How Much Does SoundCloud Pay Per Stream?

Understanding the SoundCloud pay per stream is crucial for music artists seeking fair compensation for their music. SoundCloud can help you achieve your goals of making a living off your work. Knowing the workings of the platform’s payment system and how to leverage it can significantly influence your earnings.

Unlike other music streaming services, SoundCloud uses a payment system focused on users. This results in better pay for independent and emerging artists, as fans directly support you. SoundCloud pays artists between $0.0025 and $0.004 per stream. However, the total amount you earn depends on various factors, such as your fans’ listening habits, subscription status, and ad consumption.

This post covers all you need to know about SoundCloud’s pay per stream. Additionally, I share tips to help you maximize your earning potential 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.

How SoundCloud Pays Artists

SoundCloud employs fan-powered royalties to compensate artists. Under this model, you’re rewarded based on your dedicated fans’ listening habits. This means the more time fans spend immersed in your music, the higher the payout.

Fan-powered royalties reflect a personalized approach to compensating artists, aligning with the actual engagement of their fan base. Unlike other top-paying music streaming services, royalties aren’t pooled and distributed to artists on a pro-rata basis.

To qualify for monetization on SoundCloud, you must subscribe to SoundCloud for Artists. Not only can you make money from streams of your tracks, but you also access the following benefits:

  • Unlock revenue through YouTube Content ID, ensuring payment when your music is featured on YouTube.
  • Leverage the promotional toolkit on SoundCloud for Artists, expanding your reach and audience engagement.
  • Gain access to advanced listener statistics and insights, offering valuable data on top listeners, locations, and sources.
  • Showcase credibility with a premium profile badge visible to fans and collaborators, enhancing your online presence.

Artists receive their payments through the selected method on their SoundCloud for Artists dashboard, with balances updated monthly. Payments are automatically deposited when your earnings hit or surpass the $5 US threshold.

Muscian at laptop finding out the SoundCloud pay per stream

How Much Is SoundCloud Pay Per Stream?

SoundCloud’s pay per stream ranges from $0.0025 to $0.004 per stream in monetized regions. This translates to earnings of approximately $2.50 to $4 for every 1000 audio plays.

It's important to note that the actual payout is subject to variability. It’s influenced by factors such as the listener's listening habits and the terms outlined in the agreement between SoundCloud and the rights holders.

Pros & Cons of SoundCloud's Payment Structure


  • Fairness and transparency: The system prioritizes equal revenue distribution, focusing on your actual listener engagement rather than favoring only the most popular artists.
  • Benefit for smaller artists: Smaller and mid-tier artists with dedicated fan bases stand to gain more through SoundCloud’s fan-powered royalties. This offers a potential boost in earnings compared to traditional pro rata approaches.
  • Direct support from fans: Aligned with the concept of ‘true fans,’ this system enables you to receive direct support from your audience. Therefore, it’s more of a sustainable income model.


  • Limited availability: Fan-powered royalties are exclusive to artists enrolled in SoundCloud for Artists, limiting its accessibility across the platform.
  • Revenue Share: While artists receive 55% of the generated revenue, SoundCloud retains a portion, impacting the overall earnings for artists using this system.
  • Uncertainty: The long-term impact and benefits for artists remain uncertain, as the fan-powered royalties model is still considered experimental. This introduces an element of unpredictability into its effectiveness.

Factors Influencing Royalty Payment Rates

Fans’ Listening Behavior & Subscription

Your SoundCloud pay per stream earnings are tied to how much time fans dedicate to your music. However, the total money you generate depends on the following factors:

  • Listening habits: The primary factor influencing your payout is the proportion of a fan's overall listening time devoted to your music within a specific month. Therefore, it’s crucial to have consistent and engaging content to capture and retain listeners.
  • Ad consumption: Another element is the number of advertisements a fan consumes while enjoying music on SoundCloud. The revenue generated from ads contributes to the overall pool distributed among artists. Therefore, fan engagement with ads is a notable factor in your earnings.
  • Subscription status: Whether a fan is paying for a subscription to SoundCloud Go+ also plays a pivotal role. Subscribers often enjoy an ad-free experience and additional perks while financially supporting artists. You may find that subscribers contribute differently compared to non-subscribers.

Understanding these factors provides you with insights into the nuances of SoundCloud's royalty system. Fans interact with SoundCloud in diverse ways, whether through subscriptions or ad-supported listening. And this contributes to a deep understanding of the financial dynamics at play within the platform's ecosystem.

SoundCloud and Rights Holders’ Agreements

SoundCloud’s pay per stream is intricately tied to its agreements with major labels and other rights holders in the music industry. These agreements encompass both recorded music and publishing entities.

The impact of these agreements extends beyond the payment structure, influencing the value assigned to each play on SoundCloud. This value isn’t uniform globally, and it depends on various factors, including the following:

  • Country-specific economic conditions
  • The prevailing premium subscription prices
  • Advertising revenue in a particular location

By embracing the power of ads, you can actively participate in SoundCloud's revenue scheme. And this will open up avenues to maximize your earning potential on the platform.

Tips for Maximizing Earnings on Soundcloud

Although various factors dictate your SoundCloud pay per stream, there are ways to influence how much you take home.

Utilize Ads

Digital content creators, including those on SoundCloud, can boost their earnings through sponsorships and paid advertisements. You can capitalize on this privilege, allowing you to increase your SoundCloud pay per stream.

