The other day I was considering the purchase of a double LP when a thought crossed my mind – how many times would I need people to stream my music on Spotify to pay for this double LP?

The estimated answer turned out to be 8,459.

Let’s type that out in words: eight thousand four hundred and fifty nine.

Needless to say that put a momentary dampener on my desire to buy the double LP in question.


I’m currently taking an extended break from web development work to focus on music, and whilst I’m enjoying it immensely, there’s a good chance it won’t be sustainable. But I have some savings set aside for this purpose and can return to regular work next year. However there is always the question of whether I could ever follow my passion and be a full-time musician with some support from streaming revenues.

So I wondered, what it would be like to view the costs of living in terms of how many streams I need to cover the costs. Walking into a shop, picking up a litre of milk, and the attendant saying “That’ll be 311 streams please”. Stopping into a cafe for a coffee, “Here’s 1,015 streams thanks”

I decided to do up a table of some day-to-day living expenses. I figure it might help to put things into context a bit more, because when you hear that each stream is worth X fractions of a cent, it doesn’t really help visualise what that really means.


Naturally the below figures are to be considered estimates. Don’t go into a shop with your Spotify Artists statistics open suggesting that the 2000 streams you got this month entitles you to a bottle of wine. The prices for each item are very rough estimates just to give a sense of things and are mostly taken from a set of sample prices for the cost of living in Berlin, Germany. I’ve taken the monthly German minimum wage figure from here – the hourly rate being €9.19 and for someone working 40 hours a week. For interest’s sake I included a few technical tools for musicians, the prices of which come from a price comparison engine or Thomann.

Additionally, the actual amount earned per stream varies hugely, even on a single service. For these calculations I’ve used figures from 2018 from a mid-sized indie label which generates almost 1 billion streams annually – enough of a data set to be considered fairly accurate. The original source article is over on The Trichordist. So for the data below we’re using $0.00331 as the per stream earning, and that’s converted to Euro at today’s exchange rate of 1 Euro = $1.12. So each stream is worth €0.00296.

Finally, if you self-release you naturally get all the earnings (unless your digital distributor is taking a percentage), but if you’re on a label then you’re likely to have a split of earnings. Again this could vary hugely but for argument’s sake we’ll consider it a 50/50 split – and we’ll assume the digital distributor isn’t taking a percentage before that split…!


Still here? Good! Check out the figures below!

1 tampilan



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