Before streaming, musical artists would typically receive around nine to 12% for a physical album. This amount increased as they became more successful. It was easy for artists to make money from their music since physical albums were typically the primary source of revenue for record labels until the mid-2000s.

Over the past decade, users accessing music streaming services has increased significantly. It’s no surprise since it is the most convenient way to listen to music. Due to their low cost and user-friendly interface, paid subscriptions to streaming services contributed over 50% of the recorded music revenue in 2021. The rise of streaming services has significantly impacted the music industry positively and negatively for the artists themselves.


The increasing number of people with access to music streaming services has yielded various benefits. One of these is the ability to support and learn about new artists. The rise of streaming services has opened the door for people to become their own record labels, allowing them to produce music without spending much money. It can also help boost the potential of new artists by making it easier for them to gain a following. Streaming services allow people to access an artist’s entire discography easily. It also links their merchandise and allows them to find upcoming concert information.


The relationship between the music industry and artists has become complicated by the rise of streaming services. Artists can expect to receive around $0.0007 per stream on Spotify, while up to 80% of the revenue goes to their record labels. Apple Music pays artists a small amount per stream. After record labels get their cut, artists make around $0.002 for every stream. 

To compound problems for musicians, certain record labels own shares in streaming services, which makes the relationship between them and artists even more complicated, allowing them to make more money from the services’ revenue. Record labels can also ruin an artist’s career with that much power.

Many artists now choose to become independent instead of signing with a record label. However, this can also create new problems for them, making it harder for them to promote themselves and avoid getting involved in bad contracts.

Due to the lack of remuneration for streaming music services, various initiatives have been launched to encourage change in the industry. One organization working on increasing the royalty payments of streaming services is the Union of American Workers (UMAW). It has launched a campaign called “Justice at Spotify.” The main issue that UMAW is addressing is the company’s royalty-pooling scheme, which it claims is unfair to the artists. It also wants the platform to stop compensating them based on their number of streams. According to the union, this method could benefit the artists who are the biggest stars in the music industry, but it would put them in competition with other artists. UMAW has suggested a user-centric approach to addressing this issue. Instead of calculating the number of streams, an artist has received, the union claims that the platform should pay them flat. The union also wants to see more equal remuneration schemes for the artists. It also demands that Spotify publicizes its interactions with record companies, provides credit lists for all of its recordings, and ends its lobbying and legal actions that are detrimental to the interests of artists.