Songwriter Would Need 288 Million Spins To Equal Average Spotify Employee Salary

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Spotify just posted their financials and Paul Resnikoff at Digital Music News was quick to point out that the average Spotify employee salary is $168, 747.

Contrast that to the plight of songwriters.  There would be no music business without the fundamental efforts of songwriters. Yet, there is not a free market in songs.  The federal government sets compensation for songwriters/publishers based on a percentage of revenue.  An abysmal below market rate.  In effect a subsidy for streaming services.   Last I checked this rate was working out to about $0.00058 per spin.    This includes both the public performance (BMI/ASCAP) and the streaming mechanical  (IF they happen to pay it).

Best case scenario, if a songwriter retains all publishing rights to their song then a songwriter would need 288,104,634.15 spins to earn the reported average salary of a Spotify employee.

Any questions?


Related see this post on failure of techies to understand that streaming services are subsidized by government mandates


18 thoughts on “Songwriter Would Need 288 Million Spins To Equal Average Spotify Employee Salary

  1. And people still think the record labels were terrible for musicians…. and those same people are brainwashed by digital propaganda, and the convenience of free streaming… holding onto the belief that this will work-out well for artists. I fear it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

    1. For that ammount Spotify-people work long weeks. To bring out one song the artist does not need to work a whole year.

      So bring out multiple songs, perform and make more than the average Spotifier…

      BTW: Joe Average does not make 200K per year… !

      1. How do you know? I work 70+ hours a week. Besides You don’t pay songwriters for “hits” you pay them for the 99% that aren’t hits. If it’s so easy to write hits Spotify should hire songwriters and cut out middlemen. Oh but that would require giving up that below market federally mandate songwriter royalty. Total arrogance.

  2. My question is: How many spins does the average hit on Spotify receive? I’m not taking a for or against position with this question, but I am curious–it would help me understand whether or not .00058 cents per spin is appropriate.

    1. compare to youtube views. moderate alternative rock hit seems to get a few million a year. big top 40 pop hits in the hundreds of millions.

    2. Let’s break it down to an hourly rate. Let’s say your song is 4 minutes long. Your 4 min song could play 15 times in an hour in real time. In an hour of play time you can make a whopping .0087 cents. You would have to have over 11 hours of play time to make 1 whole cent! That should in no way be considered an appropriate rate for ANYTHING! Would you work for $.1 per 11 hours? You could almost make 3 and a half cents in a 40 hour work week. Sounds like a good deal to you?

      All streaming music services should be deemed unethical! As a musician and songwriter I find them offensive!

      1. That would be so if you only had one single fan who is streaming your song on Spotify. Hopefully, your song is better than that and has dozens, hundreds, hopefully, thousands of fans who can all stream it at the same time.

  3. Unfortunately I’m convinced that the people don’t care anymore they’re so squeezed by the 1% economy but they just couldn’t give a s***
    Seems the only way to vote for a change will be Republicans or the libertarian party I’m not sure I can bring myself to do that either so I’m just not going to release any unreleased material hopefully someday a mega artist we’ll say here’s this album it’s great I’m not going to release it until the government changes the law that probably wouldn’t work either I don’t know I give up

  4. You are off by a decimal point, however the math is still halting. roughly 29 million streams = $168,000. HOWEVER, only 21% of that payout actually goes to ALL songwriters on the song to split. The rest goes to the label who then pays the artist a little bit. So, if you wrote 100% of 29 million streams you would get paid roughly $35,000. BUT your publisher takes at least 10% of that, so lets call it $31,500 paid to the songwriter(s) for 29 million streams, meaning a songwriter would need 100% of 153 million streams to equal the average pay of a spottily employee. Still an incredibly halting statistic.

    1. No I am not off by a decimal point. You may be using performer label publisher songwriter pay combined. I’m talking about just the part the federal copyright royalty board allocates for songwriters. Last quarter it was approximately $0.00059. Three zeros.

    2. And you like many people today are confusing performer royalties with Songwriter royalties. I am clearly talking about songwriters.

    1. No. 1) that is payout to all rights holders, performer, record label, publisher and songwriter. Pay attention donny we are talking about songwriters! 2) that .006 -.0084 has never been verified by anyone. We have access to a medium size catalogue and we track this “all in” rate every year. Our numbers show that for all rights holders it has been drifting down each quarter. Now it’s closer to .0041. We have never been able to duplicate that claim that Spotify pay .006-.0084 per spin to all rights holders. No one has. 3) pay to songwriters is extremely easy to verify. It’s the same for every songwriter on each service. It’s a federally mandated percentage of revenue. I pulled that .00059 from songwriter statements.

    1. 1)How do you know? 2) you don’t pay songwriters for “hits” you pay them for the 99% that aren’t hits. It’s a Black Swan game.

    2. No but the pros do write 1-2 songs daily for 10+ years to amass a catalog of hundreds if not thousands of songs with only a handful actually being placed on an album. It’s those songs that end up paying the bills.

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