How Much Money Artists Make in Streaming Royalties vs. Merchandise Sales

How Much Money Artists Make in Streaming Royalties vs. Merchandise Sales

Streaming royalties continue to be a popular topic with how much artists really make compared to other sources of revenue...cough merchandise cough. It has been over a year since we took a detailed look so as 2023 comes to an end we are sharing updated metrics. Let's get started!

To start out, what does selling one band tee equate to in streams in 2023?

Spotify pays artists on a dynamic 'scale', averaging $0.004 per stream for all artists*. Knowing the average band tee price is $35 in 2023, selling one is equivalent to almost 9,000 streams.

But, hey, if you are being streamed millions of times then it is still a good source of revenue right?

Sure, but how much revenue? Using the royalty conversion of $0.004 per stream, if you are streaming one million times you would make $4,000. To make $1M in streaming royalties you would need to be streamed 250 million times. In comparison, to make $4,000 from merchandise you would need to sell 115 shirts. To make $1M? 28.5K shirts.

1M Stream = $4,000 = 115 T-shirts sold

In 2023, the average artist made $10K per show in Gross Merchandise Sales. Based on 2022 Spotify data, 61% of artists on Spotify made less than that from a year's worth of royalties.

Knowing what the average artist made per show in 2023, it's helpful to break it down by attendance grouping so you can see how it applies to you and your band.

Even small cap artists make 3x more per show than a year's worth of streaming royalties.

Next time you want to support an artist, don't just listen to their music, check out their merch!

More details on average Gross Sales per show broken down by genre and attendance groupings will be in the 2023 Year In Review: Merch Edition so stay tuned!

*this metric was updated to reflect 2023 estimations based on this article.

Avg. Yearly Streaming Revenue per artist = total royalties distributed to artists / total artists on their platform . Spotify published metrics can be found here regarding the total royalties distributed to artists in 2021 ($7B+) and the number of artists who made $1K+ and $50K+ in royalties. Our numbers are estimates released by Spotify and other journalists and not official numbers from Spotify.

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