There are millions of artist profiles on Spotify, yet only a small fraction are generating money. Shouldn’t a higher percentage of all artists on Spotify be making money? Aren’t there 10 million of them?

Mar 2, 2023

Our mission is focused on creating opportunities for emerging and professional artists to make a living through their work. Every artist is different, and success is not the same across the board.

It’s true that over ten million people have ever uploaded a song to Spotify — but just like uploading a video or two to YouTube doesn’t mean that person is trying to be a professional YouTuber, releasing a few songs on Spotify doesn’t indicate a career in music. For example, of the ten million people who have distributed any songs to Spotify, eight million of them have released fewer than ten tracks all-time. Many of these artists are likely early in their careers, hobbyists, or may not be leveraging streaming as part of their career paths.

We estimate that there are around 225,000 emerging or professional recording acts globally. We see this in Spotify data: 235,000 artists have released at least ten songs all-time (meaning they have a body of work to earn from) and average at least 10,000 monthly listeners (meaning they have been able to attract an initial audience). We also see this through our integrations with Bandsintown, Ticketmaster, and dozens of other live and virtual ticketing partners: 210,000 artists had any gig, event, or virtual event listed at some point during 2023, demonstrating commercial activity outside of streaming.

That data suggests a population of between 210,000 and 235,000 artists, but to account for a margin of error in our methodology, we consider 225,000 to be a reasonable estimate — though of course, we acknowledge the difficulty in assuming any artist’s professional intent just from data.

Based on this estimate, you could calculate that more than a quarter (29%) of professional or professionally aspiring artists generated $10,000 in 2023 from Spotify alone (and likely over $40,000 across all recorded revenue sources).