Australian and New Zealand artists earned $62 million in royalties from streaming in the year to date, a 127 per cent increase, according to APRA AMCOS, the body responsible for distributing money to artists for use of their work on radio and television and on digital platforms.
"The prime driver for that is the growth in the number of subscribers," Richard Mallett, head of revenue at APRA AMCOS, said.
The organisation estimates 4 million people in Australia and New Zealand now subscribe to a streaming service — about one in eight Australians — paying a monthly fee to platforms like Spotify and Apple Music for access to music.
That number continues to grow, mirroring subscriber growth internationally. Worldwide, there are 100 million paid subscribers, and about the same number who use a more basic version of those platforms for free.
Video on demand services like Netflix and Stan have increased the digital royalty revenue for artists this year, Mr Mallett said.
That is because Australian shows with homegrown music, like Josh Thomas' Please Like Me, are being made available to a broader audience.
Last year, a boost in streaming contributed to a 5 per cent increase in the value of Australian music, according the Australia Recording Industry Association (ARIA).
But while the revenue increase is welcome, what impact it will have on the majority of Australian musicians in unclear.
Spotify has defended itself against criticism — most notably from Taylor Swift — that its streaming rates are low, amounting to a fraction of a cent per play. It has consistently claimed it pays out 70 per cent of its revenue to artists and labels.
Rick Chazan, co-chair of the Association of Artist Managers whose own acts include Emma Louise and The Church, said the rate hovered around half-a-cent per stream.
Still, as more and more Australians access music through streaming platforms, it is becoming an increasingly important part of building an artist's career, Mr Chazan said.
"I think there are some artists who it doesn't make much difference for, but there are some very particular artists — Kita Alexander comes to mind ... who have had a very particular change to their situation thanks to Spotify," he said.
He said a few songs by Alexander, an Australian musician signed to Atlantic Records in the UK, garnered a few millions streams on Spotify. But one song in particular, Plain Sight, took off on the platform.
"It wasn't a song which was on radio, and yet it's got over 20 million streams," he said.
"A million streams means about $5,000," he said, calculating based on the returns his own artists receive. "That song, which had no radio, has grossed over $100,000 ... That's really significant.
"It's broadening out ways of having significant success."
Streaming growth 'healthy for the whole industry'
Growth in streaming may have broader effects, industry figures say.
"It's true to say that streaming has cannibalised, in part, other recorded media sources, whether that's CD sales or downloads," Mr Mallett said.
"In total, the growth rate, both in percentage terms and dollars, for streaming has outstripped any contraction in those two other areas."
Landing a spot on a Spotify mood or genre playlist can mean a huge increase in not just streams but exposure. And, Mr Chazan said, the platform is now getting better at providing users with information about upcoming performances, based on their location and the artists they listen to.
"It's not the be all and end all — most artists really care about the depth of love they have from their fans, and those that listen to their albums again and again ... but I think overall it is really healthy for the whole industry."