Announced as part of a wider release about summer hits on the service – Harris beat Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea’s Problem to top spot on Spotify’s chart – the feat becomes more interesting when you dig in to how much money Summer’s streams made for Harris.
The short answer: nobody knows, because the exact amount will depend on the terms of his label and publishing contracts. But we can at least calculate roughly how much those rightsholders were paid for streams of the song.
Spotify published its royalty payouts formula in 2013, including the claim that its average “per stream” payout is between $0.006 and $0.0084. Those figures cover payments to labels, publishers and distributors, who then pass them on to artists and songwriters.
According to the stats shown on his Spotify profile, Harris’ Summer has been played 160,753,376 times, at the time of writing. That means a payout of between $964k and $1.35m so far. Or, if you take the mid-point between the two per-stream amounts: around $1.16m (around £706k).
It’s a million-dollar hit on Spotify, at least, since these figures don’t include payments for streams of the track on YouTube (42.7m plays of the audio-only version and another 189.1m of the actual video) or other streaming services. Global download sales of Summer are unknown.
Only Harris will know how much of Summer’s streaming payout comes through to him, and even he won’t know for a while, since royalty payments don’t tend to zip through the music industry system at a rollercoaster pace.
These calculations don’t prove the arguments of Spotify’s keenest supporters or fiercest foes regarding streaming’s pros and cons for musicians: you could spin the figures either way, depending on your existing view.
But the numbers are an insight into the scale of payouts for the biggest hits on this particular streaming service – although Summer has a way to go to catch up with Avicii’s Wake Me Up, which with 277.1m streams so far remains the biggest hit on Spotify.
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