It’s estimated that Taylor Swift earned a whopping £72,118,541.25 in royalties from her 26.1 billion Spotify streams this year, but it’s worth remembering that not every artist boasts those kinds of numbers. Particularly those who are making experimental electronic music.
This point has just been illustrated by German composer, performer, occasional plugin developer and frequent YouTube contributor Hainbach. He revealed in a Twitter thread that he hit one million Spotify streams this year, which sounds pretty impressive.
However, Hainbach goes on to confirm that this seemingly lofty listen count equates to a relatively modest £2,160 in royalties (about $180 a month before tax) which, while useful - “Nothing to sneeze at, it covers my utilities bill,” he says - certainly isn’t enough to live on.
Hainbach also gives us a little insight into which of his tracks have earned him the most streams/money. It turns out that The Guide, which was released in 2020, has now been played 560,000 times, and still averages around 12,000 listens a month. He also had a “surprise hit” with The Wooden, from his 2023 album Voice Magnetic, which chalked up 116,000 plays in six months.
While being on Spotify certainly doesn’t bring in enough money for Hainbach to retire on, he can at least take comfort from the fact that he’s earning something from the platform. Reports suggest that, as of next year, tracks that receive less than 1,000 plays a year will be demonetised, so lesser-known artists who have lots of material on Spotify but no songs that break through this ceiling may end up getting nothing.
So, how can you help your favourite musicians to earn a living? “Bandcamp or coming to a live show is still the best way to support me and other artists,” says Hainbach, though what the future holds for Bandcamp remains to be seen. Having been acquired by Epic Games in 2022, it was recently sold to Songtradr, a “music licensing platform and marketplace company”.
Commenting on the Bandcamp buyout, Songtradr CEO Paul Wiltshire said: "The acquisition of Bandcamp will help Songtradr continue to grow its suite of services for artists. I’m a passionate musician myself, and artistry and creativity have always been at the heart of Songtradr. Bandcamp will join a team of music industry veterans and artists who have deep expertise in music licensing, composition, rights management, and distribution."