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15,000 European artists earn more than €10k, according to Spotify data

Listening to music = cash?
Listening to music = cash? Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Jonny Walfisz
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New data from Spotify shows how much European artists are earning through royalties. But how healthy is the industry?

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Spotify has updated its annual Loud & Clear music report with European specific data. The 2024 report, which charts how listenership and artist earnings across 2023 has now revealed that European artists generated nearly €1.5 billion in the past year.

For European artists, this is 16% more than the 2022 figures, and represents a threefold increase from 2017.

Overall figures for European musicians on Spotify are seemingly positive, with the continent’s artists discovered by new listeners around 28 billion times in the last year. In terms of how much this listenership translates into artistic careers, 15,000 European artists earned over €10,000 in the past year.

Artists earning at least €5,000 from their Spotify streams grows the figure to 25,000.

“Every year, Spotify has paid out more and more money in streaming royalties, resulting in record revenues and growth for rights holders on behalf of artists and songwriters,” Spotify’s General Manager of Europe, Federica Tremolada comments.

Tremolada continues by saying that “in the last year alone, we paid out almost €1.5 billion to European artists, with more than 15,000 EU artists generating over €10,000 in revenue. We’re excited to see European artists continue to grow their revenue and visibility across the world.”

While €10,000 isn’t exactly enough money for those artists to survive off alone, alongside earnings from touring and merchandise, it does paint a picture of the wider health of the music industry across Europe.

Figure breakdown

The Loud & Clear report also added some nation-specific figures with analysis from Germany, France and Italy.

In Germany, more than 1,000 artists were paid over €50,000 from royalties. This is quadruple the number that Spotify recorded in 2017. The total earnings for German artists exceeded €409 million.

Italian artists saw similarly impressive figures, if at somewhat lower levels. The country’s artists generated €126 million in 2023 royalties, with over 1,200 earning more than €10,000, triple the figure from 2017.

Over in France, the data focused more on the impact French music has on streaming service’s global user base. More than half the income generated by French artists comes from outside of France, showing the global impact of the nation’s music output.

How healthy, really?

By this framing, the music industry has never been in a healthier place with more musicians than ever receiving higher payouts. Yet the general picture painted by the vast majority of artists in the music industry is of a landscape in which financial security is more precarious than ever.

British singer and songwriter Nadine Shah recently admitted she wouldn’t attend this year’s Glastonbury Festival as it wasn’t financially viable for her. “I would have liked to but I wasn’t offered a televised stage so I declined. It’s too expensive a hit for me to take otherwise,” she wrote on X.

“It’s just a reality that playing live is super expensive and if you can justify the costs (like being on telly and having a wider reach) then sometimes you take the hit. Otherwise no, we’ve all bills to pay,” she continued.

Jennifer Lopez and the Black Keys both cancelled massive tours in recent weeks. Lopez did it ostensibly for personal reasons, but the Black Keys have had to downscale to smaller venues after low ticket sales.

Industry experts latched onto these two cases as examples of a dwindling interest from music fans in shelling increasingly high sums to see their favourite acts. Yet between ticket fee rises (through the controversial practices of ticket sellers), and the increasing costs of touring, artists are struggling to make ends meet despite already packed schedules.

While the financial insecurity of touring may seem a separate issue of streaming royalties, artists claim the need to tour has been compounded in the last decade by the dwindling royalties.

Daniel Ek, co-founder and CEO of Spotify, was criticised recently for his comments that “the cost of creating content being close to zero” on X with many musicians noting the high costs of creating music, from equipment to recording, mixing and distribution.

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It follows comments from Ek when the Loud & Clear report was first released.

“How is it that Spotify can say on the one hand that we are paying more and more out to the music industry, the music industry is growing, more artists are benefitting from it? But yet, anecdotally, you are hearing from artists how unhappy they are about the payouts they’re getting from streaming?” he said.

“How could those two things be true?” Ek asked.

His first explanation for the lack of funds artists are seeing from Spotify is that Ek’s company doesn’t pay artists directly. Instead, the money is paid to recording labels, publishers and to collecting societies. For some artists feeling the squeeze, Ek is arguing that it might be because of some greedy label executive drinking the juice, not him.

Ek’s second explanation is made through an analogy to football.

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While millions of people play the sport every day, it is only around 100,000 players who are professional and salaried by FIFA.

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