Can You Really Make Money With Spotify?


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This is a well-known music streaming service that many of us use to build playlists, seek out new music, and listen to our favorite artists. But if you are a musician, you might be able to make some extra cash with it as well! Can you really make money with Spotify? Let’s talk about it!

  • Making Money With Spotify
    • Earn Money on Spotify Creating Playlists
    • The ‘Straight Dope’ On Spotify. Do Musicians Make Any Money?
      • Reading The Spotify FAQ Page
    • How Much Money Can You Make With Spotify As An Artist
      • Video: How Much Spotify Paid Me For 1 Million Streams
      • Video: This Is How Much Spotify Paid Me For 500,000 Streams on a Song
    • Making It As A Music Artist In Today’s Music Industry
    • Be A Music Business, Not Just A Musician
      • Be Your Own Marketer, Not Just A Musician
    • My Personal Feelings About Earning Money With Spotify
    • Our Final Opinion About Spotify

Making Money With Spotify

For listeners, Spotify makes it easy to find the music you want, all the time.

You can use it on your phone, on your tablet, on your computer, etc. Plus, there are literally millions of tracks on Spotify. You can also listen to not just music, but also popular podcasts with it.

Spotify is free for anyone to start using… but you will very quickly realize that with Premium, you will a lot more ‘bang’ for your buck. Plus, as of this moment in time, Premium only costs about $10… which is pretty cool.

spotify home page screenshot

You can also bundle Spotify with Hulu now to get an even better deal!

So you’ve got tens of millions of listeners, on a globally distributed service, with working in cooperation with other globally recognized brands… so how much do the artists actually get paid?

Unfortunately, Spotify doesn’t make this easy to find. The first Google result is a musician named Earn Money.

google earn earn money spotify

I’ve got you covered. Actually, there are a couple ways to make money with Spotify. You can earn money as a playlist creator, or as an artist.

Earn Money on Spotify Creating Playlists

I was a little surprised to find out that you can actually make money curating playlists on Spotify. I guess it makes sense though. Artists want exposure, and many are willing to pay for it, so distribution and review services are naturally going to crop up.

One way to to get paid for creating playlists on Spotify is through a service called PlaylistPush, which helps connects musicians with playlist creators. When you become a curator for PlaylistPush, you are not getting paid to feature artists on your playlist. That’s against Spotify’s TOS.

playlistpush paid to review music

You’re getting paid to review music. It’s unclear where those reviews are published, but this is a kind of “workaround” for Spotify’s ban on getting paid to feature artists. The assumption here is, when you give a song a good review, you’ll naturally want to feature the artists on your playlist.

Of course, you are not getting paid for doing that, so you still have the choice of whether or not to feature it, but as a quality playlist maker, why wouldn’t you?

PlaylistPush is a general service for all genres, but if you do your research, you may be able to find similar opportunities with genre-focused music distributors, like Midnite Blaster, which focuses on EDM.

Using these services you can get paid from $1 to $12 depending on what genre you’re in, how big your playlist is, and how good of a reviewer you are.

But what about the artists themselves. Can musicians also make money on Spotify?

The ‘Straight Dope’ On Spotify. Do Musicians Make Any Money?

As it turns out, musicians can make decent money on Spotify—though it is not altogether easy if you don’t get a lot of views. In this article, we will discuss exactly how this works.

If you are a musician who is thinking about putting your music on Spotify, you will probably go to their website and do some searching around. The first thought I had was that artists could maybe build their own profiles and upload their own music. But as it turns out, that is not necessarily how it works.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the landing page, and look at all of the links available to you on the footer, you will find a section called ‘For Artists.’ Clicking on that link will take you to this page.

spotify for artists screenshot

With this page, you can click on the ‘Claim Your Profile’ link to start this process. But there are also some other links down below that help to give artists information about the way Spotify handles artists uploading their own music.

You can find information here about uploading your own music, submitting your music for playlisting, finding out what fans are listening to, etc.

But… if you click on the ‘Claim Your Profile’ link, it only takes you to a page where you can type in your profile and ‘retrieve it.’ There is no information here about actually creating a profile to begin with.

