Four Categories of Modern Music Platforms
First, there are the promoters. I would include platforms like SoundCloud and AudioMack in this category. Most of these platforms are not ones that artists are using to make considerable money, and rather a hub for their discography to gain traction. With SoundCloud, artists can get a "55% net revenue share for songs they upload" - but this is mostly through advertisements and not through a pay-per-stream or pay per download model, according to Tamar Salondagit in his 2021 Times article
Then, there are the connectors, consisting of many up-and-coming applications such as Splice, DISCO, Wave, MIXhalo. Many of these platforms are relatively new and all possess their own unique innovations within the music industry. Splice
is a cloud-based music creation and collaboration platform.
Splice's main appeal is that it offers a wide library of sample audio and plug-ins for users on a subscription basis. Similarly, DISCO
is a music managing app that allows collaboration between supervisors, rights holders, management, artists and composers, and more. TIDAL
is a particularly impressive streaming service, priding itself on high-quality sound and offering audio experiences through technology such as Dolby Atmos. They also combine music streaming, podcasts, and music videos all in one place. MIXhalo
is a real-time audio platform that delivers an immersive experience for live events including concerts, conferences, festivals, sporting events, and anywhere people gather to hear content. Similarly, Wave is a relatively new virtual entertainment platform that enables artists and audiences to collaborate for interactive live performances. All of these different platforms allow for creativity, innovation, and connections within the music industry at large.
Next, there are the supporters. Apps in this category consist of ones such as Resonate, Deezer, Napster, and Stationhead, which go out of their way to create a fair environment for artists to share their music, and pride themselves on transparency for artists and proper money allocation.
Lastly, there are the stakeholders. This category consists of leading platforms in the streaming industry such as Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, etc. These are the most popular apps to use for music streaming currently but offer little to no money for artists who are just starting their careers. Namely, an artist on Spotify would have to receive over 12,000 streams before they make even $50.
So, what is the takeaway? Should artists boycott apps like Spotify and Apple Music altogether?
Of course not. These apps are at the forefront of the music streaming industry and are an essential factor for an artist's work to be recognized by the masses. For artists in 2022 and the near future, I would recommend distributing your music across many different platforms, rather than relying on just one or two. In fact, to maximize exposure, put your work on as many streaming platforms as possible - and, preferably, a mix of different types of apps (some 'promoters,' some 'connectors,' and some 'stakeholders'). This way, you are getting maximum profit, maximum publicity, and you are also able to weigh the benefits of each platform on your own terms.