50% of artists never hit 100 lifetime streams on Spotify

Hey friends!

Today we’re going to talk about Spotify’s Loud & Clear report for 2023. This includes the following juicy information:

  • In 2023, indie artists / labels generated about $4.5B on Spotify, which is about 50% of the entire $9B that was paid out to all rights holders

  • There are about 10 million artists / audio creators on Spotify with at least 1 track

  • 8 million of them have uploaded less than 10 tracks ever

  • 5 million of them have less than 100 total lifetime streams

  • 80% of the artists generating at least $1M in 2023 never had a single ‘hit song’ land on the Top 50 Spotify Daily Global Songs chart.

There is a lot to unpack here.

Indies make up 50% of all revenue paid by Spotify

This point is massive. This means that out of the total $9B that Spotify paid out in 2023 to rights holders (artists, labels etc), $4.5B of that was sent to indie artists or indie labels.

Remember that not only is streaming the largest income source for recorded music, but Spotify is the most dominant streaming platform. Never before have indies competed with the majors in such a big way.

It’s never been a better time to be an independent music artist. It’s worth clarifying that there are some massive indie labels and artists. However I still stand by my point.

10 million artists

This next section is several points. The first being: holy crap, there are 10 million artists / audio creators on Spotify. This is an absolutely insane number that really surprised me.

However apparently 8 million of them have less than 10 tracks. To me this implies that most of these artists either quit releasing music, were never serious to begin with or are new.

When you consider 5 million (or 50%) of all artists have less than 100 total lifetime streams on Spotify, it further cements this implication. This is another insane number to me because it shows how much music just never goes anywhere at all.

To get less than 100 streams lifetime you truly have to not try at all. Pretty much any half-baked attempt at marketing will give you at least 100 streams. You can even hit that number by asking friends and family to check it out. It shocks me how 50% of artists on Spotify don’t bother at all.

As a result Spotify also says they’re focused on the 225,000 ‘emerging and professional artists’ (Spotify’s language) that rely on streaming as part of their livelihood. This means their focus is on only 2.25% of all artists on the platform. It’s a harsh reality but it puts some of those royalty changes proposed into perspective.

Money is growing

The number of artists generating at least $1M, $100K and $10K from Spotify alone per year has tripled since 2017.

  • 23,400 artists made at least $10k in 2017, 66,000 artists made at least $10k in 2023

  • 4,300 artists made at least $100k in 2017, 11,600 artists made at least $100k in 2023

  • 460 artists made at least $1M in 2017, 1,250 made at least $1M in 2023

Spotify’s assumption is that artists make about 25% of their revenue from recorded music on Spotify, so these artists’ total income from recorded music would be 4X this. In my experience this percentage can be highly variable, i’d feel more accurate saying 2x-4x instead of 4x.

It’s surprising that of these artists making $1M plus in 2023, 80% of them didn’t have a ‘hit song’ on the Top 50 Spotify Daily Global Songs chart. This means that at no point in 2023 did they have a viral hit song, but they still made over $1M that year.

Bonus point: most of these artists in the $1M plus category started their careers in 2010 or later. They’re mostly not classic hit artists that have been around forever.

Spotify says artists will start approaching $1M per year with around 4-5 million monthly listeners, or 20-25 million monthly streams. This is realistic based on my calculations.

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In this video I chat with Agent Method about being a professional sound designer and composer, getting paid to make presets, sample packs and more.

Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

  1. My courses. Spotify Growth Machine teaches you how to use Facebook ads to promote your music on Spotify. YouTube Growth Machine teaches you how to grow a YouTube channel organically and how to use YouTube ads. Fan Growth Machine teaches you how to build a website, online store and grow your email list.

  2. My ad agency. Forbid Media specializes in running Facebook conversion ads to promote your music on Spotify.

  3. Website / Store / Funnels. MusicFunnels is the best all-in-one platform for music artists to make a website, online store, sales funnels and build their mailing list.

  4. 1-on-1 consulting. You can book 1-hour calls with myself or Alex Bochel here.

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