Spotify paid out a total of $9 billion in royalties for streaming in 2023, making it the largest annual payment by any company to the music industry. The size of the sum is revealed in the company’s latest “Loud and Clear” report.

According to the 2023 figures, 1,250 artists will receive more than $1 million in royalties; 11,600 will receive more than $100,000 and 66,000 will receive more than $10,000 – a number that has nearly tripled since 2017.

Among the artists’ songs that are most listened to on Spotify, it’s not just the English language that dominates. Songs in Spanish, German, Portuguese, French and Korean were among those whose works stood out.

According to Charlie Hellman, vice president and global head of music products at Spotify, independent artists and independent record labels received $4.5 billion, which is half of all royalties paid by the music streaming platform.

In December, Spotify announced it was laying off 17% of its global staff for the third time in 2023 in a bid to cut costs while focusing on making a profit.

“Songs that generate less than a thousand streams in a year will generate just a few cents in royalties,” Hellman explains.

Spotify and most other streaming services pay royalties to the rights holders of the music on their platform, a number that is determined by “streamshare.” This is calculated by adding up the number of times music owned or controlled by a rights holder has been streamed and dividing by the total number of streams in that market.

Accordingly, larger rights holders have a larger percentage of market share. A listener streaming an artist 25% of the time does not mean that that artist will receive 25% of the listener’s subscription fee.

Spotify says that by 2024, it will no longer pay for songs with fewer than 1,000 streams per year.

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