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Most artists earn less than £200 (R4000) a year from streaming platforms


A recent study by The Ivors Academy and Musicians’ Union highlighted that it’s almost impossible for an artist to earn a living from streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music.

The survey of the organisations’ members shows the reality of streaming income for writers, artists, musicians, songwriters and composers:

  • 82% of respondents earned less than £200 (R4000) from streaming, from all of their music across all platforms in 2019. This included members with thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions of streams.
  • 92% said less than 5% of their earnings came from streaming last year.
  • 50% said their income from recorded music has declined over the past 10 years.
  • 43% said that insufficient income from streaming caused them to get a job outside of music.

The Ivors Academy and Musicians’ Union have been campaigning to Fix Streaming calling the royalties paid to music creators from streaming “woefully insufficient”. A campaign petition calling for a Government review received over 17,000 signatures.

“This survey is further demonstration that the song and the songwriter are undervalued. Too much streaming money is going to the major labels; this is an outdated model and needs reform.”

Graham Davies, CEO of The Ivors Academy

The Ivors Academy and the Musicians’ Union asked their members to provide comments about their experiences of streaming anonymously through the survey:

 “I have written songs that have been prominently playlisted on streaming platforms … These songs have garnered millions of streams but generated next to no income for me as songwriter.”

“I appreciate that streaming is the future. But the earning potential [for creators] given the company value is not fair” songwriter and artist.

“[Streaming is] not sustainable and does in no way even return the investment I put into the recording, production or marketing of the songs” artist.

“Albums which cost tens of thousands of pounds – perhaps hundreds of thousands – to produce generate pitiful revenue from streaming platforms, so there’s no incentive for…independents like me to make records” songwriter.

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