I was in the process of writing another blog post when I came across all the data and information I’m including in this one. I didn’t even finish the original post as this became way more interesting.

I was trying to work out a strategy whereby a musical artist can make the average UK salary from their musical career – I haven’t got there yet but will let you all know once I fathom it!

Either way, online streams must form part of the equation.

I know, I know, its impossible to make any money from streams…but, is it?

A quick look at Dave‘s Spotify shows he has 8 million monthly listeners, that means that if each of them listen to only one songonce, per month Dave takes home £330,000 per year just from Spotify (using this calculator). Now, that’s Dave, he’s a superstar so it may not seem that helpful to look at his numbers, but clearly there is money to be made from streaming. The average listener (and there are 113 million premium subscribers) listens to more than 25 hours of Spotify per month, a song is usually about 3 minutes long so people are listening to 500 songs per month (or more likely 50 songs 10 times each).

What if you could build an audience of say, 1,000 monthly listeners, who listen to 10 of your songs 10 times per month? That’s 1.2 million streams which will gross around £4,128 – hardly life changing, I suppose but you wouldn’t turn down an extra £4k a year would you!? Get 10,000 of those kinds of fans and you’re earning from Spotify more than the average UK salary. Now think of that artist that you really like but most people outside of your close friendship group have never heard of…look them up on Spotify and see how many monthly listeners they have – is it more than 10k? Spotify is paying out over £40,000 to them or their representatives (assuming each of those listeners is playing their tracks 100 time each per month on average).

They may not take home all of that £40k and there will have been a lot of costs relating to getting their music to that point but all of a sudden Spotify’s measly per stream royalty rates feel as though they can make up part of a decent income.

The next barrier we come up against is the fact that a sing is uploaded to Spotify every 1.4 seconds. So how do you compete with the 60,000 songs being uploaded every day? Well…one in every three songs listened to on Spotify is heard via an official Spotify curated playlist – so its safe to presume that getting on one of these playlists really can be a golden ticket to the inner-circle. So it is crucial that you are submitting your songs to these editorial playlists – this is done via your Spotify for Artists portal and you want to submit your pitches at least a few weeks before the release for the best chance of being featured.

Now, let’s say you’ve got onto the playlist, you have a bunch of new listeners (they’re not fans yet…), you need these people to follow you so that your future releases go to their Release Radar playlists. Make your profile appealing. Go back to that’s artist who you love’s Spotify page, I’m guessing they’ve built it in such a way that it almost looks like their own website. The artwork at the top of the page matches their latest album – which is fairly similar to most of their work – they have at least one playlist they’ve created themselves (the first track on each is one of their own…followed by similar songs by similar artists), they have a bio and a list of their tour dates. They are good citizens of Spotify. And there’s some merch for sale at the bottom (a sale of a £15 t-shirt is roughly equivalent to 4,500 streams) – plus they’re promoting you everywhere they go.

For more information on Spotify release strategies check out this blog.

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