Streaming services are a cornerstone of the music industry. Millions of people use these platforms and enjoy the music at the touch of a phone. Spotify offers a free service (with advertising) and premium services. Since its inception in 2008, royalties have been Spotify’s largest expense, accounting for about $9 billion since its launch.
The company once ranked as one of the industry’s worst royalty payers*, but it is steadily increasing its payments. Its per-play rate was between 0.003 and 0.005 cents in 2020 for most artists, according to Digital Music News.23
Artists earn more when someone streams their music using a Premium account, than with a Free account. You should remember that in all platforms paid subscriptions always pay out more. The exact rate Spotify pays per stream depends also on other factors, such as country and agreements (major labels may have direct collaboration with the service).
Some famous artists, such as Beyonce and Taylor Swift, have claimed that, as their numbers went up, the payment rates went down due to streams that came from non-subscribed free listeners.
* The worst-paying platform historically has been YouTube. Its rate in 2020 reportedly was 0.00069 cents. Amazon Music Unlimited pays the most of any streaming service at $0.012 per stream, and the music subscription service Rhapsody is next-highest at $0.011 per stream.