So I dug a little deeper, and went to the FAQ page.

Reading The Spotify FAQ Page

spotify faq for artists

As you can see, they want to make sure that everything is properly licensed… which is why they require that all of their music be delivered by a distributor. Their preferred artist distributor is a company called DistroKid, but you can also use services like EmuBands, Record Union, AWAL, CD Baby, TuneCore, etc.

As it turns out, you will need to create an account with one of these companies first before you can get your music onto most streaming services like Spotify.

I personally went and took a look at DistroKid. This site will get your music into Spotify, lets you keep 100% of your royalties, pays you monthly for all of the money you make, gets your music into Spotify faster than other services, and charges only about $20 a year. For this, you get to upload unlimited albums and songs all year long.

One of the things that first got my attention was that I was wondering if DistroKid will put your music into other stores too. They only mention Spotify by name, but they also say that they can get you into ‘other stores’ as well. Since they don’t name names, those services probably won’t move the needle much for you, but something is better than nothing I guess.

As it turns out, you will need to spend some money to make money on Spotify as a musician. You will need to start an account with a distributor and start paying them before you can hope to have your music uploaded to services.

How Much Money Can You Make With Spotify As An Artist

spotify app on smartphone with headphones

The reason I research websites like this is because I am always on the lookout for a quality side-hustle. I love to make extra money, and I love to do it in unique ways. I like to try to think outside of the box, and Spotify is the latest thing I’ve been looking at.

Now, this all goes without saying that if you are not into making music, this is probably not going to be the right kind of site for you. Obviously, if you want to make money on Spotify, you would need to be able to make music (or a podcast) to upload.

But… if you are a musician, and if you are considering uploading your music to Spotify with the intent to not only put your name out there, but also to make some extra cash with it, then here is what you could plan on earning.

First of all, it is important to understand that this is not altogether a simple thing to figure out. Spotify changes its royalty payout system from time to time, and there are also changes in the system now and then that can affect exactly how bands or artists get paid.

I Googled this to try to learn more, and found out some statistics here.

  • In 2016, one indie EDM artist published their royalty payout records and showed that for having their songs streamed 1,023,501 times, they got paid a total of $4,955.90
  • published a report in January of 2018 that said that Spotify pays out $0.00397 per stream

As you can see, the per-stream payout is pretty low. But… obviously, if you can build up enough of an audience, there is the potential for a decent payday.

About four thousand dollars per million streams seems to be the going-rate according to multiple artists.

Video: How Much Spotify Paid Me For 1 Million Streams

This artist started distributing his music through his distributor CD Baby. He made $4,000 USD. Minus 9% for CD Baby, that makes $3640. Plus and additional $500 for “Mechanical Songwriter Royalties” . As an independent artist, you’re most likely going to own close to 100% of the songwriter royalties.

Although $4140 for 10 months doesn’t seem like much, I like that this artist looked at it from a positive angle. He was able to achieve this in only 10 months, which works out to over $400 per month!

That’s not bad at all for a new artist distributing their music through independent channels. I’ll be that pays more than any type of live gig you’d get.

Video: This Is How Much Spotify Paid Me For 500,000 Streams on a Song

This artist did some casual interviews with his friend and family to see what they would say. The answers ranged from $250 up to $5,000. It’s a long video, so I’ll just cut to the chase. For 500,000 plays, he earned $911.02.

It’s seems to be a lot less than the figure from the previous artist above. Considering that 500k is half of 1 million, you’d expect this number to be closer to $2,000 earnings, but there may be details we are unaware of.

Making It As A Music Artist In Today’s Music Industry

There is no secret about the fact that it is hard to make it in the music industry today. There is a lot of saturation, and a lot of people are competing for the market share.

However, in some ways, there has never been a better time to be an indie artist. There are more channels than ever for getting your music out there, and more opportunities than ever for self distribution.

Sound Cloud. Apple Music. Bandcamp. YouTube. Twitter. Spotify. None of these existed a decade ago. Lil’ B is a great example. So is Doja Cat. Personally, I found out about George Clanton by watching Vaporwave videos on YouTube, and now I follow all his work.

