Getting paid per stream

Get Linked Social
2 min readNov 21, 2023

For an independent artist not signed to a record label, the potential streaming income from one person repeating a song could be higher compared to a mainstream artist. Here’s a breakdown:

Independent Artist Scenario:

  • Without a label, the artist keeps 100% of music streaming royalties
  • If one person streams a 3 minute independent artist song 14,400 times in 30 days, that generates about $57.60 at a $0.004 per stream rate
  • For a 30 second independent song repeated 86,400 times, it would generate around $345.
  • The key difference is the independent artist keeps all the royalties instead of a tiny fraction of what labels take.

While the amounts for an individual excessively streaming may still be modest, every dollar counts more for indie artists. The math changes dramatically if the song resonates widely and racks up millions of authentic listens instead of one person’s repeats.

But essentially — supporting independent artists through streaming on repeat still generates very little compared to aggregated crowdsourced streams. Yet for unsigned artists, the revenue share is more direct and immediate if they get a deeply dedicated fan streaming a ton themselves.

So that’s one angle where excessive streaming of an indie artist song could move the needle somewhat. Let me know if any other indie music business questions!

If the song is 0.5 minutes (30 seconds) long, then in 30 days (720 hours) you could play it:

720 hours x (60 minutes per hour / 0.5 minutes per song) = 86,400 plays

At the $0.004 per stream rate, 86,400 streams would generate about $345.60

Of that amount:

  • The artist may get around $35 — $70, depending on their label revenue share deal
  • The record label would take the majority of the rest

So in this hypothetical situation, where you are the ONLY person streaming this 30 second song for a whole month, you could generate about $350 in total streaming revenue.

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