Calvin Harris becomes first British musician to reach 1bn Spotify streams

Scottish DJ earns more than £4m for his music

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The Independent Culture

Spotify might pay peanuts for each song play, but they certainly all add up for Calvin Harris, who has generated £4m in royalties after becoming the first British artist to clock up more than one billion streams on the music platform.

The Scottish DJ is the most streamed British solo artist in the history of the Swedish music platform, which now has more than 10 million paying subscribers.

The prolific Harris, who earned $66m (£39.6m) last year, having gone from supermarket shelf-stacker to the world's top-earning DJ, is a winner from music streaming.

His number one hits, including We Found Love with Rihanna, have been played 1bn times on Spotify, which disclosed a per-stream royalty rate of $0.007. Harris has generated around $7 million (£4.34m) but he will not be pocketing all the cash himself.

The revenue he earns depends on the split he has negotiated with his record label, Columbia. Harris is also noted for working with collaborators on his most popular songs, who will also have a stake in the monies earned.

 

Summer is the most streamed Calvin Harris track on Spotify, with over 160m streams worldwide. But the musician, 30, will still have earned more from selling millions of iTunes downloads of songs from his 2012 collection 18 Months, which was the first album in history to have nine top 10 UK singles. We Found Love alone has sold 11m copies worldwide.

Last week, UK album sales totalled just 1.18m, the lowest figure for 19 years, a crash partly explained by the popularity of streaming, which favours single tracks, as users compile playlists of their favourite songs.

Artists without Harris’ mass appeal have seen their royalties collapse due to the decline of physical and now download album sales, with new and emerging acts finding it harder to sustain a career.

But Spotify, which distributes 70 per cent of its revenues to rights holders, maintains that all musicians will benefit as streaming becomes the predominant form of music consumption and artists negotiate better deals with their record companies.

Mark Terry, co-president of Columbia Records UK, said: “This is a landmark achievement for Calvin and deserved recognition that he is in the elite tier of global artists. His recent level of success has been extraordinary and something that all of us here at Columbia are very proud to be part of.”

Steve Savoca, Spotify’s vice-president of content and distribution, said: “We would like to congratulate Calvin Harris on reaching the huge milestone of a billion streams on Spotify, conclusive proof if any were needed that he is one of the most popular artists on Spotify.”

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