Here’s how many streams artists need to earn minimum wage

The Trichodist have released shocking figures exposing the total number of streams that artists require to earn a minimum wage, across a number of key platforms.

Youtube is by far the worst offender on the list, with 7,267 streams needed for an artist to earn the equivalent of one hour’s minimum wage in the UK (approx. $17.13 AUD). Pandora and Spotify are next in line, with artists requiring 5,450 and 3,114 streams respectively.


With an average payout of $0.0024 AUD per stream, an artist’s music would need to be streamed over 7,267 times on Youtube for them to earn one hour of minimum wage.

PRS director Tom Gray posted the data on social media as part of his #BrokenRecord campaign, raising awareness of the market conditions that artists are subject to, even beyond the pandemic. To make matters even worse, Gray commented that these rates only apply to artists who own all the rights to their music. For any artist on a record label, the rate they receive is even lower.

“On a major label, the artist earns 20% of this (after debt repayment) and the songwriter (if she writes 100%), at best, 8-15% of each rate,” he added.

These figures, also reporting the total number of streams needed to earn one pound and the average payout per stream across Amazon, Apple Music, Deezer, and Google Play Music, are an alarming wake-up call for music lovers. With many musicians earning majority of their income through live gigs, artists from across the globe have been calling for these platforms to increase payouts since the beginning of the pandemic.

In March, songwriter Alex Lahey penned an impassioned letter to the Victorian Premier, calling for increased financial assistance for artists and industry professionals. “My team and I now do not have any foreseeable income to pay our rents, our mortgages, our bills and support our families,” Lahey wrote.

Last week, Apple Music and Spotify announced their plans to provide labels with financial relief, with Apple Music rolling out a $50 million fund for advanced royalty payments.