Question: How many times does a song need to stream on Spotify for an artist to earn $1?

Sep 22, 2019
Budgeting, Question of the Day, Research

Answer: 229 times

Here are the figures for the top music sites:


  • Given their average payout for stream of $0.004 per song for Spotify, how many music streams would you have to listen to in order to cover a $9.95 monthly subscription?  
  • Why do you think that the streaming services have such different payouts per stream? 
  • Your friend says "I can make a good living just putting my music up on YouTube." Agree or disagree with him using the data provided above. 
  • Do you think the payouts per stream will increase or decrease in the future? 

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Behind the numbers (from Visual Capitalist)

One would expect streaming services to have fairly similar payout rates every time a track is played, but this is not the case. In reality, the streaming rates of major players in the market – which have very similar catalogs – are all over the map.


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About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.