Most of top streamed artists on Spotify made under $50k on the platform in 2020

An investigative study conducted by Tim Ingham, the founder of Music Business Worldwide, for Rolling Stone found that Spotify’s top dogs aren’t making as much from the platform as you may think, and only a small percentage are making big money.

The study which was done on the biggest earning artists which accounts for 0.8% or 57,000 of all artists on the streaming site has found out that a massive 76% out of the 57,000 artists earn under $50k, which is shocking when you compare this to the streaming numbers and monthly listener numbers that they rack up. It is only 13,400 musicians in this ‘Gold Club’ – as Ingham named it – that earn over $50k and even less that earn over $1 million, which is around 870 and includes the biggest mainstream acts. About this, Tim Ingham says:

Delving into these granular stats guarantees us that these 13,400 artists – the $50,000-a-year-plus minority within our 57,000-strong “Gold Club” – cumulatively generated a minimum of $2.22 billion on Spotify last year. […] This all reveals a painful truth: Even among the elite 0.8% “Gold Club” of artists on Spotify, there is a vast disparity between successful and unsuccessful, with the majority of artists firmly in the latter category.”

Back in 2019, former Spotify executive Jim Anderson said that Spotify was created to solve a ‘problem’ saying that ‘The problem was to get artists’ music out there. The problem was not to pay people money’ and even called Taylor Swift ‘entitled’ when she spoke up about the platform’s rate of pay per stream. It isn’t just artists like Taylor Swift speaking their minds about this either, as protests have been held over the world back in March of this year calling for justice from Spotify over their rates. In more recent news, MPs even stepped in earlier this month to defend UK artists, demanding that Spotify allow the artists to earn their fair share with a 50/50 split in a ‘reset of streaming’. 


Image credit: Getty/Mahmut Serdar Alakus

A 24 year old dance music enthusiast from Manchester, UK. Lover of all genres, especially dubstep and house. Find me at gigs and festivals across the world.

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