Spotify and Apple Music (and other streaming services like them) are great ways to listen to tons of music from a vast library of artists.
But while it might be great for you, the customer, how good a deal is it for the artists whose work you’re listening to?
If you want to make sure you support your favorite artists so they can keep making the music you love, you might wonder if playing their songs on repeat will help them out or not.
Well, wonder no more, because today we’re going to take a close look at answering exactly that question!
Here’s How Spotify and Apple Music Pay Artists Per Play:
Apple Music and Spotify both pay artists per stream. Spotify pays artists between $0.00331 and $0.00437 per stream of 30 seconds or more. Apple Music calculates royalties on a stream share basis, but individual plays still have a value, paying about $0.01 per stream.
Do Songs on Repeat Count as Multiple Plays?
If you play a song and hit the repeat button, every time the song starts over again, a new play should be counted.
On Spotify, you have to play the song for at least 30 seconds to count, so when the song starts again and hits the 30-second mark, another play is counted.
Apple Music doesn’t disclose how long you have to listen for a play to count, but it’s reasonable to assume it’s probably similar.
The important caveat here is that if either streaming service suspects fraudulent activity, they won’t count the plays.
If you’re actually listening to the song over and over again, you probably don’t need to worry about that.
However, if it looks like you’re playing it an “unnatural” amount of times, such as if you hit repeat and go to bed, there might be a problem, but more on that in a bit.
Do Artists Make More Money When Their Songs Are Played on Repeat?
Artists on both platforms are paid for every time their music is played.
Since plays on repeat still count as plays, playing a song on repeat should get the artist more plays and, thus, more money.
However, it’s an incredibly small amount of money per play, at around a penny per play on Apple Music, and a third of a cent on Spotify.
And that’s before the record label gets its cut; the actual artist will see only a fraction of that already fractional amount of money.
All that being said, playing their songs over and over again will get the artist more money, just not necessarily very much more money, since both of these services underpay artists.
What if I Let an Album Play all Night on Repeat?
This certainly sounds like a great way to support your favorite artists, doesn’t it?
After all, it costs you nothing to hit repeat and go to bed, and those fractions of pennies could add up over lots and lots of plays, especially if many listeners adopt this practice at the same time.
Sadly, however, there could be a problem with this plan.
Both Apple Music and Spotify do their best to spot fraudulent activity and will remove any plays from an artist’s account if they’re suspected to be fraudulent in nature.
Click farms are a practice that exist to artificially generate revenue through any means that involves repeatedly clicking on something, interacting with advertisements, and so on.
And click farms for Spotify and Apple Music songs definitely exist, attempting to funnel support to artists by artificially inflating their stream counts.
Now, you’re not necessarily committing fraud by hitting repeat on your home computer and going to sleep, but your account might look suspiciously like a click farm when you do so.
As a result, there’s a chance for your Spotify account to be banned, and for all the contributions you’ve made to your favorite artists’ stream counts to be erased.
So to be on the safe side, it’s probably best that you limit your listening to when you’re actually listening.
The good news is that if you really like an artist and their music, this shouldn’t be hard to do: just keep listening to them often like you already would anyway!
Do Spotify and Apple Music Count Songs Played on Mute?
Neither platform outright states anywhere (that we could find) whether or not muted plays count as plays for the purposes of generating artist revenue.
As such, we can’t be 100% sure, but from what we could gather, the answer is: probably.
It’s still a listening activity, even if the audio is muted, so it should still count.
However, to be on the safe side, you’d be better off muting through your system volume or volume mixer, rather than in the app itself, so it’s harder for the app to detect that it’s been muted.
Does Listening to Songs Offline Count as Plays?
Naturally, when you listen offline, nothing will happen right away in terms of the artist’s stream count, because you’re not connected to the internet at the time you’re listening.
However, your listens are still tracked, and the next time you are online, the numbers should be synchronized and updated over the internet.
So you won’t be helping your favorite artist get paid right away when you listen offline, but it should still contribute the next time you’re online and the numbers are updated.
Can you Check how Many Times you Played an Artist?
We’re not aware of any feature that specifically tells you how many times you’ve played content by a specific artist.
However, there are ways on both platforms to see how many times you’ve played specific songs.
Spotify has no built-in analytics feature for this purpose, but you can still track it yourself if you link your Spotify account to last.fm.
Last.fm will let you track the number of listens from your Spotify account, in addition to several other features.
When it comes to Apple Music, there actually is an analytics tool built-in.
In the Apple Music or iTunes app, simply right-click a song, and you should be able to select “get info” to see, among other things, how many times you’ve played the track.
How can I Best Support Artists on Spotify and Apple Music?
The best way to support artists through Spotify, Apple Music, or any other streaming service where you find them is simply to listen to their music.
The more you listen, the more they get paid, as long as you don’t go overboard and make either service suspect you of fraudulent activity.
However, if you really want to support your favorite artists, the best way is to do so outside of streaming services, which pay artists very little.
That’s not to say you should stop streaming music altogether, but you might consider buying your favorite artists’ albums in addition to listening on your favorite streaming service.