Your Questions, Answered

We know you have a ton of questions around music streaming economics and we want to make sure to get you the answers. We’ve included the questions we get most frequently from artists and will continue to add to this list as more questions come in.

How did global currency volatility influence 2022 royalty data?

2022 was a historically volatile and unpredictable year in currency exchange rates. The U.S. dollar (USD) strengthened relative to nearly every other major currency at a level not seen in decades — the USD appreciated over 12% in 2022 (based on the nominal broad dollar index).

Spotify’s artist community is particularly global, generating royalties across dozens of currencies. 72% of Spotify subscribers are outside the US and Canada, and 35% of artists who generated at least $10,000 in 2022 on Spotify come from outside the top ten music markets. 

For consistency, we continue to report all our royalty data on this site in USD — converting all revenue numbers from local currency to USD. As a result, the growth rate from 2021 to 2022 for some revenue thresholds can appear lower than past years — due to major changes in currency conversion, not changes in business growth. (Spotify’s Premium subscriber base grew 14% year-over-year to 205 million, and monthly active user totals grew 20% year-over-year to 489 million.)

As an example of the impact of currency volatility on reporting:

  • The number of artists generating $1 million (USD) grew from 1,040 in 2021 to 1,060 in 2022 (up 2%). 
  • The number of artists generating €1 million (Euro) grew from 880 in 2021 to 1,000 in 2022 (up 13%).

Would the user-centric model be more fair?

The research we’ve seen to date suggests that a shift to user-centric payments would not benefit artists as much as many may have originally hoped. A study from the National Music Centre (CNM) found that the change would result in “at most a few euros per year on average” for artists outside the top 10,000. That research can be viewed here, and a useful summary of that research can be viewed here

We are willing to make the switch to a user-centric model if that’s what artists, songwriters, and rights holders want to do. However, Spotify cannot make this decision on its own; it requires broad industry alignment to implement this change.