Non-subscriber users who want to listen to your music will encounter a brief advertisement at the beginning of the song. And SoundCloud ensures that a share of the ad revenue goes to you. This is a seamless way to earn additional income, particularly if you already have a solid follower base.

Additionally, if an embedded track features an audio ad at the outset, the track owner becomes eligible to participate in SoundCloud's revenue program. This adds another layer of potential earnings for artists leveraging the platform.

By embracing the power of ads, you can actively participate in SoundCloud's revenue scheme. And this will open up avenues to maximize your earning potential on the platform.

Stay Active With Fresh Content

Since SoundCloud offers users access to many songs, they will likely explore various artists. As a result, the risk of fading into obscurity is exceptionally high for newcomers to the industry who haven't established a recognizable name.

So, maintaining an active release strategy is crucial to boost your presence on SoundCloud and enhance your play count. However, this doesn't imply churning out music relentlessly, risking the loss of your unique style and enjoyment in the process.

Instead, diversify your releases with alternative content. This includes cover songs, remixes, one-off collaborations, live recordings, and alternate versions of your original tracks.

That approach not only keeps your fans engaged but also attracts new listeners. Therefore, incorporating various content ensures a steady flow of releases without succumbing to the pressures of constant music production.

Also, this strategy demonstrates your commitment to delivering fresh and diverse music to your audience. Over time, this dedication can contribute to a gradual increase in your SoundCloud plays.

Remember, the goal is frequent releases and a thoughtful mix that maintains interest and captivates a broader audience.

Expand Your Promotional Channels

Maximizing your social media reach is a powerful strategy for enhancing your SoundCloud pay per stream. Rather than seeking attention directly on the platform, encourage your existing social media audiences to play your tracks on SoundCloud.

As your dedicated fans engage, it can trigger interest from a broader user base, potentially elevating your track's visibility. To achieve this, strategically share your SoundCloud URL across popular networks like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

That approach drives traffic to your content, expanding your online presence and creating opportunities to enhance visibility and sales. Alternatively, you can create TikTok or Instagram Reels showcasing song snippets, directing viewers to stream the full version on SoundCloud.

You can also take it further by sharing your SoundCloud releases in musician-focused Facebook groups. Or use Twitter to share updates about your latest single, EP, or album.

Engaging in social media promotion helps establish credibility and contributes to increased streams, potentially impacting SoundCloud payouts. Therefore, consider initiating a digital marketing campaign and actively interacting with fans on multiple social platforms to cultivate a thriving fan base.

Musician working out the soundcloud pay per stream

Engage With Listeners Directly

Fostering connections with your audience significantly impacts your SoundCloud pay per stream. Since the platform employs a fan-powered royalties system, your earnings are tied directly to the listening habits of your dedicated fan base.

The more committed listeners engage with your music, the higher your pay per stream. Therefore, active participation and direct interaction with fans are pivotal in cultivating a loyal following.

Building a dedicated fan base also enhances your presence on SoundCloud. As a result, leverage the comments section. Use this space to welcome feedback on your work and provide updates on upcoming projects. You create a supportive community around your music by keeping your listeners informed and involved.

Also, establish a strong rapport with your audience by directly interacting with them to foster a sense of connection. Reply to comments and messages as soon as possible and maintain the conversation where you see fit.

Analyze Your Analytics

Another strategy to maximize your SoundCloud pay per stream is to monitor your analytics. With a SoundCloud for Artists account, you have access to advanced analytics such as:

  • Top listeners: Identify your most devoted fans, allowing you to connect directly with them and seek their opinions on your music.
  • Top countries and cities: Gain insights into the geographical locations of your most extensive fan base. Utilize this information to tailor marketing strategies to regions where your music is well-received and identify potential locations for successful gigs.
  • Websites: Analyze the platforms driving the highest traffic to your SoundCloud profile. Use this data to streamline your marketing efforts, focusing on the most effective social platforms for reaching your audience and expanding your online presence.

Delving into those analytics unveils valuable insights into your audience's preferences, listening habits, and global locations. This analytical approach is a powerful tool for tailoring your music promotion strategy to reach the most receptive audience.

Moreover, this valuable information enables you to curate targeted recommendations for your audience. This ensures your tracks find their way into playlists and gain the attention they deserve.

In essence, a data-driven approach empowers you to understand your audience better. However, it also allows you to fine-tune your promotional efforts, increasing the likelihood of resonating with the right listeners.

Wrapping Up

Exploring SoundCloud’s pay per stream sheds light on the platform's commitment to artist-centric compensation. By implementing fan-powered royalties, you can benefit from fairer earnings that depend on the duration of your tracks listeners tune into.

Similar to the diversity in songwriting approaches, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to artist earnings on SoundCloud. The factors influencing payment rates, from user subscription to listener engagement, emphasize the dynamic nature of the platform.

As a result, a strategic approach to SoundCloud ensures you maximize your earnings. So, whether you're a techno DJ or a lyrical maestro, the essence lies in crafting tracks that induce emotions and keep your audience engaged.

Furthermore, diversifying your income streams is crucial. Although SoundCloud’s payouts can be significant, there are additional avenues for musicians. For instance, opting for TV shows and commercials to feature your tracks can be lucrative.

To navigate this process successfully, consider partnering with established music publishers such as Sugo Music Group. They boast over 35 years of industry expertise and specialize in worldwide song publication. And they ensure your creations are recognized and compensated appropriately through earned royalties.

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

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