With ever-increasing competition, market saturation, and a constantly shifting digital landscape, today’s modern music industry is continually evolving at a fast pace. And certainly at the forefront of this is music streaming – by far and away the most popular way that people now listen to music. Here is an overview of the “State of Streaming in 2023.”
In this article, will look at the following aspects of streaming:
- most popular music streaming platforms in 2023
- average artist pay-out rates per stream, by platform
- a look at some streaming trends internationally
- some charts and rankings
- main summary of where we are today with streaming
MUSIC STREAMING PLATFORMS BY SIZE OF USER BASE
*Please note: these are merely “best estimates” based on analysis of various websites.
- Apple Music
- YouTube Music
- Amazon Music
Reportedly now having over 500 million active users, Spotify is easily “the elephant in the room,” as it were, among streaming platforms (which should of course surprise no one). According to Blogging Wizard, “Spotify earned $12.6B in revenue in 2022.” Additionally interesting, “31.5% of Spotify’s monthly active users live in Europe.” Also, “55% of Spotify’s user base are between the ages of 18 and 34. Millennials and Gen Z make up the majority of Spotify’s user base, according to data from Statista.”
– 500 million active users
– over 100 million tracks
Blogging Wizard reports:
“Content from major music corporations accounted for 75% of streams on Spotify in 2022.”
A popular favorite among artists and labels, SoundCloud has stayed the course, and remains one of the most popular streaming platforms overall, particularly for electronic music. It boasts a userbase of around 170 million, with a total of 250 million tracks uploaded to its library. They’ve offered a variety of services and features over the last few years, and are currently focused heavily on “fan-powered royalties.” Since 2017, SoundCloud has achieved a solid round of investment financing as well as other impressive statistics.
Powered by one of the most major names in computing history, Apple Music offers users the ability to ” sync and listen to your music on all devices seamlessly,” offline listening, and Beats 1 Radio, “a 24/7 live radio broadcast which is hosted by Apple’s resident DJs based in Los Angeles, New York, and London” (TuneFab). CNET also reports that “Siri users also get more robust voice controls for playback,” and Apple Music “also offers lossless audio and Dolby Atmos spatial audio support on select songs.”
“Imagine if YouTube was nothing but songs and music videos, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect. ” (Digital Trends)
It offers a music library of around 100 million songs, exclusive content (live performances, covers, remixes), curated playlists, integration with YouTube, as well as an app for desktop or mobile.
“Amazon Music grew 114.6% in 2019-2022.
46% of US music purchases were on Amazon Music.”
[source: Headphones Addict]
Additionally, Amazon Music is the second-most popular streaming service in Spain and Japan. And as we note below, Amazon Music is very popular among iPhone users in the UK.
PCMag’s pick in the “Best for Free Listening” category, Pandora maintains a loyal user base and offers features such as “Pandora Stories,” with album commentary, as well as artist tour and ticket information for users’ favorite artists.
Popular for its DJ mixes, features of the platform include: Mixcloud LIVE (where users can “tune in direct to creators from every genre”), and the ability for select users to offer subscriptions (similar to Patreon), where subscribers are rewarded with special exclusive content or mixes.
The French company’s platform offers: exclusive video content, a ‘Favorites’ section, a bright and colorful interface, and also allows you to upload MP3s.
Check out these links for more:
Touted as an “artist-friendly platform,” Tidal boasts a greater level of support for artists, higher quality output available for listening, podcasts, as well as articles and interviews in Tidal Magazine. It also offers the user the ability to import playlists from other streaming platforms.
Tidal was originally owned by a group of musicians, including Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Jack White, Kanye, Madonna, Rihanna, Daft Punk, Chris Martin of Coldplay, and others. In 2021, Square purchased Tidal for around $300 million, ending this artist-based ownership, although its influence still remains. Tidal is a very artist-friendly platform compared to other options, and for paid subscriptions, a portion of up to 10% of the subscription is specifically directed toward your most-listened artists in addition to their royalties.
Re-vamping itself from the days of the late 90s/early 2000s, when the platform ran into issues and was eventually shut down due to the transmission of copyrighted files, Napster now offers a new streaming service. The company was actually a music streaming pioneer – the Napster-powered service, Rhapsody, was “the first streaming on-demand music subscription service to offer unlimited access to a large library of digital music for a flat monthly fee” – Wikipedia).
As you can see in the chart below, the current offering from Napster offers one of the highest payouts to artists per stream, at a rate of around $0.019 per stream (compared to Spotify’s rate of $0.0032).
STREAMING PAY-OUT RATES (by platform)
Spotify pays an average of $0.0032 per stream. This means that an artist would earn $320 for every 100,000 streams. Apple Music pays an average of $0.0068 per stream. This means that an artist would earn $680 for every 100,000 streams.
“How Many Spotify Streams Are Necessary To Live Above The Poverty Line?”
At an average payout of $0.006 per song stream, a musician living in the United States needs 3,000,000 plays annually to have a gross income of $12,000.
*The reference page above from Decibel Peak also has a neat “Music Streaming Royalty Calculator,” where you can estimate how much you can make based on a certain number of streams.
Major streaming growth in:
Spotify has tripled its user count in India in just two years.
Currently Spotify has over 55 million monthly active users in India.
