In this article I'm going to answer the question: how much do artists get paid on Spotify. This article is based both on my own experience and on research I've conducted.
To start out, let me note that there are actually two different revenue streams you can earn money on through Spotify (we'll get into more detail in a bit). These are mechanical royalties for owning the master recording, songwriter's performance royalties (and on "non-interactive" sites like Pandora, you can also earn artist performance royalties).
So let's cut to the chase: how much do artists get paid on Spotify? Well in my case, I had some songs played about 100,000 times, and was paid $40 for my ownership of the master recordings. I haven't yet seen my performance royalties yet.
According to some people I've talked to about Spotify royalties, this is very low amount. But I think it's pretty realistic for what many bands would see releasing an album on Spotify. Let me explain why.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times! August was my best month of license on Pond 5, by a significant margin. September was one of the worst this year.
In August, I licensed 20 tracks for $267, which puts it an average price per sale of $13.50. Back in May I was averaging $9.73 a sale, so I was really happy to see the average price of a sale go up. I’d raised my prices, and it appeared to be paying off!
If you want to find out more about how to license your music, check out this free video!
And it was my birthday, so I promptly blew (some) of the money on a great Mackie Pro FX mixer (affiliate link), mostly for live playing, but also helpful for recording drums and some other situations. It’s great and I’m loving it!
Prior to August, my previous April and May had been my best months on Pond 5, with $204 in sales in each month. June and July took a big slump, though, in the $130-140 per month range. I wish I had an answer for such wild...
Ok, I'm back again with the September and October stock music earnings reports. As I usually say - it was the best of times, it was the worst of times (aka - the industry is inconsistent).
So in September I smashed through my record high to earn $382 on Pond 5 licensing music. Then the sugar high wore off, and I crashed down to $263.
A drop of more than $100 is kind of shocking. But I've been licensing music long enough to say that it's also totally normal Through most of this year I've been averaging around $320 in sales, and these two months, combined, continue to bear that out.
The thing I want to say about my music licensing on Pond 5 for most of the second half of this year, though, is that it continues to passive income. I'm earning passive income licensing my music because I haven't been writing and recording new music for Pond 5.
Instead, I've been focused on a couple of really exciting licensing...
Here is my bi-monthly(ish) stock music earnings reports for January & December 2018. You can see my previous earnings reports here. Note, this report only deals with my earnings on one site, Pond 5. It's currently my main site, but I get bits and pieces of sales here and there from time to time.
So let's get the bad news out of the way.
January 2018 was my worst month licensing music since.... January 2016. Now, the stock music licensing world is cyclical, and January has always been an off month. I think advertisers blow their budgets on the Christmas holidays and don't really start advertising in January. And I think everyone is also still bloated and hungover. Not ready to return to the real world.
Holy smokes! I earned nearly $1,900 in back end performance royalties for the 3rd quarter of 2017!!! Now, I've been making about $300/mo through my licensing income through upfront sync fees, but the ability to basically QUADRUPLE my earnings through performance royalties is shocking.
(If you want to get started on license your music, you can watch this 15 minute video basically giving you an overview of the whole thing.)
This is my first quarter with significant back end royalties. I earned about $1,850 from Romania (no, I have no idea what show or why), and another $23 from sales broadcast in the U.S. on the Outdoor Network.
The most remarkable thing is that this is one of my worst songs. I previously published a post about how shocked I was that one of my least favorite songs had earned me $200 in upfront fees. Well now it's become my highest earning song, hands down.
I earned all of this money through my performing rights organization (PRO), BMI.com.
Today I want to talk about my 2018 first quarter BMI royalty payments. But let's begin in the recent past... in the 3rd quarter of the year I made about eighteen hundred dollars, off of mostly one song which was played in Romania.
I don't know the source or anything like that. I just get a check from Romania. Awesome.
The 4th quarter of 2018 I got about 200 bucks from that Romania thing and another song of mine had been included on a show on the outdoor network it is. And so they had played that a few times and so I got like five or six bucks from that.
Now in the 1st quarter of 2018 I've got some really exciting news for you.... So drum roll please.
I made seven dollars in 19 cents from my royalties.
Seven dollars and 19 cents.
And to be honest I'm totally OK with that, because I can't control how people are going to be using my music.
I can just keep creating more and more music and putting it out...
October 2018 was a pretty good month of music licensing for me. I earned more than $270 on Pond 5 from my music licensing side hustle.
At the beginning of 2018, I took several of my best selling songs off of Pond 5 to put them exclusive on another site. And for most of 2018, I’ve been ignoring Pond 5 to submit songs to exclusive libraries and to upload my existing songs on some other sites (I’ll update you on these pursuits when I have more data to say if it’s worth your while).
So most of 2018 has been slow. But I finally started uploading to Pond 5 again in September, and quickly saw my earnings start to grow again.
Sound effects contributed to my October 2018 music licensing earnings.
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As you can see, I had one really big day where I earned $60 from three sales. A lot of days where I sold a couple of songs. And then there’s a bunch of small days where I was selling...
It’s been a wild ride. Here’s my earnings reports for my music licensing side hustle on Pond 5 during December of 2018 and February 2019.
Over the years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve noticed that the business is highly cyclical, and this is the time of year when things really whipsaw. People blow their budgets leading up to December, and it takes a few months for things to return to normal. Which is unfortunate, but it’s part of the game.
December 2018 was one of my best months of licensing stock music. I sold $317+ of music on Pond 5, and this result was thanks in large part to having some good holiday music in my catalog. Having holiday music can be a good way to ride the cyclical wave. It was a month of pretty consistent sales, which is always how I prefer to see things go. Surprisingly, I sold some sound effects for big money (like nearly $40!).
If you didn’t know, Pond 5 offers several different types of licenses, with the more...
This 5-day mini course will show you exactly how to launch a music licensing side hustle so that you can finally get paid for your music!