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See How Much Every Top Artist Makes on Spotify

Nov 18, 2014

Taylor Swift's recent decision to yank her music off of Spotify, the online music streaming service used by more than 50 million people, has become the latest episode in the battle over the music industry's diminishing profits.

One central mystery in the drama: just how much do artists make when their songs are played on the service? We used Spotify's stated payout range - $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream - to calculate how much the top 50 songs streamed globally earned artists in 2014. See the bar charts below for each song. The payout range represents the top and bottom figures for each song as described by Spotify's latest publicly available formula.

Spotify provided its "per stream" range in 2013 in an attempt to satisfy curiosity about the company's royalties formula, which factors in total revenue made by Spotify and total streams across the site, both unavailable to the public. Regardless of the exact per stream payout each month, Swift's chart-topping single "Shake It Off" earned more than any other song in October. But having spent only 7 weeks on Spotify, Swift's single can't compete with the top 20 best-paying songs from the first 10 months of 2014, like Calvin Harris's "Summer," which could have netted the Scottish singer $1.7 million.

Spotify's CEO Daniel Ek has said that since the company was founded in 2008 it has paid out $2 billion to record labels and publishers, half of that total in the last year alone. In a recent blog post, he said that an artist of Swift's size could earn $6 million by streaming her music on Spotify in the past year.

When contacted by TIME last week, a Spotify spokesperson said Swift had earned $2 million off global streaming of her music in the past year. Swift's record label, Nashville-based Big Machine, said last week that it had received exactly $496,044 for domestic streaming of Swift's music over the past 12 months.

While few are going to fear that Swift is about to go begging, the fact that the country's best-selling artist believes Spotify devalues her work could have a major influence on whether other artists stick with the service.

" I’m always up for trying something," Swift told TIME about joining Spotify. "And I tried it and I didn’t like the way it felt. I think there should be an inherent value placed on art. I didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when I put my music on Spotify. Everybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things."

Read Taylor Swift's interview with TIME.

Read more about Taylor Swift's Spotify paycheck mystery.

PHOTOS: See Taylor Swift Over the Years

2006 CMT Music Awards - Arrivals
Taylor Swift arrives at the 2006 CMT Music Awards at the Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.John Shearer—WireImage/Getty Images
2006 CMT Music Awards - Arrivals
2007 CMT Music Awards - Red Carpet
42nd Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards - Show
2008 ACM New Artists Party For A Cause
Taylor Swift and Michelle Williams Visit MTV's "TRL" - June 16, 2008
The 42nd Annual CMA Awards - Arrivals
CNN Heroes "An All-Star Tribute" 2008
Saturday Night Live
The Brit Awards 2009 - Arrivals
44th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards All-Star Jam
Taylor Swift in Concert
2009 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals
The 43rd Annual CMA Awards - Show
The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards - Show
Taylor Swift drops one of her awards dur
Taylor Swift 13 hours on the 13th. & some songs
Grand Ole Opry 85th Birthday Bash
44th Annual CMA Awards - Show
taylor Swift attends the 'Alexander McQu
2012 MTV Video Music Awards - Show
BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards - Show
BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards - Show
Taylor Swift Switches On Westfield London Christmas Lights
26th Annual ARIA Awards 2012 - Arrivals
26th Annual ARIA Awards 2012 - Show
KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2012 - Night 1 - Show
Taylor Swift At Gillette Stadium
2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - Show
Taylor Swift Lives In Shanghai
2014 American Music Awards - Show
2014 American Music Awards - Roaming Show
The Voice - Season 7
2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - Show
KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2014  Powered by LINE  - Show
Taylor Swift arrives at the 2006 CMT Music Awards at the Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee
... VIEW MORE

John Shearer—WireImage/Getty Images
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