Music Business

How much Apple Music pays artists vs. Spotify: side-by-side comparison

It’s long been the narrative that Apple Music treats artists more fairly than Spotify, and a song-to-song comparison released by independent music producer L.Dre brings the discrepancy into full focus.

According to a video posted by L.Dre, Tidal pays the most per stream at $.013, followed by Apple Music at $.01. By contrast, Spotify pays out $.0033 per stream. The only company that pays lower rates than Spotify is Pandora.

The video analyzed two songs, each with more than 4 million streams, that the producer has on both Spotify and Apple Music:

Song #1

4.7 million streams on Apple Music = $24,200.56 in payment to L.Dre

Song #2

4.5 million streams on Spotify = $11,683.96 in revenue

It’s about more than just money.

Even for L.Dre, there is no clear winner in the overall Apple Music vs. Spotify comparison because the latter offers “much better” features for artists, including features like a Shopify integration for merch, smart links, and more.

Apple Music “is still far, far, far behind Spotify for artists,” concludes L.Dre.

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is also President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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  1. The title of the article is about payment (I.e. monetary compensation), not the combined value of compensation and value-add services. If you’re going to write about music business and be taken seriously, please do better.


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