Spotify Generated $4.5 Billion for Independent Artists and Labels in 2023

Following on the news that the music industry generated some $9 billion on Spotify in 2023, the streaming giant has revealed that half of that total went to independent labels and artists — $4.5 billion.

Streaming has leveled the playing field in many ways since it became the main platform for music around a decade ago, and the fact that independent artists — which Spotify defines as artists signed to a non-major labels or self-releasing — now account for half of that total, for the first time, is evidence.

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With some 236 million paying subscribers, Spotify remains by far the world’s largest paid music-streaming service, with the U.S. its biggest territory.

It is important to note that how much of that money reaches artists is determined by the rights-holders — which are usually labels and music publishers — not Spotify. Payments go first to rights holder(s), which then take their fee or percentage and pay the creators their share.

The company notes that 2023 was the highest amount indies have ever generated from a single retailer (i.e. Spotify) in one year, and that $4.5 billion is not only a four-times increase of what indies generated on Spotify from 2017, it’s more than the entire recorded music industry in every country except the U.S., per the IFPI.

Earlier this year, the company announced not only that it paid out $9 billion to the music industry in 2023, it has paid $48 billion since its founding in 2008. Last year, the company said it pays out nearly 70% of every dollar it generates from music back to the industry, generating its music revenue from two sources: subscription fees from its Premium platform paying subscribers, and fees from advertisings on music on its Free tier. Those rights holders include record labels, publishers, independent distributors, performance rights organizations and collecting societies.

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