In terms of streams, Spotify claims that Indian users have surpassed 10bn monthly streams. Local content is King in India; Indian artist Arijit Singh was streamed more than Beyonce…
The 10bn growth statistic shows a strong growth in India. Back in 2021, the monthly number of streams in India was 3.2bn. Services like Youtube and Jiosaavn remain popular, but Spotify is definitely on the rise.
Good news for all artists and labels who have a large fanbase in Japan: the Japanese streaming market has a 24% year on year growth.
Japan is the second largest music market in the world, but streaming revenue has always stayed behind compared to other markets. According to IFPI, Japan is actually the largest market for physical music sales, but in terms of digital revenue Japan is only 5th in line (after USA, UK, China and Germany)
The 24% growth primarily comes from music subscription services (81%). Ad supported revenue saw a massive growth of 107% but still only accounts for less than 10% of the total market in Japan.
Amazon Music generates the 2nd largest revenue in Japan among music streaming services.
According to Statista, the UK is the “European market with the highest digital music revenue” (at $1.27 billion US) followed by:
(as of November, 2022)
As of 2020, the number of music streaming users in the UK reached a record 11.4 million, which translates to almost 60 percent of all digital music users in the region. While this figure is forecast to increase significantly in the years to come, music downloads are expected to plateau. This trend can be explained by the fact that streaming services allow users to listen to unlimited music content for free or a set monthly fee, which encourages many music fans to browse through the vast digital catalogs and discover more new artists and genres than ever before.
Additionally, “iPhone users in Great Britain spend the most money on Amazon Music out of all music streaming services.” [Headphones Addict]
It was hard to find data on top-streamed electronic artists, tracks, and other trends in South America, however we did find this cool guide (Written in February 2023) of some up-and-coming underground artists from South America to watch:
Another trend that emerges […] is the massive amount of engagement with music that artists and labels have enabled with their fans. In 2022, there were an average of 92 million paid music service subscriptions in the U.S. (to services like Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Unlimited, Tidal, and others), a more than ten-fold increase in use in less than a decade. And there were an incredible 1.9 trillion music streams in the U.S. in 2022 – an average of nearly 6,000 streams for every American.
“Where is EDM most popular in the world?”
According to EDM Sauce:
Although electronic dance music is popular all over the globe, there are a few countries that stand out as being especially fond of the genre. A recent study found that the following countries are home to the biggest EDM fans:
1. The United States
3. The Netherlands
What Country Do Most EDM Artists Come From?
The United States is not only home to the biggest EDM fans, but it is also the country where most EDM artists come from. In fact, a whopping 40% of all EDM artists are from the US. This is followed by Sweden, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
This one is a bit dated (2016), but still interesting, nonetheless:
“5 Best Countries For EDM Fans”
1) South Korea
– Source: Your EDM
And finally (“for what it’s worth”), we have this mini-list, according to Google:
“Best Countries for House Music”
1) The Netherlands
Check out this really interesting cross-reference of top tracks streamed by country, across a range of streaming platforms (iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Shazam, Deezer)
Highlights: Calvin Harris, popular in the UK & Poland. David Guetta, on Shazam in Austria.
MOST STREAMED ARTISTS / TRACKS
David Guetta has accumulated 21.5 billion streams on Spotify, making him one of the most successful electronic dance music (EDM) artists globally. His collaborations with renowned musicians and chart-topping hits have earned him multiple awards and recognition throughout his career.
“David Guetta is the 4th most streamed artist on Spotify (overall)”
We Rave You (October 2022)
The first sighting of dance music producers comes at #16 with The Chainsmokers, who’ve generated an impressive 7.2 billion streams and $17.7 million. Calvin Harris has taken home a cool $14 million so far, landing him at #25.
[EDM.com (March 2021)]
For 2023, David Guetta and Calvin Harris appear within the top 20 again for top streams among all artists on Spotify, coming in at #10 and #15 respectively
HIGHEST EARNING SONGS
Sunflower by Post Malone has made the most money overall ($4.5 million from U.S. listens)
Blinding Lights by The Weeknd is the highest-earning song in 10 countries (more than any other individual song)
Most of the highest-earning EDM songs are by a handful of artists, including Avicii, Elton John, SAINt JHN, the Chainsmokers or Tiësto
Meanwhile, top-earning hip-hop/rap songs are often by local artists”
OVERVIEW OF WHERE WE ARE TODAY
“The Good, the Bad, The Ugly”
MARKET SATURATION / A FIELD DOMINATED BY MAJOR PLAYERS
As we noted above, major artists & labels accounted for around 75% of all streams (on Spotify). The major players are also releasing around 3,900 tracks a day. In addition, according to Music Business Worldwide, streaming income for DIY artists decreased overall in 2022.
This, combined with the very low payout rates offered by the biggest streaming services may paint a rather challenging picture, however, at the same time (especially due to the fact that it accounts for over 80% of revenue in the music industry), streaming remains a vitally important method of generating income for producers and labels. So on the one hand, there is more competition and a greater number of tracks being released than ever before, but at the same time, unprecedented opportunities if you can get your music out there and heard by the right audience!
Music Business Worldwide
Business of Apps
Sound of Life
Comparison of music streaming services