If you are trying to get started as an independent artist, the internet is a great first step. With the creation and rise of music streaming platforms, the internet has forever changed the face of the music industry. Listeners are regularly switching from digital music downloads to on-demand music streaming. With more access to a huge music library and a diverse array of independent artists, choosing the right music streaming platform to showcase your music is a big decision. With an abundance of offerings, choosing the right online platform to upload, share, and promote your music can be overwhelming, so it’s essential that an up-and-coming artist has a clear-cut understanding of how to navigate these landscapes. When deciding keep these helpful tips in mind:
What capabilities and benefits does any one particular platform possess?
Which platforms are the most popular amongst your target audience?
How should you best implement this platform in order to wield results?
The likelihood of your music reaching a substantial audience skyrockets and, more importantly, so does your chances of developing a dedicated fanbase when you choose the right platform for you and your music.
Here is a list of the top 10 music streaming platforms that you should consider:
Over the past several years, Spotify has worked its way into becoming an extremely powerful digital music service and is a king in the music streaming business. The massive library of music from major artists has made Spotify an attractive option.
On Spotify all of your music and content lives on your artist profile. It’s where fans can discover more about what’s happening with you, hear your newest releases, dig deeper with one of your playlists, find out where you’re touring, even buy your recordings. The best way to be considered for Spotify playlists is to make your music as visible as possible and maintain an active presence on Spotify.
If you’re not signed to a label or distributor, they have deals in place with companies who can deliver your music to the public and collect royalties for you. If you’re a label, they provide services that handle the licensing and distribution of your music and also pay you royalties when your fans stream your music on Spotify.
After Apple Music exploded onto the scene in late 2015, it has quickly become one of the best music streaming platforms out there. Apple Music combines users' music libraries with its own massive iTunes catalog. In addition, Apple has a 24-hour live radio station that delivers a wide range of music and exclusive artist interviews all day long. But of particular importance to all musicians is Apple Music Connect. It allows artists to engage with followers through the sharing of photographs, videos, lyrics, and any other exclusive content they desire. It also creates an avenue for direct, real-time communication between artists and fans.
As the music service for one of the world’s most powerful companies, Google Play is a wise choice for a blossoming artist. If you want your entire fanbase to have the ability to financially support your music, it's important to ensure that you have a presence on Google Play. Some artists want to sell their music, while others want to release it freely into the world. Some have live recordings, others have studio tracks or new demos. Artist hub lets you decide how to connect with fans on Google Play.
If you decide to sell your music, you suggest the retail price. Any time your music is sold on Google Play, you’ll earn your revenue share (up to 70%) based on your suggested retail price. There is absolutely no fee for uploading tracks, creating albums, making changes to existing albums, editing your artist page, or anything else within the artist hub. Google Play keeps a 30% commission on any sales.
An extension of the Amazon Prime service, this music streaming platform has a large user base and a catalogue of two million songs with a reach of over 80 million people. Much like other platforms, playlists can be curated and shared, with options to download and save certain albums or artists.
What’s uniquely nice about Amazon Music is that your music will be eligible for streaming to Amazon Prime members, 90 days after your release date. You can even give your fans the option of buying your music on CD, directly from Amazon.
Tidal differentiates itself from the competition with a focus on high-quality playback and a wide selection of music videos. While not as large of a contender as Spotify or Apple Music, Tidal is still a serious service and one that prides itself on higher artist royalties and its emphasis on small acts. If you want to get recognised, Tidal is a key contender for new listeners.
Tidal’s platform makes way for rising artists to receive spotlight through Tidal Rising. Tidal Rising selects one emerging artist/band each week for exposure. In order to keep your listeners updated, you can request to have your socials added to your Tidal profile, along with a professional biography and artist image. Simply create a ticket through their support system service and include the assets and links.
Being on SoundCloud is a great way to connect with your core fan base which gives them a simple way to access and play your tracks. Heralded for its sociability/shareability features, a wide majority of both established major artists and rising talent turn to SoundCloud to upload their music. SoundCloud allows listeners to engage more deeply because of its social-media driven track comments, allowing creators and fans the chance to make connections.
SoundCloud provides a way to stream embeddable audio pieces for blogs and other media outlets and is completely free for both artist and fans.It’s the best when it comes to letting your fans stream your music for free and It’s free to register, free to upload your music, free to stream and to promote your music.
This platform is unique for the way it is geared toward independent musicians and has a niche following of both artists and fans. As a platform that promotes free streaming as well as financial support of the artist, Bandcamp has an all-in-one capability which can prove to be useful for musicians who want to put all of their eggs in one basket.
Bandcamp allows you to control your brand/site/appearance. The interface is clean and allows for some basic customization. Bandcamp allows you to choose several ways to sell or give away your music. You can sell your music through the platform, give it away for free or focus on streaming. You can even let fans choose on the amount they want to pay for your music. Artists who sell their merch through Bandcamp keep all of the revenue.
For independent artists, getting music on Pandora Radio can be a great way to build an audience without spending thousands on radio promotion or advertising.To submit your music to Pandora, get your own station. Your own station on Pandora is an invaluable resource which can help build a world-wide fan base reaching literally millions of people and the best part is that it’s free.
The services generate different royalties, but those royalties are paid to you differently depending on how your music was added to Pandora’s catalog. Pandora also has an open submission system online that allows artists to submit their albums and singles for consideration. Every submission is listened to and considered carefully by a musicologist that is trained to approve submissions for Pandora.
Audiomack is a streaming music hub for artists and fans that is quite similar to SoundCloud. They focus exclusively on new, independent, and up-and-coming artists offering free, limitless music sharing and discovery. Unlike its counterpart, which has a central focus on play counts when evaluating engagement, Audiomack allows artists to measure the reach of their music with its variety of trend-based rankings.
The exact number of plays per day/week/month are readily available, and the "what's trending" homepage makes it easy for music consumers to know what songs and albums are worthy of their valuable time. Between the less stringent copyright policies and easy-to-digest analytics, Audiomack is a well-positioned platform and a wise choice for independent artists who want full visibility into the marketing efforts of their new album.
Slacker Radio makes it easy for fans to discover, share and purchase your music. Delivering hundreds of hand-crafted stations that adapt to a listener’s tastes. Available in the US and Canada, Slacker Radio enables the creation and sharing of customized music stations, with more than 300 radio stations curated by music experts. Using social media platforms, music creators and users can use the Slacker name to promote songs, bands and artists, making it a great place to promote and establish a following.
When a subscriber streams your music, you get paid a proportionate share of Slacker’s subscription revenue per month which fluctuate each month, depending on the amount of subscription revenue generated and how often your music was streamed.