A Message from Daniel Ek, Spotify’s Founder & CEO

Mar 24, 2022

Core to Spotify’s mission is enabling artists to thrive from their work, and it’s our responsibility to be open and transparent about how streaming and Spotify are generating money for the music industry. That’s why we launched Loud & Clear last year and, today, we’ve updated the site with 2021 royalty figures. 

Last year, if there was one big takeaway, I’d say it was this: Not only is streaming driving record revenues for the music industry, but there are also more artists sharing in that success than ever before. And this year’s numbers reveal further meaningful progress toward a more vibrant and diverse music industry. 

So what does that success look like? In 2021, for the first time, 50K+ artists generated $10K+, and 1K+ artists generated $1M+ from Spotify alone. Spotify represents 20%+ of global recorded revenue, so you can multiply these amounts by ~4 to estimate how much the artist is generating beyond just Spotify. In fact, the number of artists crossing every revenue threshold on Spotify (e.g., $10K, $100K, $1M, and even $5M) has more than doubled in the last five years.

Overall, Spotify paid out over $7B to the music industry last year — more than any other service, and more than any single retailer in history in a single year. And we’ve paid out over $30B since we were founded. 

The results show winners across the whole industry: 

  • Major label streaming revenues are healthier than ever;
  • Publishers earned $1B+ from Spotify for the second year running;
  • Of the artists who generated $10K+ from Spotify, 28%+ self-distribute; and 
  • 34% of those artists live in countries outside the top 10 music markets.

And not only is the industry more lucrative today, but it’s also less concentrated. In the CD era, 25% of all sales went to the top 50 artists. On Spotify that number has now been halved — with only 12% coming from the top 50.

Just like the hyper-competitive worlds of film or sports, it’s difficult to make it in music. I get that. But the figures we’re sharing show that Spotify is improving on the music industry of the past, and more and more artists are able to stand out in the streaming era. 

Music matters. To the world and to Spotify. It’s where we started and what continues to inspire us as we build the most valuable platform for artists. We’re nowhere near done.