Well, for this article I’ll be using the number one ranking service in the world, Spotify.
For every month the average user of Spotify listened to over 4.7 million streams of music, which means that on average they paid around £5 per year.
It sounds a bit expensive, but with the premium accounts you can access Spotify’s ad-supported service so you can tune-in just for the ads that appear on top of your actual playlists.
It’s a pretty good deal for most users but what’s not clear to me is the cost to pay Spotify for how many streams they actually get.
So, I set out to find out if I could actually calculate Spotify’s cost per 1,000 stream, or more specifically whether Spotify paid to be listed in the top spot on the UK charts.
A quick head-to-head comparison between Spotify and RIAA
The reason I didn’t write the above data was because I’m a big fan both services and I’d be the first to admit that RIAA pays me a small fortune to list their music on there as well so I’m not going to put RIAA’s money where my mouth is:
But I did manage to put some figures together for an interesting comparison and they’re pretty interesting.
The bottom line of the RIAA vs. Spotify comparison is that on Spotify you actually get paid to listen to more songs than you do for your money.
To be clear this was to do with the chart of average song length between both services.
Because they don’t pay for the charts, Spotify have an advantage if they can show something a little longer than others so they can pay up.
But there are more subtle differences where Spotify’s streaming engine does what it does to save bandwidth by streaming a greater number of songs in one take.
For one, for every 500 streams of the top 100 songs on both services, the network allocates a few kilobytes of extra bandwidth for streaming to a wider audience.
If you’re a top 10 artist on Spotify you get 100k streams in a month whereas on RIAA you get 25,000 streams, which puts you ahead of Spotify for the top spot.
This explains why Spotify is getting more attention on the charts than RIAA is, but it doesn’t affect the actual stream numbers.
So, with all this in mind, we want to dig a little deeper