Where your $9.99 streaming subscription goes

February 6, 2022

We spent the last year investigating the profit and losses of modern musicians on streaming services. Here's what turned up.

Where Your Monthly Subscription Goes

Where your streaming subscription dollars go
How $9.99 flows through the music industry

On average, streaming platforms take 33% as revenue.  They pay another 38% to labels. Those labels retain some or all of that money to cover their own expenses, depending on the nature of the recording agreement with each managed artist.  

By the time the system works as intended, independent artists are left with 10-20%, often paid months in arrears.  We represent the average as 17% with variations due to PRO expenses, manager/agent fees, touring costs, merch COGS, distributor fees and untracked pool payments. It may also be higher if you manage more of your business or don't incur songwriter splits.

If you're an artist and want to make this more accurate, hit us up.

This is grounded in several sources including direct artists interviews and research from MIDiA and Goldman Sachs. This is an average and actual payment flows are hard to estimate due to the complexity and variation of deal terms, technology solutions and international copyright law.

We believe the modern music industry is a metaphor for the larger economic forces which dominate our time: tournament economics, monopoly lockout, rent-seeking and rapid digital disruption. We, like many, are advocates for a radically de-centralized restructuring of the music industry, favoring broader artist rights and direct payments. To build for this future, it’s time to break away from the past.

  1. MIDIA
  2. Goldman Sachs Music Insights (2)
Artists deserve fair pay
This is the future we're building.
Supporting Artists