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Spotify Paid More Than $5 Million To 130 Artists Last Year

Spotify Paid More Than $5 Million To 130 Artists Last Year 

Spotify has announced that it paid $7 billion in royalties to music industry rights holders last year, accounting for over a quarter of the industry’s total income.

By Omotayo Olutekunbi

The announcement was made on the company’s Loud and clear website, which was developed last year with the goal of “enhancing openness” about payments. According to Spotify, 52,600 musicians would make more over $10,000 (£7,500) in 2021. Over the last year, 130 of them received more than $5 million (£3.8 million). Spotify did not name any of the artists involved, but Bad Bunny, Taylor Swift, BTS, Drake, and Justin Bieber were the most-streamed acts on the platform last year. While Olivia Rodrigo’s Drivers License was the most-streamed song.

However, the data released by Spotify do not tell the whole story.

An artist who makes $10,000 in Spotify royalties, for example, may only receive $2,000 after the record label and publishers take their cut. That $2,000 would be split seven ways for a seven-piece band like BTS.

Songwriters and session musicians are paid considerably less, and many are barely scraping by.

Despite this, Spotify’s data sheds light on how artists are faring in the streaming era, with profits falling into the following categories.

Spotify also projected that, after accounting for earnings from competing streaming sites and CD sales, most of these artists made around $40,000 (£30,000) last year.

According to the BPI, which represents the British music business, approximately 2,000 artists had over 10 million UK streams in 2021, up 25% from 2020.

“The rise of streaming has empowered more artists than ever – from all backgrounds and eras – to build new fanbases around the world and to forge successful careers in music,”  said Geoff Taylor, BPI chief executive.

Total music industry revenues grew 18.5 percent in 2021 to $25.9 billion (£19.5 billion), the highest amount since records began in the 1990s, according to figures released earlier this week. Spotify boasted about its contribution to that figure on its Loud And Clear website, claiming that its, “$7bn total is the largest sum paid by one retailer to the music industry in one year in history – including any single retailer at the height of the CD or digital download era.”

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