Streaming Services

Indie Musician Breaks Down What He Made Via iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Etc.


An independent musician by the name of Samuel Orson decided to share his music throughout the various digital services available and reveal his earnings and the split each service took from him. It’s not an entirely scientific look, nor can the veracity be 100% confirmed as he uses an outside service to track some of the statistics. Regardless, he shared his findings in a post over at Reddit, an excerpt on that can be read below:

“I get my stats from the service DistroKid. Please do not think this is just an ad for distrokid, it s not. In fact, the reporting analytics are piss poor, which only allows me to give insight towards Itunes and Spotify. I can see the earnings from all the other services, but don’t have any stats streams/downloads etc.

Itunes. For every sale on Itunes I keep 77% of the sale. So $0.77 cents per song. I feel that is pretty fair for a behemoth such as Apple. Not much more to it than that, pretty straight forward.

Bandcamp is a bit more complex. They say they take 15% as their cut from each sale, but after all the paypal fees, it comes out to be much less. When somebody buys my album of of bandcamp for $5.00, I get $3.90 in my paypal account. That is 78%, about the same as Itunes. Important to note however, the more somebody pays for an album the more this percentage goes up. If somebody pays $10 for an album, I get 8.06, so about 80%, but more or less the same.

I offer my music for free on bandcamp, with the option to pay. This is just a personal preference, and I believe it fosters a better community of sharing and creation. My revenue from bandcamp (from my 2 album sales, not including individual song sales) has been $1,025. From that, 619 people downloaded them for free, and 160 decided to pay.

If you break it down by revenue from total downloads, it comes out to be $1.31 per album. Of those who decided to pay, the average price that was chosen was $6.40. For the time being, I will continue to offer my music for free on bandcamp. I believe if people want it they will download it anyway, and I rather be in control of the channels that they are getting it from.

Now for the Streaming.

Spotify. All in all I have had 176,548 streams on Spotify, which has yielded $706.02. This comes out to be $.004 a stream. This means for every million streams the artist gets paid $4,000.

YouTube. I believe this is the biggest competitor to spotify. From 356,064 streams on Youtube, I have yielded $145.55. This is with every fucking ad option selected. That comes out to be $.0004 per stream. This comes out to be $400 per million streams. Also, keep in mind that a lot of the music on youtube is not on the artist’s channels, in which case they are getting nothing.

Unfortunately Distrokid analytics are not that great, so I can not provide any insight on the following services, but I can show you how much I made from each. I would be really interested to see the stream stats for Tidal and Google Play and Apple Music, to see how they relate to spotify. I will update everybody as soon as distrokid gets their shit together and I can report it.

Itunes: $198.80
Itunes Match: $0.29
Apple Music: $36.44
Spotify: $706.02
Pandora: $0.33
Deezer: $0.86
Tidal: $5.49
YT music: $1.00
Groove Streaming: $0.09
Groove Downloads: $0.70
Google Play: $8.04
Google Play all Access: $14.03
Amazon: $28.26

I’ll leave with this information and decide for yourself the best way to support artists. When I get updated statistics I will post them. Again, don’t think this is an ad for Distrokid. If anything this is a thinly veiled attempt to draw attention to my music by offering you something of value in return.”

You can read more of his post, complete with screencaps and such, over at Reddit.