Music streaming

Which music streaming service is the most ethical?

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Following months of controversy around Spotify’s commercial partnership with Joe Rogan, artists like Neil Young, India Arie and Crosby, Stills and Nash are pulling their music from Spotify’s library, and users are migrating to other platforms. This exodus raises an important question: if you want to switch to a more ethical platform, which platform should you switch to?

There are plenty of viable alternatives to Spotify with similar functionality and song libraries, but while services like Apple Music, Amazon, and YouTube Music don’t actively support comedians known to say racist things and spread misinformation about COVID , most music distribution platforms get the hell out of the artists.

If you’re leaving Spotify for moral reasons, you could say that the only “ethical” way to decide where to take your money is to find a service that pays musicians fairly (or at least more than Spotify).

To that end, let’s take a look at how much money artists are making on the biggest music streaming and buying platforms, including average royalty rates per song stream, revenue breakdown for album and music purchases, and more. derivatives, and even advertising partnership payments and other monetization options, if applicable. .

Note that these are estimates based on the most recent payout averages we could find. These numbers fluctuate and some artists will have a higher or lower payout depending on factors such as listener/buyer location, song length, fees and taxes, etc.

How much do artists earn on Amazon Music and Amazon Prime?

  • Average revenue per flow: $0.004
  • Approximate number of streams per dollar earned: 250
  • Other monetization options: Amazon also sells digital music, which is always a better option to support musicians as they get a higher revenue cut even after Amazon’s 27% purchase discount. This means that each $0.99 song purchased from Amazon earns the musician approximately $0.73. To put that into perspective, it would take 183 streams to earn the same amount as a single purchase.

How much do artists earn on Apple Music?

  • Average revenue per flow: $0.007
  • Approximate number of streams per dollar earned: 143
  • Other monetization options: It’s worth noting that Apple Music also slashes ad revenue for musicians, but that’s usually only a few cents at most.

How much do artists earn on Bandcamp?

  • Average revenue per stream: Bandcamp doesn’t pay its musicians for streaming, but there’s a catch: users can only stream songs and albums for free a few times before being forced to pay. Once they purchase the songs, they are free to stream them on the website, mobile app or download them DRM-free and upload them elsewhere.
  • Approximate number of streams per dollar earned: N / A
  • Other monetization options: Musicians can sell digital tracks, albums, and physical products like shirts, vinyl, and CDs on Bandcamp. The company takes between 10 and 15% commission depending on the type of sale. So, for example, a $1 song earns the artist $0.85 per purchase, and about $8.20 for a $12 CD. You can also tip the performers a little extra at checkout if you feel inclined.

How much do artists earn on Deezer?

  • Average revenue per stream: $0.003
  • Approximate number of streams per dollar earned: 333
  • Other monetization options: Deezer subscribers can choose to pay their monthly payment directly to artists on the platform. Deezer takes a cut, sure, but it gives audiences a way to directly support their favorite musicians.

How much do artists earn on iHeartRadio?

  • Average revenue per stream: $0.017
  • Approximate number of streams per dollar earned: 59
  • Other monetization options: Artists on iHeartRadio also receive a share of the company’s advertising revenue. However, just like Apple Music, this is a tiny bonus for the average artist using the platform.

How much do artists earn on Napster?

  • Average revenue per flow: $0.019 per stream
  • Approximate number of streams per dollar earned: 53
  • Other monetization options: N / A.

How much do artists earn on Pandora?

  • Average revenue per flow: $0.00133
  • Approximate number of streams per dollar earned: 752
  • Other monetization options: N / A

How much do artists earn on Soundcloud?

  • Average revenue per flow: $0.003
  • Approximate number of streams per dollar earned: 305
  • Other monetization options: N / A

How much do artists earn on Spotify?

  • Average revenue per flow: $0.004
  • Approximate number of streams per dollar earned: 229
  • Other monetization options: N / A

How much do artists earn on Tidal?

  • Average revenue per flow: $0.0125 per stream
  • Approximate number of streams per dollar earned: 80
  • Other monetization options: N / A

How much do artists earn on YouTube and YouTube Music?

  • Average revenue per flow: $0.008 per stream on the YouTube Music app or website; $0.00164 per view on YouTube video app or YouTube.com.
  • Approximate number of streams per dollar earned: 125 on the YouTube Music website or app; 610 views on Youtube (on the artist’s channel).
  • Other monetization options: In addition to paying artists for streams and views on content they upload, YouTube also pays around $0.0007 per stream/view on videos from other channels that use their music. This requires YouTube’s Content ID algorithm to match the copyrighted work, or the song’s rights holder to file a claim on a monetized video using the artist’s song, but it ensures that artists are at least lightly compensated when someone else uses their work. It would take about 1,500 clicks from Content ID match streams to earn $1.

Which streaming platform is best for artists?

Based on the business models outlined above, buying music through Bandcamp is by far the best way to support musicians. Bandcamp isn’t ideal for users looking for a subscription-based streaming model, but musicians make more money per sale and have a lot more freedom on the platform than on the streaming giants, which which could make it the most ethical music service on this list (depending on how you define your ethics, obviously). The next best option is to buy your music through Amazon, but we don’t recommend streaming through Amazon if you’re worried about how much money bands make.

Frankly, streaming is a poor way to support your favorite musicians, but if you’re determined to listen to your music this way, Napster’s pay-per-stream rate is the highest of any music streaming service by the hour. or in writing. Artists on the platform make more money per stream than anywhere else, which is ironic considering the company started out as one of the biggest sources of music piracy a few decades ago.

iHeartRadio has the second highest pay-per-stream rate, and while the advertising bonuses are low, those extra few cents make it one of the best streaming services in terms of artist pay.

Then there’s Deezer, which has lower streaming revenue than other services, but the ability to give artists a portion of your monthly subscription means they don’t have to rely solely on streaming to earn. money.

The catch is that Napster, iHeartRadio, and Deezer have less music and fewer users than Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, or YouTube Music. This is why most users focus on these big four streaming services, but ethically the big four are the most exploitative.

If you absolutely must use one of the major streaming services, Apple Music is probably the “best”. Apple Music has the highest pay-per-stream rates of the major music streaming services, but not by much. And while giving artists a slice of the ad revenue pie is nice, only the most popular acts will see a sizable reduction.

Make no mistake about it: almost every music distribution platform should pay musicians more for streaming, but the goal here is to show which services pay artists the most overall and hopefully help you find better ways to financially support your favorite bands.


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