Apple Music vs Spotify vs YouTube plays needed for an artist to earn the minimum wage

Say what you will about Google's, in general, and YouTube's, in particular, ever-changing algorithms that can make or break a website, a business, an artist or an "influencer," but the latest music streamers payout comparison would add fuel to that fire anyway, speaking very unfavorably about the largest video service on this blue planet as a way to earn a living.

As you can see in the infographic above, YouTube is dead last in the "average artist revenue per play" metric, with a fraction of a fraction of a cent. It has the largest amount of users, which may guarantee better exposure if you become viral, yet a musician needs 2.1 million plays on average to earn the minimum wage on YouTube. Apple Music, on the other hand, pays the most per play out of the popular music streaming services (first are Napster and Tidal, but, again, their user base is much lower), but you still need 200,000 plays a month to make ends meet, and consider your musical career a better alternative than waiting tables. Spotify pays way less per play than Apple on average, and in reality you need 366,000 runs there to earn the basic $1472 sustenance wage. Bummer. 

All in all, tough time to be a musician and rely on direct revenue from your tunes to get rich or die trying, which might explain why even the grandest names out there are forced to tour well into their old age, compared to living the studio life before the Internet, and especially streaming services, hit them.



1. kiko007

Posts: 7497; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

So tl;dr musicians are getting shafted... same as always?

2. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Couldn't amass how much Despacito earned thru all these channels.

3. cmdacos

Posts: 4248; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

How is apple music listed as 0 free listeners when I can keep creating apple IDs for free trials on androids version?

7. geassvi

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 23, 2015

i think i read somewhere that even on a free trail apple still pays the musicians the amount of money. i think it was the whole taylor swift argument that she would pull her music from apple if they didn't pay the artists

11. acme64

Posts: 127; Member since: Jul 13, 2015

because a loophole isn't statistically significant

4. afrohoxha

Posts: 258; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

"As you can see in the infographic above, YouTube is dead last..." Also as you can see it is 1.1M for YouTube, not 2.1M as you wrote.

5. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Jesus, can we stop with the constant SJWisms. I've already left multiple sites because of this. Stick to the topic of the site, or lose more traffic. It doesn't matter to me what anyone gets for posting their music on any various platform...... WHY..... Because they reserve the *RIGHT* to do business with that company or not. Don't like it, don't do business with them.... It's that fi-ing simple. I swear the quantity of morons with a mic has increased exponentially since the inception of blogs.

8. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1074; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Napster still exists?????

10. libra89

Posts: 2289; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Wow, I figured that it was low but I'm surprised that it is super low for Pandora and YouTube, but really Pandora.

18. Eclectech

Posts: 355; Member since: May 01, 2013

Spotify offers customers a free tier, so this isn't exactly apples to Apple. Also, Apple makes money by charging Tidal and Spotify extra to be included in the App Sore.

20. KevinRonk

Posts: 3; Member since: May 12, 2018

Try using MusConv it is a tool in which you can transfer your tracks and playlist without any issues. Just visit

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