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4 February 2022, 10:09
If streaming had existed in these classical composers’ lifetimes… would they have actually made any money?
But with the current controversy over how much podcasters are paid compared to artists on Spotify, just how much would these composers have earned from ‘plays’ if the music streaming giant had existed in their time?
Using the estimate figure of $0.0037 (£0.0028) in earnings per stream, and calculating for inflation, the website revealed the following ranking of classical music’s highest paid Spotify composers.
Johann Sebastian Bach tops the list as the most streamed classical composer on Spotify, making him the highest earner.
With 6.7 million monthly listens on Spotify, the late Baroque period composer would have been earning around $300,000 (£219,868.80) per year from these streams alone.
This is a stark contrast to his annual salary of £28,000, which he earned as a school master in Leipzig between 1723 and his death in 1750.
It’s also 180 percent more than Vivaldi, whose salary during his lifetime equated to a meagre £10,200.
Bach’s most listened to work, the ‘Prélude’ from his Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, has been streamed more than 162 million times on Spotify.
Taking the estimate of $0.0037 (£0.0028) and adjusting for inflation, this work would have earned the composer an unbelievable $24.7 million (£18.4 million).
In comparison, Ed Sheeran’s most popular song on Spotify, ‘Shape of You’, made less than half of that, at $10.4 million (£7.7 million).
Chopin almost matches these earnings with a hypothetical $9.6 million (£7.1 million) for his biggest hit, his Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2.
Beethoven’s most popular work on the streaming service, the ‘Adagio’ from his ‘Moonlight’ Sonata No. 14, comes in at a streaming revenue of just under at $8.9 million (£6.6 million).