Music on Spotify earns two kinds of royalties:
- Recording royalties: The money owed to rightsholders for recordings streamed on Spotify, which is paid to artists through the licensor that delivered the music, typically their record label or distributor.
- Publishing royalties: The money owed to songwriter(s) or owner(s) of a composition. These payments are issued to publishers, collecting societies, and mechanical agencies based on the territory of usage.
When a song gets played on Spotify, the rightsholders receive royalties for it, whether it’s played by a Premium or ad-supported customer.
For detailed info on music industry economics and artist payments, check out spotify.com/loudandclear.
How we calculate and process royalties
We distribute the net revenue from Premium subscription fees and ads to rightsholders. To calculate net revenue, we subtract the money we collect but don’t get to keep. This includes payments for things like taxes, credit card processing fees, and billing, along with some other things like sales commissions. From there, the rightsholder’s share of net revenue is determined by streamshare.
We calculate streamshare by tallying the total number of streams in a given month and determining what proportion of those streams were people listening to music owned or controlled by a particular rightsholder.
Contrary to what you might have heard, Spotify does not pay artist royalties according to a per-play or per-stream rate; the royalty payments that artists receive might vary according to differences in how their music is streamed or the agreements they have with labels or distributors.
How artists get paid
In many cases, royalty payments happen once a month, but exactly when and how much artists get paid depends on their agreements with their record label or distributor. Once we pay rightsholders according to their streamshare, the labels and distributors (collection societies and publishers, in the case of songwriters) pay artists according to their individual agreements. Spotify has no knowledge of the agreements that artists sign with their labels, so we can’t answer why a rightsholder’s payment comes to a particular amount in a particular month.
For more information, see How the Money Flows.
Need more help?
For info more specific to you, or if you have an issue with your recording royalties, we suggest talking to your label or distributor since they handle the licensing and distribution of your music, and are the ones who administer your royalties.
If you have questions about publishing royalties, you can reach out to your publisher, performing rights organization, or collecting society.