Apple Music sent a letter to artists and labels on Friday claiming that it now pays double the rate of Spotify per stream. This news comes as artists around the globe—financially crippled by the loss of touring income—continue their calls for higher royalty rates on streaming platforms.
According to figures from 2020 obtained by NME, Spotify US paid $0.00437 per stream on average while Apple Music paid $0.00735 on average. Now, Apple Music claims to have raised its rates to one cent per stream across the board. The letter, which was also published on the platform’s artist dashboard page, also added that rates can vary according to subscription plans and the country in which the user is listening.
“As the discussion about streaming royalties continues, we believe it is important to share our values,” Apple Music said in the letter. “We believe in paying every creator the same rate, that a play has a value, and that creators should never have to pay [for their music to be promoted by Apple].”
While increased streaming rates are welcomed news, the issue remains that Spotify dwarfs Apple Music in terms of subscribers. Spotify is the world’s largest streaming platform and hosts 155 million paid subscribers and 345 million users overall. Meanwhile, Apple Music last confirmed its subscriptions at 60 million users in June 2019, but industry figures show that the number is now closer to 72 million. Apple Music also noted that 52% of subscription revenue is paid to record labels.
This latest announcement from Apple Music comes amid continued fallout against Spotify. For years, publishers and labels had demanded more streaming royalties per play on the site, calls that were only amplified by the live music shutdown. In response, Spotify last month launched a new website called “Loud & Clear” that was intended to provide transparency in how the platform attributes and distributes royalties.
The move was immediately assailed by critics as a thin attempt at gaslighting by the platform as it tried to convince artists it was their fault they weren’t making enough money. This observation is not totally out of line for Spotify, as the company’s CEO Daniel Ek penned a controversial op-ed last year that claimed, among other things, it’s “not enough” for artists to release music “every three to four years.”