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Know-how for musicians

How many streams do I need to be able to live off them?

February 8, 2021

How many streams do I need per month to be able to live off them? Based on the minimum wages in the US and UK, we’ve calculated the answer for you.

iGroove’s goal is to help artists make a living off their art. Since downloads and physical sales are steadily on the decline and concerts are at the moment still a thing of the future, we have calculated how many streams you need per month to be able to live off them. As a reference we’re using, quite modestly, the minimum wage in the US and UK.

Additionally, we are assuming that most streams are generated in the artist’s home country. The calculations are based on the analysis of the payments made by Spotify and Apple Music.

Based on the data from our artists, we assume 90% of streams in the UK to come from Spotify and 10% from Apple Music, while in the US 65% of streams come from Spotify and 35% from Apple Music. We further assume that the artist is releasing their music independently and they therefore don’t have to give up a big portion of the revenues to a label.

US

We are basing these calculations on a minimum wage of $7.25, which at 40 hours a week amounts to $15,000 per year and $1,250 per month. Additionally, we counted around $3,526 of revenues per 1 million streams on Spotify and $7,640 on Apple Music.

So, you will need around 170,000 streams on Spotify and 85,000 streams on Apple Music to reach a minimum wage income. For a whole year, this number will come out to around 3.06 million streams on both platform that you will need to be able to make a living.

UK

In the UK, we are working with a minimum wage of £8.72 per hour, which at 40 hours a week amounts to around £18,317 per year and £1,511 per month. The payment per one million streams amounts to £3,544 on Spotify and £8,308 on Apple Music.

So, a UK artist has to reach 338,000 streams per month on Spotify and 37,555 on Apple Music to reach a minimum wage income. Per year, this would mean 4.5 million streams on both platform.

A UK artist therefore needs a lot more streams to reach the minimum wage.

This is partly due to the fact that the minimum wage in the UK is higher than in the US. Another reason is that in the US there is a significantly higher portion Apple Music streams, which pay more.

Forecast your future revenues

Do you want more planning reliability and know how much you will earn in the future? With our AI “Muse” we can calculate your projected streaming revenues for the next 6, 12, or even 24 months.

These numbers will help you decide whether you can live off your music. Of course, you shouldn’t necessarily aim for just minimum wage; we only used it for the purpose of comparison.

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