So how much money was behind those cute Spotify Wrapped pictures last week? German composer Hainbach answered the question that many wouldn’t – and it’s about a pitiful $0.00216 per stream…

Last week, Spotify engaged in its latest, now annual piece of marketing – Spotify Wrapped. They would take all the data that they’ve obtained over the past twelve months, and compress it down into cute, social media friendly graphics with lots of impressive sounding figures – things like how 3many hours people spent listening to your music, or the number of countries that music was streamed from.

Indeed, Ears To The House covered this subject last Monday – pointing out that the monetary relationship in streaming is about to be broken, and potentially forever. Minimum thresholds of 1000 streams per year kick in next year, meaning it’ll be impossible to work out how much a stream is worth. But how much is it worth now – and why won’t artists simply tell us?

Now, to be fair to the artists, part of the reason they won’t tell you how much money they actually make out of Spotify is pretty simple. The streaming site makes it agonisingly difficult to work out the real number, and it doesn’t help that different artists are treated in different ways – so one reason many artists won’t tell you how much coin they get from Spotify is because they simply don’t know.

Also, Spotify does not pay artists directly – they normally make payments to distributors or record labels, who get their own cuts in accordance with any agreements they have in place. The more organisations or people who are involved, the more ways that money has to be divided up – so this isn’t a straightforward question.

But if you really want a figure, here’s one from a German experimental composer called Hainbach – real name Stefan Paul Goetsch. He got a little over a million streams in 2023, and received this in return…

We threw that $2160 figure into the calculator, dividing it by one million. The result is a rather pathetic $0.00216 per stream – although Hainbach glosses over this fact somewhat by pointing out that “it covers my utilities bill”.

Still, it’s certainly not a problem that Taylor Swift is going to have – her 26.1billion streams on the website are likely to net her almost $100million. A lovely Christmas present for her, and the equivalent of a lump of coal for lesser known artists…

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