Make Per Stream

Rapper T-Pain has reignited discussion about the question that so many in the music industry have asked – “How much do artists make per stream?” – with a new social-media post.

T-Pain (full name Faheem Rasheed Najm) spurred conversation among artists, music industry professionals, and fans with a recent Instagram post and tweet, which include a chart that purportedly shows the number of streams required to earn $1 on leading platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music.

The to-the-point diagram was originally posted on a subreddit called “r/coolguides,” which encourages users to share “picture based reference guides for anything and everything,” according to its description. This OP doesn’t elaborate upon the data behind the chart, but a Reddit comment revealed that the information had been lifted from a website called Producer Hive.

Specifically, this latter source features a chart with two columns, “streaming platform” and “royalty rates,” and the asset has since made its own way onto additional social platforms. But the resource on T-Pain’s Twitter and Instagram profiles has simply been modified to reflect the number of streams needed to generate $1 on most of today’s most popular services.

Digging into the number of streams required “to make $1” per the updated chart – and answering the central question of “how much do artists make per stream?” – MelodyVR’s Napster ranks first, with 53 plays per $1 payout.

Said chart also relays that 78 Tidal streams are needed to generate $1 in royalties, compared to 128 for Apple Music, 156 for Deezer, 249 for Amazon Music, 315 for Spotify, 752 for Pandora, and 1,250 for YouTube Music. The figures largely come out to $1 apiece when calculated against the actual per-stream royalty rates published by Producer Hive and on Reddit.

Here’s another look at the breakdown, presented as payments per-stream instead of total streams per $1.