Today I would like to introduce you to Joan Pabón from ConsumerAdvocate who has written a guest blog post about a guide to the best music streaming services:
Streaming music on our mobile devices has become as commonplace as connecting to the internet. The speed and convenience of listening anywhere at any time makes these services appealing and even, dare I say it, essential.
But just like the workings of the internet, there’s a lot we don’t know about how music streaming services work, more specifically how they make money and pay their featured artists.
A comprehensive review about the subject was published recently by the review website ConsumersAdvocate.org. Their editors explain that, in the music streaming industry, royalties are paid following one of two models: a service-centric approach or a user-centric approach.
Under the service-centric approach, also called pro-rata, streaming companies tally up their total monthly revenue, divide it by the overall number of streams for all artists, and then multiply that by each artist’s number of monthly streams. What this means is that the money you pay for a streaming service doesn’t necessarily go to the artists you listen to, but to the most popular ones based on streams.
If that doesn’t sound completely fair to you, you may find the user-centric approach much more appealing. Under that model, artists are remunerated based on each user’s monthly music consumption, so if you only listen to your favourite band, they get 100% of the royalties that stem from your music listening.
Why is this important? Well, because upcoming or independent artists get the short end of the stick under this type of contract, and because making minimum wage working in the music industry is a lot harder than you imagine.
For example, did you know that to earn the minimum monthly income ($1,472) an artist has to be streamed 2.1 million times on YouTube? The same artist would need 1.1 million streams on Pandora and 240,000 on Apple Music. Not all streaming services are created equal, so each one has a slightly different formula for this. According to the research, the fairest streaming platform for artists appears to be Tidal, which requires musicians to have at least 120,000 streams to earn the same amount.
If you’re a real music fan or even a musician yourself, this should be one of the most important things to consider when subscribing to a music streaming platform. That being said, let’s go over the potential pros and cons of each one, so you know what to look for and what to avoid.
Awesome features: Spot-on music discovery algorithms, ease of use, low price, sharing capabilities
Room for improvement: Lack of contextual information about the artists and songs
Awesome features: Superb audio quality, exclusives from your favorite artists, great spotlight for upcoming artists on Tidal Rising
Room for improvement: Great quality comes at a price of $19.99 per individuals per month or $29.99 for families
Awesome features: Great audio visual content, easy search and discovery (even if the only thing you know about a song is part of the lyrics), a huge catalogue, audio-only mode, excellent price point
Room for improvement: Royalty payments to artists are the lowest in the industry
Awesome features: Varied and unique streaming recommendations, ease of use, customizable stations, competitive pricing
Room for improvement: Licensing restrictions for certain songs only allow you to listen is “radio mode”
Awesome features: internet radio curated by music connoisseurs and DJs, seamless iOS experience, intuitive interface
Room for improvement: No “freemium” tier
Awesome features: made for fans of classical music, excellent audio quality, affordable price, pays artist based on a play-per-second basis
Room for improvement: No sharing capabilities
Awesome features: incredible variety through thousands of stations, affordable pricing
Room for improvement: low audio quality
Awesome features: Great for up-and-coming artists, perfect for discovering new music, superb freemium tier, musicians over 18 get pay-per-stream royalties for their original pieces
Room for improvement: Their paid tiers don’t offer much more than no adds and additional tracks
To find out more about each of these companies and how they remunerate artists, visit the Best Music Streaming Services Based on In-Depth Reviews.
NB: I did question the researchers why Amazon Music was not included in the guide – which I use on my Amazon Echo, iPhone and iPad – and they said; “for the price ($9.99 per month) you’ll be better served by other competing platforms such as Spotify and Tidal. Amazon Music does not stand out in any of the main categories”.
Which music streaming service platform do you prefer to use? Has this guide encouraged you to switch platforms? Share your thoughts in the comments box or on social media.
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