Mar 24, 2022 - Economy

Spotify says it paid out a record $7B to music industry in 2021

Illustration of podcast symbol with headphones on and smiling

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Spotify paid out $7 billion to the music industry in 2021, "the highest annual payment from any single retailer in history," the audio giant said Thursday. It also said that for the first time, over 1,000 artists generated over $1 million on Spotify

Why it matters: Spotify says that the data shows "the music industry is healthier than it’s been in a long time, and more artists are finding more success than ever before."

Details: The data, which was published as part of Spotify's second annual Loud & Clear industry report, found that streaming has significantly enabled the music industry to grow and helped more artists get paid.

  • Revenue alone last year surpassed total revenue for the entire music industry in each year from 2009 to 2016, per the report.
  • Major record labels earned over $4 billion in profit in 2021, driven by streaming, while publishing rights holders earned over $1 billion.

Yes, but: The numbers are based on proprietary Spotify data, so they are impossible to vet for accuracy.

The big picture: The data suggests that streaming has helped artists get discovered faster and grow big businesses on their own.

  • Over 50,000 artists generated $10,000 from Spotify alone, the streamer said. Roughly one-quarter (28%) of artists who generated over $10,000, self-distribute to Spotify
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