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

Posted: , by Daniel Petrov Daniel Petrov

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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.

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