What Does Apple Music Pay Per Stream?

Chances are you’ve made your music available on all major music streaming platforms and you’re wondering: What does Apple Music pay per stream? After all, knowing how much you may earn can help you draw up your marketing and music release strategies.

Apple Music uses a pro-rata model to pay artists. However, unlike other music streaming platforms, it pays all labels a consistent 52% headline rate. As a result, independent artists aren’t at a disadvantage when it comes to how much they earn from Apple Music. The average pay is $0.01 per stream, with various factors like listener geographic location influencing the exact rate.

This post is your guide to Apple Music’s pay per stream. I will also walk you through strategies you can use to grow your streams and, consequently, boost your royalties.

Please note: Our numbers are based on sales in the US market. Other global markets could influence the average royalty payment rate received.

How Does Apple Music Pay Artists?

Major music streaming platforms like Apple Music operate on a pro-rata model. This means they distribute royalties based on the platform’s total streaming earnings.

According to Apple Music, it pays a consistent 52% headline rate to all labels. As a result, whether you’re signed to a label or not, you will receive the same amount regardless.

Additionally, the platform pays every publisher and licensor the same headline rate within each country. However, specific percentage details aren’t disclosed.

To receive royalties from Apple Music, meeting specific criteria is crucial. Firstly, you must provide all necessary tax and banking information.

It's also important to consider the minimum payout threshold Apple Music sets based on your country. A standard $40 minimum payment threshold is applied for countries or territories not listed. Bear in mind that your cumulative amount owed should exceed the minimum payout amount.

Payments from Apple Music are made within 30 days of the end of their fiscal month. When viewing the Payments and Financial Reports, you may notice a date. However, that is not the date you’ll receive your earnings.

Therefore, you should be aware of that distinction to manage expectations regarding payment timing. Adhering to these guidelines and being mindful of the stipulated thresholds and timelines is essential for receiving royalties from Apple Music.

What Does Apple Music Pay Per Stream?

Singer in recording studio for Apple Music pay per stream article

Apple Music is a music streaming service, so artists are paid per stream and not per download. The average pay is $0.01 per stream, which ranks the platform among the top 5 highest paying music streaming platforms.

However, Apple Music’s pay per stream rate applies to its individual paid plans. And it excludes discounted bundles like the $16.99-per-month Family subscription and the $19.95-per-month Apple One subscription.

Given that rate, you can estimate your royalty payment without an Apple Music pay per stream calculator. Simply multiply the average per-play rate of $0.01 by the total number of streams in a specific month.

For example, if your album garners 100K streams, you’ll earn $1000. And if it gets 1 million streams, your royalties are $10,000.

You can also use an Apple Music royalties calculator to estimate your earnings. However, the calculator may not give an exact figure because of the various factors involved in calculating artist royalties.

Furthermore, not every time a listener plays your song is counted as a stream. Apple Music counts plays over 30 seconds as streams. And they also consider whether the track is played on Apple Music radio or in your playlist.

Factors Influencing Apple Music Royalties

Although Apple Music pays $0.01 per stream on average, the following factors can cause the amount to fluctuate.

Your Listeners’ Country or Region

Apple Music’s pay per stream is influenced by your listener’s geographic location, similar to Spotify. In over 167 countries, regions, and territories where Apple Music operates, users pay varying amounts for streaming music on the platform.

As a result, artists are exposed to varying pay-per-stream rates. You will likely receive a higher royalty rate when your music is streamed in wealthier countries. However, countries with lower subscription prices lead to lower earnings per stream.

Therefore, understanding the global distribution of your listener base is crucial, as it directly impacts the financial returns for artists on Apple Music.

Your Listeners’ Subscription Plan

Another factor influencing your Apple Music pay per stream is your listeners’ subscription plan. Apple Music provides various subscription plans for music streaming. A free trial option allows users to stream music without ads. However, a monthly fee is required for an ad-free experience through a paid subscription, which includes:

  • $5.99 for the student plan
  • $10.99 for the individual plan
  • $16.99 for the family plan
  • $19.95 for Apple One

So why does this matter for your royalties? The more listeners opt for a paid subscription plan, the higher your average Apple Music pay per stream rate.

Tips for Artists to Boost Apple Music Streams

You may be thinking about the potential to earn significant Apple Music royalties. That’s possible. However, since your earnings are tied to your songs' streams, you should focus on boosting plays. Below are some strategies you can use to increase your streams.

Collaborations with like-minded artists present a valuable opportunity to broaden your fan base. By cross-promoting music, you attract new audiences. The synergy between artists with similar or complementary styles can also increase visibility and streams on Apple Music.

Upload Music Consistently

Consistently uploading music is crucial to maintaining audience engagement and increasing your chances of being discovered by new listeners. Regular releases prevent fans from forgetting about you and contribute to a well-marketed release schedule.

To remain consistent, you can create various formats of your tracks, from remixes and covers to live music recordings and extended mixes. This approach allows you to experiment with your sound and try different styles. Plus, you won’t have to create brand-new material just for consistency.

Consistent and varied releases foster increased engagement and a stronger connection with your audience. This can lead to more streams, which may influence your overall Apple Music pay per stream.

Releasing music consistently also builds momentum for larger events, such as tours or album launches. You can use each release to hype up these events on social media, involving fans and offering incentives for streaming. This creates a team of supporters ready to share the excitement when the big day arrives.

