Everyone and their mom thinks that they’re going to be the next big thing in music, but your rise to stardom can be hindered if your content is lost in the noise. Today I’ll be diving into three leading music streaming platforms to find out which one is the most artist friendly. Picking the right venue for your music is critical to making sure that your content gets heard. I’ll be ranking Soundcloud, Apple Music and Spotify to help you understand what your choices are.
One of the first things we can take a look at is popularity of these platforms. If you invest your time and money into promoting your music on one of these services, it would do you well to know that there is audience for your music. Of the three services we’re considering, Business Insider reports that Spotify is the most popular, followed by Soundcloud and Apple Music.
It’s worth noting that with great popularity, comes great competition. Spotify and Apple boast having over 30 million tracks while Soundcloud touts over 125 million. Over-saturation of content is a definite downside, but this can be defrayed by the service’s general usage popularity.
Winner: Soundcloud | Runner-up: Spotify
On the assumption that you are an independent artist without a label, promoting your music is a one-man show. With the right tools, this tedious task can be made easier. All three services have specific programs dedicated to artist development. Apple Music has iTunes connect, Spotify has Spotify for Artists and SoundCloud has On SoundCloud.
iTunes connect is basically the back-end of the connect page on iTunes. You can upload and manage your content as well as post multimedia updates much like you would with Facebook. Spotify for Artists also allows you to upload and manage your content and profile, but goes one step further by allowing you to see analytics, connect your concert ticket sales and merch sales. In terms of supporting the artist, Spotify truly elevates the game with a blog with sections dedicated to the products, best practices, testimonials and more.
“You’ll be able to track which of your songs are performing best and learn how fans are discovering and listening to your music around the world. Your stats can help you run promotional campaigns, pick new singles, or even route your next tour.”
– Spotify for Artists guide
On SoundCloud takes the trophy in this category because of its access level options. The platform offers three different versions of their services; free, pro and premium. This customization allows you to pick and choose what you want to pay for. For the sake of comparison, On SoundCloud premium offers revenue sharing, comprehensive statistics and promotional tools. The free version offers a handful of social tools and basic stats. This variety allows for a lot of experimentation for artists at all levels of their career.
Last but not least is pricing. Both iTunes Connect and Spotify for Artists go through aggregators so the true price of putting your music on either platform varies. SoundCloud is completely free with optional upgrades.
Overall Winner: SoundCloud
Through all of this, I’ve come to the same conclusion that every high school rapper does – SoundCloud is a winner. The combination of its popularity, features and pricing makes it the most appealing option for independent artists who are just starting out. It allows room for growth with premium levels for complete access to promotion and analysis tools.