The Atlantic has an article titled “Why Spotify Doesn’t Make Sense for Musicians: 70,000 Listens Earns Less Than $300“. From the article:
Zoë Keating, a cellist, composer, and occasional Radiolab guest, has released into a public Google Doc how much money she made from Spotify between October 2011 and March 2012. Spotify pays per listen, so every time someone plays one of Keating’s songs on the service, she earns a tiny chunk of money.
Between October and March, Keating’s songs were played 72,800 times on Spotify.
For all those listens — those hours upon hours of music — she earned $281.87. Every time someone listened to one of her songs, she made, on average, three thousandths of a cent.
The article goes on to point out the significant difference between Spotify and I-Tunes:
Unlike Spotify, iTunes doesn’t require that artists work through a CD Baby-like label, and Keating sells some of her music there by herself. During the same period of time — October 2011 to March 2012 — Zoë Keating made, from iTunes, after CD Baby took its cut, $46,477.77.