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Of course, T-Pain and his ilk aren’t exactly struggling for cash, there are definitely folks harder up than him and other musicians, but there is certainly an interesting debate to be had about the amounts that are made by artists through streaming platforms, as well as the value of art in general.
In a post that he captioned ‘just so you know’, the singer – known for his distinctive use of autotune – shared the total amount of streams that an artist would have to get on some of the world’s biggest streaming platforms to make just one US dollar.
Perhaps the most shocking figure is that of YouTube.
As we all know, there’s a lot of money to be made on YouTube.
You only have to look at the lifestyles of some of the biggest stars on the platform to know that they do OK.
However, according to T-Pain’s figures, you’d need to get 1,250 streams on YouTube Music to make a buck.
That being said, it’s worth remembering that this is just a post shared by T-Pain, and the figures might not be entirely accurate.
According to TimesInternational, YouTube Music pays out at $0.00735 per stream, whereas video streams yield $0.00069.
T-Pain’s post also highlights that you’d need 752 streams on Pandora, 156 on Deezer, 315 on Spotify, 249 on Amazon Music, and 128 on Apple Music to bring in a dollar.
Napster and Tidal Music have the lowest amount of streams per dollar at 53 and 78 respectively.
According to this chart, at the very least.
Still, the debate is important because whilst T-Pain clearly has other forms of revenue such as live performances, merchandise, brand deals, and label contracts, he’s in a very small minority amongst musicians.
Musicians who aren’t getting the 10 million monthly streams that T-Pain gets are still earning the same amount for their art.
It is no doubt important for bigger stars to speak out about this for everyone to get their worth.
Still, it divided opinion online.
One person said: “This model is only archaic for artists who suck at making music,
“Not to mention all the money from endorsements, brand deals, the actual label deal/contract, etc. Artists are making tons of money as it is.”
The crazy thing about this chart is that the ARTIST doesn’t make that dollar. It still has to be split up with the label, distributor, etc. https://t.co/UELJGFnh6p— Michael Harriot (@michaelharriot) December 29, 2021
Dude is still banking. According to Spotify he's making (10.3M / $315) = $32k a month on their service alone, never mind all of the other streaming services. pic.twitter.com/Vwy3RroYjP— ArielAces (@ArielAces) December 29, 2021
Fellow musician Packy disagreed with that assessment. He said: “Purchasing albums, merch, and concert tickets from your favorite [sic] artists (especially independent artists) goes a LONG WAY.”
Another person wrote: “This discourages growth.
“It is p***ing away future talent. It just needs to be sustainable.
“We also don't need a digital shakedown via a digital middleman.”
buy merch! buy vinyl records! buy concert tickets (when it's safe)! https://t.co/quqriIfwoJ— 𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙙𝙣𝙚𝙧 (@grantrindner) December 29, 2021
Obviously, streaming platforms are going nowhere, and they’re totally fine to use if you want to listen to your favourite band, but if you really want to support them – particularly smaller artists – you should probably have a think about buying a t-shirt, a ticket, or a record as well.