If you aim to get your music featured in movies, commercials, and TV shows, having a substantial catalog may increase your chances. Crafting universal songs that are relatable enhances the likelihood of selection for various opportunities. Once one song is featured, it boosts the chances of other tracks being chosen for additional sync opportunities.

When you’re ready to take that step, work with a music publisher like Sugo Music Group. Over the past three decades, they have built an extensive publishing network of direct licensing, performance rights organizations, synchronization, and mechanical societies. And they ensure artists receive the royalties and quality control management they deserve.

Consistency is crucial across all platforms, whether improving skills or releasing music. Regular music releases generate more traction, with fan interaction growing alongside the artist's output. The expectation of new content every week adds excitement for fans.

Customize Social Media Posts

Customizing social media posts entails crafting content that mirrors your distinct style, values, and narrative components. This customization involves:

  • Using consistent color schemes
  • Narrating stories related to your creative process
  • Showcasing the underlying values guiding your artistic work

The objective is to establish a unified and identifiable brand. This will make it easier for potential followers and fans to discover and connect with your brand and music.

Integrating those elements into your social media presence allows you to stand out in the competitive online space. You can also foster loyalty and fortify your online presence. Ultimately, creating visually appealing and captivating posts is a strategic tool for artists.

Utilize Paid Advertising

Another way to boost plays and your Apple Music pay per stream is through paid advertising. Since social media has a widespread reach, you can leverage it to engage potential listeners and drive them towards your music content.

You can create Facebook ads to execute targeted ad campaigns that lead to your songs on Apple Music. By tailoring advertisements to specific audiences, you can boost your stream counts and overall visibility on the platform.

Pay Attention to Your Analytics

Monitoring analytics through Apple Music for Artists is essential for artists aiming to enhance their streaming numbers and increase visibility on the platform. Access to those valuable insights enables you to understand your audience, customize promotional efforts, and make informed decisions regarding marketing and release strategies.

Through the platform, you can monitor the performance of your songs, albums, playlists, and Shazams. This can help you understand where and how listeners discover your music on Apple Music.

Furthermore, you can measure audience engagement by evaluating how fans react to each song, album, or playlist. This includes identifying the most-played songs and obtaining an overview of overall music performance.

Analyzing performance data also allows you to identify trends and patterns in audience listening habits. This includes recognizing popular songs in specific regions or demographics. And uncovering pockets of popularity worldwide that were previously unknown.

These insights can help you make well-informed decisions, contributing to the refinement of both your music and marketing strategies. And as you leverage these insights, you can boost your Apple Music streams.

Female musician/producer in studio for Apple Music pay per stream article

Get Creative About Increasing Your Exposure

To boost your Apple Music pay per stream, you must enhance your exposure and streaming performance. Creative thinking can help you achieve this a great deal.

Collaborations with like-minded artists present a valuable opportunity to broaden your fan base. By cross-promoting music, you attract new audiences. The synergy between artists with similar or complementary styles can also increase visibility and streams on Apple Music.

Optimizing metadata is another crucial aspect of success on the platform. Accurate and well-optimized metadata, including titles, descriptions, and tags, significantly enhances the discoverability of your music.

This optimization ensures that your music appears in relevant searches and recommendations, ultimately increasing the likelihood of attracting more streams.

Running contests and giveaways is a strategic way to motivate listeners to share your music. They can also expand your visibility and stream numbers through word-of-mouth promotion. 

Promote Your Music Off-Platform

Another way to boost your streams on Apple Music is to engage your existing audiences. Although Apple Music has a vast user base of roughly 80 million, a lot more people could discover your music.

One strategy is cross-platform promotion. This involves marketing your tracks on social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook. Create posts on these platforms directing users to stream your tracks on social media. Don’t forget to incorporate storytelling to foster better engagement.

Alternatively, host virtual concerts or live streams on social media. These tools can help you generate excitement and engagement among viewers. And they can enhance your visibility and contribute to increased streams.

Be Persistent and Patient

Achieving success on Apple Music requires a patient and persistent approach. Building a substantial presence on the platform and increasing streams demands consistent promotional efforts, profile optimization, and active audience engagement.

Therefore, focus on gradually enhancing your visibility through various strategies. By embracing patience and persistence, you can see a gradual but sustainable increase in streams, ultimately reaching a broader audience on Apple Music.


Knowing how much a music streaming platform pays can help you plan your marketing and song release strategies. This knowledge allows you to understand the impact of streaming performance on your revenue and make informed decisions about your promotional efforts.

Apple Music’s pay per stream is $0.01 on average. However, it can fluctuate based on your listener’s geographic location and subscription plan. Therefore, it can be difficult to estimate your royalties, even with an Apple Music pay per stream calculator.

As a result, instead of focusing on your exact earnings, commit to growing your streams. You can do so by uploading music consistently and promoting your tracks off-platform.

Remember to monitor your analytics to determine what’s working and what isn’t. The insights in Apple Music for Artists can be super helpful in informing your marketing strategy and enhancing your visibility on the platform.

Please note: Our numbers are based on sales in the US market. Other global markets could influence the average royalty payment rate received.

Leave a comment

Contact Info

80 Cabrillo Highway, Suite Q429, Half Moon Bay, CA, USA
E-Mail: [email protected]
Web: https://sugomusic.com

© Sugo Music Group, a division of Soundlink Entertainment, LLC