Eight out of ten artists earn less than £200 a year from streaming

“These statistics show that music streaming does not play its part in supporting the careers of the vast majority of creators and artists..."


Words by: Billy Ward

A poll by the Ivors Academy and Musicians’ Union has revealed that 82% of artists earned less than £200 from streaming in 2019.

The survey has helped expose the inadequate earnings the majority of music creators currently receive from streaming, declaring that among the low earners were artists with millions of streams on services such as Spotify and Apple Music.

Out of the respondents, 92% said less than 5% of their earnings came from streaming last year, while 50% said their income from recorded music has declined over the past 10 years. Additionally, 43% said that insufficient income from streaming caused them to get a job outside of music.

Graham Davies, CEO of The Ivors Academy, said: “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 Too much streaming money is going to the major labels, this is an outdated model and needs reform. We have the best songwriters in the world and they deserve more.”

Naomi Pohl, Deputy General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union commented: “These statistics show that music streaming does not play its part in supporting the careers of the vast majority of creators and artists on whose work it relies. We have to make the economics of streaming fairer; improved deals for artists, a bigger share of revenue for songwriters and an income stream for the first time for non-featured musicians.”

In October, the UK government announced they would be investigating streaming after music managers called for urgent changes to address the financial imbalances. The inquiry is looking into the business models of streaming services, the influence of algorithms on music consumption and the long term economic impact of streaming on the wider industry.

Elsewhere, the United Musicians and Allied Workers Union (UMAW) have launched a Justice At Spotify campaign, demanding that the platform increase its average streaming royalty from $.0038 USD to one cent per stream for all artists.

The survey’s findings come ahead of the second meeting of the DCMS Select Committee inquiry into the economics of music streaming on December 8.

More information about the survey’s findings can be accessed here.

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