Spotify for independent artists isn't exactly going great. A new feature is giving smaller artists a chance to get in front of more users at a reduced royalty rate (which mathematically doesn't seem to benefit any artist), there are way too many artists on the platform, and nobody's listening to most of them. Now to add insult to injury, a new report by Music Business Worldwide shows that the number of DIY artists making over $10,000 yearly has gone down.
According to Music Business Worldwide founder Tim Ingham, just over 14,700 DIY artists made over $10,000 in streaming and publishing royalties in 2022. This number is down from 15,140 in 2021. Add in the fact that the number of artists on Spotify jumped from 8 million to 9 million between 2021 and 2022, and that number feels a little more dismal.
"These figures are startling for a number of reasons, not least the fact that the overall number of DIY artists on Spotify continues to blow up," said Ingham. "On Spotify's previous Loud & Clear update [which is Spotify's transparency in their statistics], we learned that there were approximately 8 million artists with music on Spotify at the close of 2021. (That's music artists, not including podcasters.)
"In the newly-updated Loud & Clear, we learn that there were approximately 9 million artists with music on Spotify at the close of 2022. In other words, the total number of artists with music on Spotify is now growing by around a million acts annually."
Ingham then points out that one quarter of all music streamed on Spotify in 2022 was from artists outside major labels and the digital music licensing company Merlin. In other words, 25% of all streams came from artists uploading their own music video services like TuneCore, CD Baby, and DistroKid. So that's good, right? Not really, because everyone's getting paid less.
"According to the latest edition of Loud & Clear, in 2022, there were 94,000 DIY artists on Spotify who attracted over 10,000 monthly listeners each on the platform," wrote Ingham. "The average annual royal sum generated by these 94,000 artists in 2022 – across recorded music and publishing – was $12,200.
"In 2021, according to Loud & Clear, there were fewer DIY artists on Spotify that boasted over 10,000 monthly listeners on the platform: 72,700. However, the average amount of royalties these 72,000 DIY acts generated that year was higher ($15,100) than the equivalent group in 2022."
None of this should be surprising. Spotify is still growing at an insane rate, meaning the pool of artists is only getting bigger for everyone to get lost in… and that means the money is only getting spread thinner and thinner. Well, some of it is just sitting there. Spotify is also considering raising their subscription fees in the United States, though no concrete information on what that'll look like has come through yet.