Skip to main content
Brian Coney
30 November 2022, 12:43

Streaming services unlikely to make sufficient “excess profits” to improve artist pay, report shows

The study also found that  60% of streams were of music recorded by only the top 0.4% of artists


A new report has found that music streaming services are unlikely to make sufficient "excess profits" to improve paying artists.

According to the independent study, which was carried out by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), neither record labels nor streaming services such as Spotify, TIDAL and Apple Music "are likely to be making significant excess profits that could be shared with creators (artists and songwriters)."

It added that concerns raised by artists are "not being driven by the level of concentration of the recording market," after it found that 60% of streams were of music recorded by only the top 0.4% of artists.

The result of the study is a significant setback for creators, particularly independent artists, as it effectively means there will be no further action to ensure that streaming services and labels pay creators more fairly. It noted that "the issues concerning creators would not be addressed by measures intended to improve competition, but instead would need other policy measures in order to be addressed."

In their final report, the CMA study also revealed consumers have benefited from digitisation and competition between streaming services. On the subject of streaming usage and patterns, it discovered that there are around 39 million monthly listeners on streaming services in the UK, streaming 138 billion times a year. Subscription prices for listeners have also fallen by more than 20% between 2009 and 2021.

The study also found that in relation to greater competition to reach listeners, an artist could expect to earn around £12,000 from 12 million streams in the UK in 2021, but less than 1% of artists achieve that level of streams.

Revisit DJ Mag's feature on self-releasing music in 2022.