Streaming: mean, scary, and...profitable?

Angry celebrities, restless investors, draconian media. Man, streaming services just can't catch a break! 

We wanted to get a sense for just how valuable streaming can be for young artists and for their potential investors (e.g. on our artist funding platform). Here's what we did:

  • We picked a bunch of artists who are starting to catch a real break. Solid artists who have been around for 3-5 years, but by no means household names. Ever heard of Unknown Mortal Ochestra? Maybe if you're in with the really cool kids, but definitely not if you're a 40 year old guy with a healthy checkbook (and we need more of those in the industry!) 
  • We went back 5 years (or less, for some of the younger acts) using Spotify as the only platform, counted up all the streams, and estimated the earnings using some commonly-used benchmarks converting streams to $
  • We simulated the average investment deal we see on our platform for artists at a similar stage of development and calculated what the returns to those early investors could be from Spotify streaming alone. Here's what we found:


Is this analysis flawed? Yes, but in both direction. Perhaps it is absurdly self-serving if our artist sample set is not very representative. On the other hand, this is ridiculously conservative as it excludes any income from the various other income streams artists have (live music, video streaming, TV/film placements, merchandising, downloads, etc).

Bottom line: whether you're an artist or a potential investor in artists, don't write off a healthy source of income.

P.S. If anyone is curious about the inputs we used, just reach out!