.50 on a $15 Album

artists are not receiving the full $4.50... there are still producers, distributors, etc to pay.
I think that the true power of Apple Music and Spotify is that it allows users to find more music that otherwise they would not regularly purchase, which drives more money to artists in general.
I am sure that I am not the only one that randomly finds an interesting song (maybe heard it on tv etc.) by someone I don't even know, starts listening to it, then listens to more songs by the same artist and then just moves to similar artists for a while.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NotTooLate Avatar
24 months ago

Yes, those maths sound alright, but artists would have to wait until you've listened the album 30 times, before getting that revenue, and how long is that going to take. I think they would prefer the $1.50 in their pocket from you as soon as possible, so they can get on with things.

The lower the pay per stream value is, the lower audiences, labels, and services value the music itself. It just becomes a product to shift.
There is no doubt in my mind that ive listened to MUCH more music with streaming services then I ever did with CD`s , so overall artists are getting much more money from me personally , overall I would argue that streaming is better business then CD sales , for the biggest artists it might be a different math , but I got to listen to artists that I will Never thought about buying their creations before I had a streaming service that lets me listen to whatever I decide at the same price per month (on my end).

Some of the artists are multi millionaires and to them the "delayed" payment is a non issue , for the smaller artists I believe streaming service is a blessing as more ppl listen to more music then ever , so greater chance to break out and make it big.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
darkcompass Avatar
24 months ago

It doesn’t matter who pays more. Audience coverage matters. Apple Music sucks here compared to Spotify.
Artists can arrange their music to be on multiple platforms, so the coverage is moot, the artist should just be paid fairly.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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