New figures show how many streams artists need to earn minimum wage

New figures have shown how many streams artists need to earn minimum wage in the UK.

PRS director Tom Gray shared a chart of the data, which was collated by The Trichordist, on Twitter yesterday (April 18) as part of his #BrokenRecord campaign.

The numbers show the average payout per stream, the number of streams needed to earn £1 and the number of streams needed to earn one hour of minimum wage pay in the UK (£8.72) for each major streaming service, including Amazon, Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube and more.

With an average payout of £0.009 per stream, it would take 970 streams on Amazon two earn minimum wage – the lowest amount needed out of all the streaming services represented. Artists uploading their music to YouTube would need to get the most streams to get £8.72, with 7,267 required at an average rate of £0.0012. Apple Music users would need 1,615 streams, while those promoting on Spotify would need 3,114 plays.


Gray noted that the figures reflected the total rate “if you own all the rights”. “On a major label the artist earns 20% of this (after debt repayment) and the songwriter ( if she writes 100%), at best, 8-15% of each rate,” he wrote.

Last month, musicians called on Spotify to triple their royalty payments to cushion their loss of earnings caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Musician Evan Greer set up an online petition asking the streaming giant to boost its royalty rates for artists permanently, as well as donate $500,000 (£400k) to music charity Sweet Relief.

Days later, the platform announced plans to team up with charities including MusiCares and Help Musicians and make a significant donation to each. A separate COVID-19 Music Relief fundraiser was also set up, with Spotify matching donations up to the total of $10 million (£8m).