Many musicians are coming to understand that when Jay-Z rapped, “I ain’t got a billion streams, but I got a billion dollars,” it wasn’t so much a flex but rather a dig at new-age music tech. As Spotify Wrapped continues to hold users’ timelines in a chokehold, fans are blown away by the sheer amount of listening time they racked up.
The platform’s year-end report revealed that the most streamed artists on the service were Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny, and The Weeknd. Although Swift is no surprise, her alleged $100 million streaming revenue for the year shocked users. “Weird Al” Yankovic joked about bringing in $12 for his 80 million streams. Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg revealed he brought in $45,000 from 1 billion streams.
The mathematical sorcery of the payouts has folks questioning how much Spotify pays for one million streams. According to the late Nipsey Hussle, as an independent artist owning all his masters, for one million streams on Spotify in 2018, he would bring about $4,370, which a new royalties calculator developed by the legal and consulting firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips somewhat corroborates with a minor tweak.
The always handy @NipseyHussle tweet. #QuickMaths on Spotify year-end # pics artists are posting should help put the revenue your favorite artist generates from it in perspective. Don’t forget the many hands this typically passes through. Find ways to #SupportYourArtistsDirectly pic.twitter.com/VqqoLE4qpa
— Bastid. (@SkratchBastid) December 7, 2018
According to the calculator, with one million streams on Spotify, the payout is estimated at $4,830. A total of $3,719 is awarded to the sound recording owners, whereas $598 is given to the mechanical rights holder, and the performance rights holder gets $513.
The streaming giant doesn’t list the momentary amount per stream on its royalties page. Instead, the company gives its overall calculation method. “We calculate streamshare by tallying the total number of streams in a given month and determining what proportion of those streams were people listening to music owned or controlled by a particular rightsholder,” reads the website.