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New data shows 90% of streams go to just 1% of artists

14 September 2020 | 1:10 pm | Emma Jones

New data has put music streaming services in an even harsher light, revealing how few artists are actually getting significant streams on platforms.

New data has emerged showing a deep gap between different tiers of artists when it comes to streaming services. According to DJ Mag and Rolling Stone, research conducted by analytics company Alpha Data has revealed that 90% of streams go to the top 1% of artists.

According to the report, a whopping 1.6million artists have released music onto streaming services over the past year. However, "nine in ten tracks played were made by just 16,000 top tier artists," DJ Mag said. Furthermore, almost half of the artists on platforms received less than 100 plays.

This news is the latest in a renewed focus on issues related to how much artists make from streaming services in the wake of COVID-19 decimating artists' preliminary source of income — live shows and tours. In May, Musicians Union members have reported more than £21 million in lost income since the COVID-19 lockdown began, while in April, it was revealed just how many streams is required for an artist to make up an hour of the UK minimum wage (spoiler alert: A LOT).

If you are looking for a way to directly support the artists you love in These Unprecedented Times, a more beneficial way would be to purchase their records via Bandcamp. Not only does the music retailer give 80% of the sale direct to the artist or label, they have also stepped up in a big way by pausing their fees altogether for a full 24 hour period once a month, and they've done this every single month since the pandemic was declared and will continue to do so for the rest of the year. Bandcamp Fridays have been overwhelmingly successful, with fans spending millions of dollars on the website each and every month. A good way to remember this is that it's the first Friday of every month, but if you want to double check, this handy little website is for you.

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Read the full stories on DJ Mag and Rolling Stone.

Words by Emma Jones

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