I’m curious, how many times do I need to listen to an album on Spotify for the artist to receive as much money as if I’d have bought the CD

@Gargron Okay, we can maths this!

On Spotify an artist gets $0.006 per listen.
Source: qz.com/1507361/mariah-careys-r

For an £8 ($10.47) CD, an artist gets £1.04 ($1.36).
Source: bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-238407

So, that means you would have to listen to the same song (or combination of songs across the same album) 227 times.

Assuming an average pop song is 3 minutes long, that means 11 hours and 21 minutes of listening time.

@trechnex @Gargron You're assuming the artist gets all of the $0.006 though, and that often isn't the case, is it?

@JigsawPieces @Gargron Correct. The figures for how rights holders split the Spotify pay out are not straightforward to get hold of, and vary wildly depending on who the rights holders are.

These are the numbers I could produce in less than five minutes of research 😅

@trechnex @Gargron 👍 Wasn't meaning to dismiss what you'd done, at all :) It just seemed worth noting that, depressing as your numbers are, it's probably worse.

@trechnex Damn that’s a tiny margin on those CDs. Is that due to the label cut or CD production/distribution costs? What would the numbers be for artists who run their own labels?

@Gargron I don't have those answers, unfortunately.

This is one of those subject where you could go "full CGP Grey" and disappear down a rabbit hole into the different arrangements that different artists and labels arrive at for different formats.

@Gargron @trechnex mostly production. Beside the actual CD, there is, usually, all the staff for mastering, and studio. My father and some of my friends are professional musicians (intermittent du spectacle), I can ask them. They don't belong to a label and usually are selling their CD when they perform. Yet, they still don't make much margin.

@Gargron @trechnex I don't have Spotify or something equivalent, but I try to make a donation each mouth to a small artist, either buy their discog, or through band camp

@clement @Gargron @trechnex
🤔 Don't musicians earn better that way?

Assuming they release 1 album per year, if I (1 patron) listen to Spotify the entire work day, every week, every month, for a year... That's more than the price of 1 CD of just 1 artist. With Spotify, I'm supporting multiple artists. And, no CD production costs. ☝️

$0.006 x 15 songs/hr x 8 hrs x 5 days x 4 weeks x 12 months
me buying 2 CDs a year
(I'm stingy.)

@evelynyap @clement @Gargron before streaming services came along, people bought more than two CDs a year.

In fact, people bought singles every week that were then counted in the charts. Albums would cost more than singles because there would be extra songs and dedicated fans support artists they like.

I very much doubt nowadays people would pick two albums on a streaming service and listen to nothing but those two albums for the duration of time you're quoting.

@evelynyap @clement @Gargron also discussed in other responses is I technically got it wrong when I said $0.006 all went to the artist.

It actually goes to the rights holder, than then decides how much to distribute to the artist(s), label, etc.

@trechnex @clement @Gargron
I was really thinking of how *I* personally spend on #music.

Before #Spotify, I wasn't buying new music regularly -- maybe 1 or 2 CDs a year. I prefer listening to old music. So my CDs got played a lot, with no added income to the #musicians.

But now with Spotify, I still listen to oldies, but discovering more music. So I end up supporting more #artists and contributing more than just buying 1 or 2 CDs a year. ☝️

@trechnex @Gargron

So if you only like the one song, and there are 10 songs on the album, you only need to play that song 23 times to make it pay the same as the fraction of the album it contributes?

That's a lot better than I expected, & if I discover a new song I like, I can easily listen to it 23 times in a row.

Pretty shitty that the artist is getting one tenth of album sales though...

@trechnex @Gargron

I was under the impression that spotify's rates were, like, two orders of magnitude worse than that.

If you aren't going to listen to a CD at least 300 times, is it worth owning?

@enkiv2 @Gargron if you buy the CD the artist always gets $1.36. If you only listen to one song on the album 23 times, they'd get $0.018.

Worst still, I technically got it wrong with these figures as the $0.006 figure is the lowest average for the *rights holder*. The artist may not be the rights holder, and it could be split multiple ways between the artist, label, etc.

@trechnex @enkiv2 @Gargron

Yeah wait, I forgot to think about the label share. I'll listen some more to compensate

@trechnex @Gargron I hope they scale it for metal songs which last about 8 minutes or longer

@trechnex @Gargron
Unless you use bandcamp then you need to listen octa-times more.

@trechnex @Gargron do you have any knowledge or figure when comparing Spotify to Deezer.
Deezer promotes an other model : your fee goes mostly to the artists your listen to...
I use Deezer, but I never had a real confirmation of this.

@trechnex @Gargron

Is it just me or suddenly this feels not entirely unfair? I definitely listened to my favorite album more than 200 times... And I'm OK to have paid to a lesser degree other albums.

I never did the math and I always assumed it to be way worse than that.

@signaleleven @trechnex @Gargron Online music streaming services are MORE THAN UNFAIR. Here is the thread with some compiled information:

Some details about the streaming services that should be explored in details but usually are overlooked:
1) the cost and the pollution of used bandwidth
2) streaming services are still "burning money" like Uber and they haven't moved a single gram anywhere - rollingstone.com/pro/news/spot
3) The pay for the artists depends on the PROPORTION of the song played in given month to the total count of all played songs - see the section "How are Streaming Payouts Actually Calculated?" here: soundcharts.com/blog/music-str

@signaleleven @trechnex @Gargron Another presentation about the "calculation" of the payout could be found in the section "The Payment Pipeline" in the visualcapitalist.com link

@_1751015 @trechnex

Ouch. It really makes me question how they can even survive on old CD royalties though, when the lion share goes to the labels.
I'll keep my strategy. Stream giants, buy indie on bandcamp (then stream them too for convenience).

@trechnex @Gargron I find it amazing that a $10 download album is a $5 CD at Wal-Mart.

@quirk @Gargron there is another benefit to buying CDs too.

People have become so used to the compressed MP3 audio of streaming services that they're blown away when they hear the same songs uncompressed on vinyl or CD.

If you rip the CDs to FLAC (a compressed but lossless format) then you get the best of both worlds. You can also buy them directly from services like 7Digital.

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