Featured image says What is the most lucrative music streaming platform?

As musicians, we want to get creative. Some do it for the enjoyment of making music. Some do it for a side income or even for the brunt of their income. Most people, like myself, want to have a foot in both camps. We monetize our money in different ways. Some do so through stock music composition and others want to be touring musicians. In this post, we are going to explore the music streaming platforms to find the most lucrative of these. Which platform pays the most money? You’ll have to read on to find out…

Key Takeaways

  • The most lucrative may not be the one that simply pays more money. It could be the one that drives more retention and gives the music listener the most enjoyable experience.
  • By the end of this post, you will have a clearer idea on which platform you would prefer to focus on. This may not be obvious right now.
  • Perhaps the most lucrative platform will be different for different artists. Perhaps issues such as culture and listening habits are different on different platforms and in different genres.

What is the Most Lucrative Music Streaming Service?

This is a good question because different services pay different amounts in each area of the world. However, in this post we are going to explore all the top options and I will show you what the most lucrative option is for your music.

What Determines How Much An Artist Will Make From Music Streaming Services?

The deciding factor that determines how much an artist is paid across the board is in the number of streams an artist gets. In this post, we are going to explore those platforms. We’ll show you where in the world the most lucrative streams can be found. Most importantly, we’ll also show you what platform is the most lucrative.

What is the Listener’s Experience?

The user’s listening experience is what will keep a listener’s retention the most. If the app is easy to use, there is more chance they will stick around. The platform can only pay the artist if the listener’s attention is held long enough to generate a stream.

To make a reasonable living from music streaming, the artist would have to attract the attention of around 200,000 people every month for it to be classed as a reliable and sustainable business.

It should be noted that musicians make more money from other streams (excuse the pun) of income rather than from streaming music. This is plus points for both Spotify and YouTube Music. Both of these services allow you to sell merchandise through your profiles.

What is the Audio Quality?

Audio quality is probably the biggest factor that drives a great experience and sustains that listener retention. The better the sound quality, the better the chance that a listener will stay tuned. This is one area where free listeners suffer. In many of the bigger music streaming platforms, the free version has an inferior sound quality. Therefore, the listener won’t want to stick around.

How Much Does It Cost the Listener?

Most of the big four music streaming platforms have a similar pricing structure. It is normally around £10.99 for the fully unlimited plan, £16.99 for a family plan, £5.99 for a student plan and Spotify also charge £14.99 for a duo plan so that a couple can share an account. I have tried this with my wife, but she couldn’t figure out how to set it up. In any case, it doesn’t matter because I am the only one who really listens to much music.

Who Are The Big Four Music Streaming Platforms?

The big four music streaming platforms are as follows…

  • Amazon Music
  • Apple Music
  • Spotify
  • YouTube Music

The latter two are the biggest of these.

Musician Payout

In the video above, the guy talks about the wider group of music streaming platforms. Therefore, there are more than just the four I’ve just mentioned. For instance the first music streaming platform he mentions is…

PlatformStreamsCost Per Stream
Apple Music3022$0.006535

What Was The Most Lucrative Music Streaming Platform?

From viewing the above table, you can see that Amazon Music was the most lucrative music streaming platform. They were happy to pay for a stream. However, Spotify had the biggest reach with well over 11,000 streams through the year. Even though this artist was this successful with 11,586 streams, Spotify treated him very poorly with just over a quarter of a cent per stream. That is not even quarter of a penny. Quarter of a cent is something like a fifth of our British penny. I think I’d complain if I were in his shoes.

Where Can Artists Make More Money From the Entertainment Industry

Sales of Physical Copies of Music

Artists can make more money from selling physical copies of their CDs or vinyl than they can from streaming. In fact, if the above streams are anything to go by you would have to have something like 6,000 streams to equal the money you would get from the sale of one CD. Therefore, artists should be focusing on physical copies of their music.

In a world where music streaming is taking over the way we consume music, it is fairly rare to have or play CDs. In fact, the last few CDs I have bought have been purely to support the artist. It was damn good music and I wanted to let the artist know that they were still appreciated enough for someone to give him what he deserved.

Artists Make More Money From Merchandise

According to Intercept Music, the average artist makes $10,000 in merchandise sales per show. Of course, this will be artists who have been around long enough to have a substantial following. However, Intercept also argue that even artists with less than 500 attendees made $2,100 per show. This is in stark contrast to the figures above and Intercept’s statistics that the artist who made $10,000 from merch sales only made $625 in a whole year from music streaming services.

How About Something A Bit More Consistent?

Of course, none of the above income could be called consistent. The gig might not go ahead for this reason or that reason. In that case, the artist has lost money on travel, hotel bills and the cost of living.

Having a Patreon account can add a more consistent income for an artist. This is money coming in on a monthly basis whether the artist is fit and able to tour or not. It is a welcome bonus, but also adds some consistency because the people who support an artist on Patreon can be classed as die-hard fans.

Unable to Travel, No Problem!

If you’re unable to travel for any reason, you can gig right where your gear is now. I have mentioned this before on my blog, but I’m happy to mention it again. If you want to get paid for gigging, you don’t have to risk life and limb – and purse, in your pursuit of being able to put food on the table for your family. StagedIt.com will allow you to be paid for livestreaming shows right from your practice room. Therefore, you don’t even have to move your gear to make an additional income.


I have probably said this before, but it is no wonder the standard of music is taking a dive in this world. There are no lucrative music streaming platforms. They can’t be called lucrative, yet they are the way that most people (I’m guilty too) are turning to listen to music on music streaming platforms.