What Counts as a ‘Stream’ on Streaming Platforms, and How to Get Paid From Them as an Artist.

Did you know? Both Apple Music and Spotify consider your song to have been streamed after a fan listens to it for 30 seconds. 

Drawn out intros, lack luster beat drops, and not hooking the audience in in the first handful of seconds can turn fans away, make them skip to the next track and hurt your stream count. 

An awesome album cover, interesting feature, or starting into your verse right away are some ways you can try and hold the audience’s attention past that 30 second threshold and start to see your streams go up.

“Now that we know how streams are counted, how do we get PAID?”

You get paid on Spotify through a distributor, such as Tunecore, New Wave, or Songflowr. You usually have to pay a small fee to your distributor of choice for them to release your track onto Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Google Play, etc. or you can choose not to pay a fee and the distributor may take a % of your royalties.

It takes Spotify up to 90 days to report earnings to distributors. So your earnings in one quarter may not appear until the next. The rate of pay depends on the context of your listeners. This include their location, their account subscription (free or paid), and a numerous amount of other factors.

How much do I get paid for streams?

Spotify has the highest number of paid subscriptions with well over 130 million, but even as top executives at the company earn seven-figure salaries, artists and songwriters aren’t seeing a comparable cut of the earnings.

Still, the percentage per play has gone up over the last year. The service paid $0.00397 per stream this year, and $0.0038 last year. Given there are 130 million premium subscriptions on Spotify, a songwriter may benefit from a larger audience translating into more plays, despite the lower rate per stream.

Unlike Spotify, Apple Music does not have a free subscription, which accounts for its higher per-play rate. Also Apple voluntarily offers an elevated payout for mechanical publishing, which is good news for songwriters.

Apple has also increased its payout per stream from last year, when it paid $0.0064. In 2018, Apple is paying $0.00783 per stream.

To learn more about how to maximize your royalty payments on streaming platforms, download the FREE Toolkit for Independent Artists from De Novo Agency here.

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