Apple Music claims it pays out an average of a penny per stream image. The streaming giant detailed its royalty scheme in a letter to artistes, labels and publishers, Friday.
Many see the statement as an unspoken jab at Spotify, the streaming industry leader that has long been criticised for what musicians’ groups describe as unfair royalty payouts.
Apple Music has 60 million paid subscribers, compared to Spotify’s 155 million paid subscribers and 345 million active users.
A penny per stream would put Apple Music’s payouts at over double Spotify’s, though the stat is somewhat misleading. Apple estimates a one-cent royalty payout (it can also dip lower), but its actual payouts are determined on a stream share basis—a song’s percentage of overall streams on the service, not on a per-stream basis. Those payouts are then made to rights holders, a group that can include labels, publishers or other distributors, who in turn pay out artists based on percentage splits laid out in recording, publishing or distribution agreements.
A penny per stream has long been a key demand of the musicians’ group.