The payout for such artists is getting low because of competition for time and attention, but the payout for independent musicians has always been low.

Personally, I think now is the best time ever for musicians to make money with their music. If you approach it like a marketer, and you make “good music”, you can absolutely make a full-time living doing what you love.

Be A Music Business, Not Just A Musician

soundcloud app on smartphone

I suspected this beforehand, but the idea was confirmed as I was researching how to make money off Spotify. The people who are making money with their music are approaching it like a business. They are crunching the numbers.

My recommendation would be to work backwards to figure out how to go full time making music. What’s your rent? How much do you spend on food every month?

Then look at some of these Spotify calculations. If you don’t have a million streams on Spotify yet, that should be your first goal.

Now work backwards for how to get a million streams. Start making music, and work on getting attention to your music.

Be Your Own Marketer, Not Just A Musician

There are a few easy steps you could take to be your own marketer and start getting more attention to you music.

  1. create branded social media profiles
  2. interact with other popular musicians in your genre on social media (don’t beg for listens. be genuine)
  3. share other artists music + your own, so you can be a source for good music
  4. research what type of music listeners in your genre want to hear
  5. upload music to multiple platforms (YouTube, Spotify, Instagram, Sound Cloud)
  6. start your own website
  7. supplement music plays/sales with other monetization methods like affiliate marketing or display ads

Being a successful musician online isn’t going to work if you just put music out there and “hope” people find it. You have to think about how to intentionally seek listeners.

musician creating blog to distribute own music online

What about collaborations with other musicians in your genre? A rising tide raises all ships.

What about hooking up with top YouTube “radio” channels for sponsored plays? I listen to live radio on YouTube all the time because I like the Vaporwave stations. If you were a Vaporwave artist, it would make sense to try to get your music on there. I research artists I like after hearing them on those stations all the time!

What about creating playlists on YouTube and Spotify with keywords related to your music? Something like, “Top 10 Bass Lines In House Music”. You don’t have to crowbar your own music into the playlist. Just pick the best, get people to subscribe to your YouTube channel, then subs will be notified next time you post a song.

Have you considered buying ads for your music? Facebook Ads and Google Adwords cost just a few pennies per click for low-competition phrases. If you buy an advertising spot for the keyword “christian rock”, someone searching for “best Christian rock songs 2020” in Google would see your ad for your self-produced Christian rock album!

There are plenty of other ways to promote your music online, either directly or indirectly. In fact, there are more ways than ever. For motivated, consistent musicians who think outside the box and look into the marketing aspect, I think you could absolutely generated hundreds or thousand of dollars online every month by selling or getting plays from your songs.

retro boombox radio on blue background

My Personal Feelings About Earning Money With Spotify

Personally, I use Spotify all the time. It is not only a platform that I am familiar with, but also a platform that I enjoy. But, with that being said, I have never uploaded any music onto it. I have mostly just listened to music and podcasts with it.

I am a bit of a hobby musician though, and I do write and produce some of my own music. Is it worth the time and effort to produce the music, though? For me, no. With fees involved in getting music distributed, and the fact that I’m just a hobbyist means that I’m unlikely to make much, if anything at all.

In fact, I’ll probably spend more money than I would make.

However, I do see a lot of potential for playlist curators, as long as it’s a passion project to start. You won’t make a ton of money ever doing playlist curation, and you won’t make any money at all to start.

Even though curators won’t ever get paid much to do what they do, it’s still not a bad side hustle once you get moving. Who wouldn’t want to get paid a few dollars to review some songs?

Again, if you’re a marketer and a hustler, there may be more opportunities to earn more income through more avenues by leveraging your brand as a source for good music.

For more serious musicians, you could absolutely make some money through Spotify plays, but it’s going to take consistent effort over a period of time.

Our Final Opinion About Spotify

Should you upload your music and try to make some money on streams?

There are a lot of ways to make money online. Some are good, some not, but ALL of them are still just trading hours for dollars.

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