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How Are Streaming Services Helping Artists?

It’s no secret that music streaming sites are under constant scrutiny. The resentment from artists wouldn’t be as harsh if Spotify wasn’t fighting in court to pay them less, it just adds insult to injury. That being said, streaming remains one of the necessary evils of the music business.

We asked the following:

Are music streaming companies trying to counterbalance low payments by helping artists earn more? If so, how?

In Jan 2022, the search query ‘Tidal vs Spotify’ increased 100% on Google after Niel Young and a few others removed their music. Centsr reported that they received interest from readers who wanted to know what each streaming service was doing to help the artists. This caused us to look into what streaming companies are doing to help artists and what artists can do to make the most out of their streaming services.

How Artists Can Get The Most Out Of Streaming

1) Artists’ need their music to be everywhere. As we mention in this article, some streaming companies pay more than others. This is because of different subscription models. If they are not utilizing all outlets, artists might need to use a different distributor or multiple. For example, here are all the places Distrokid distributes its music.

2) Ensure artists are utilizing all services being offered. Features like Direct-To-Artist payouts, affiliate programs, merchandise integrations, and live streams are all amazing ways to improve revenue through streaming.

Here is a breakdown of what music streaming services are doing to help:

Direct To Artist Payouts

Tidal seems to be leading the way on helping artists earn more by pioneering what they call the “Direct-To-Artist” payout program. This is an attempt to give artists extra payments by allocating up to 10% of a subscriber’s fees directly to that account’s top streamed artist. It’s essentially a bonus for being someone’s favorite artist.

Subscription Models

Various studies have shown that companies like Peloton (yes, the bike company) and Tidal routinely pay artists more per stream than the average streaming company. One big reason is that they don’t have a ‘freemium’ model, which means users can’t listen to music for free with ads like you can on Spotify. Therefore, there is more money to go around per stream and it gets passed on to the artist.

Merch Integrations

While streaming royalties from Spotify and Youtube have been notoriously low, they are actually doing more than others to help artists out. In December 2021, Spotify announced it was partnering with Shopify to help sell merchandise through artists’ profiles. Artists can also do this via google shopping for qualified Youtube channels.

Affiliate Programs

Qobuz has recently partnered with Linkfire to exclusively offer its affiliate program to artists. This means that any users who sign up for Qobuz through Linkfire smart links will receive a commission. This adds an alternative revenue stream for the artist exclusively. While Amazon, Pandora, Apple, and Deezer have affiliate programs, they are harder to access. They are better suited for businesses and internet marketers. So while artists can make extra money by promoting those services in their links, nothing has been seen by them to help guide artists.

Live Streaming

During the pandemic, we saw an explosion of live streams happening on Facebook and Youtube. The good news is, performance rights organizations like ASCAP and SOCAN have coordinated with Facebook and Youtube and are allowing you to claim performance royalties on your music the same way you claim a live performance in a club or festival. Indie shows like The Silver Lining Sessions were able to help themselves and many of the guests on their show by reporting their performances to their respective PRO’s. Talk to your rep, they’ll help guide you through this process.

Keep Looking Forward

New ways to earn money through streaming emerge constantly. It’s vital for artists to capitalize on every opportunity possible. For the most part, these programs are easily accessible and can create a big boost to an artist’s bottom line. With the rise of NFTs and other blockchain technologies, more and more

What do you think?

Written by Mason Quesnel

Mason Quesnel is a music industry veteran who's performed on major festival stages and corporate events across 10 countries. His accolades include winning Yamaha's National Songwriting Competition and Key's To The Juno's. He was also recognized as Top Bands to Watch for by The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto Ontario; furthermore, reviewed by media outlets such as Alan Cross, CBC, Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace, The LCBO and has had his music appear in TED Talks.

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