Updated: Nov 10, 2022
The most significant change in the music industry in the 21st century is an obvious one. The Internet, back in 1999, had a music-sharing website called Napster. College students went crazy over this newfound ability to download albums at no cost. The kids were even downloading live versions, demo versions, and alternate cuts, Before long, music makers and distributors caught on, and this revelation got Napster thrown off online networks. Students found ways to circumvent this action and continued to share music from MP3 file-sharing sites.
Before long, there was Pandora, which spawned Spotify and several other modern streaming services, which, by 2013, had over 200 million users. The debate over whether online streaming is causing artists to miss out on the revenue they once had from album sales rages. But, independent artists obtain huge exposure from curated playlists, listener analytics, and recommendations to artists who are similar in style to them. Eventually, if they're talented, they gain attention and the potential of an international following.
Music Streaming is Here to Stay
Musicians may still debate the issue of whether or not streaming is fair and profitable for artists, but, in newer forms and payment platforms, it's still around. Here's how the evolution of music streaming has played out in real-time:
Bandcamp is an online music company established in 2008. If you buy something from Bandcamp, 80-85 percent of the cost of the item goes to the artist. At its start, however, Bandcamp was one of the first services that followed the "pay what you want" pattern.
SoundCloud also wanted to bypass record labels and release music to audiences at no cost.
Spotify's 2008 launch and subsequent US launch in 2011 unveiled a new model. Music is saved to hard drives and streaming tunes are integrated. It seemed that this idea would decrease piracy and the audience would have access to an infinite library of streamable music. Spotify paid artists, even if the listener was not paying for a premium account.
But there were still kinks with which to be reckoned.
Problems Aside, How Can You Get Your Music Streaming?
So, you're a musician who wants to get your music on a streaming platform. How do you do that? Let's take a look:
If you signed to a label, your record label could get you on Spotify.
If, however, you are an independent artist, you take care of the distribution of your music yourself.
Find the best company for your music licensing and distribution if you are handling your career. Fees and commissions will apply.
If you want to submit music to a playlist, that music must be unreleased.
Your distributor should allow you to select a release day for your music at least a week in the future so that Spotify's editors may hear it.
This online music community says it is the largest and most outstanding music distribution company on the Web. Their pared-down guide to getting your music on their platform includes:
Tagging your music carefully and accurately
Sticking to one main genre for clarity purposes
Tagging and linking to SoundCloud for cross-promotion and sharing your story
Adding a "buy" link (SoundCloud makes it easy)
Linking to other sites that sell your music online
Allowing fans and you to comment on your waveform (you can talk about your process; ask for feedback, and discuss your track)
Publishing drafts and getting feedback
Considering outsourcing your album or track artwork to ensure it represents your music
Uploading a track; setting it to private, and then clicking the "share" button on the waveform (gives a sense of exclusivity for your fans), and more
You can sell your content on iTunes. Here's how:
First, you complete the application
Apple strongly suggests that up-and-coming musicians work with their Apple-approved aggregators (experts on delivering content to Apple)
Encoding houses that format music videos or concert films (they provide your content to your iTunes account on your behalf)
You must acquire an Apple ID and have a current credit card on file in the iTunes Store
Signing up to offer music to iTunes is free
All audio delivered to iTunes requires a Universal Product Code (UPC) and an International Standard Recording Code (ISRC)
iTunes sign-up requires a US Tax ID
A music contract allows you to offer music videos, ringtones, concert films, iTunes LP, and much more (information here)
Online distributors exist online that make uploading your content to all streaming services a doable task. Online companies that offer this type of distribution include:
Working with these distributors, known as aggregators, is often faster and much easier than using the "big guys." Smaller online aggregators receive unbelievable amounts of music; deliver the tunes to online stores; receive the revenue generated through streaming or sales; issue financial statements to the artist, and pay the musician. All this takes place with few employees and small amounts of recurring costs.
The aggregators get paid by taking a flat fee from the artist or by taking a percentage of the royalties. Many aggregators charge an upfront fee to cover their handling of the submitted content.
It is critical that musicians become familiar with the fine print that pops up on contract paperwork from aggregators and signature companies, as well. In other words, musicians need to have some business savvy, too.
Yes, Dreams Do Come True
It was back in 2016, a thousand years ago in music world terms, but Perrin Lamb, a Nashville singer-songwriter, got plenty of attention on Spotify thanks to his song "Everyone's Got Something." His song was on a favorite playlist on Spotify and got millions of streams. After the song streamed, approximately 10 million times, Lamb earned $40,000. That's when he said he probably should get a Spotify account. He has not quit his day job, but he is delighted and happily surprised that he has what might be called a financial cushion.
Mikes Mix & Master
Getting your music featured on a streaming site can happen if your product stands out among the rest of the submissions. Before you audition your music to a distributor, it is paramount to ensure your music sounds terrific. When you have your tunes professionally mixed and mastered, your chances of getting recognized rise considerably. Yes, it is well worth the investment.
Our team knows its way around the music industry. We have clients and friends who are professionals in the music scene. We have been mixing and mastering music for over 15 years. We've been Mikes Mix & Master for the past nine years. Perfecting music is what we do.
We have helped musicians who were working endlessly to get their songs, instrumental music, and their bands recognized and purchased. And we get almost as excited as they do when we deliver the industry standard results we produce for them.
Mikes Mix & Master dedicates itself to making your music the best it can be. You can count on us for:
Online Mixing and Mastering
Digital and analog outboard gear
Excellent and experienced customer service
24/7 service capability
Our business wants to contribute to your career. Every job we do is vital to us because we know how important it is to you and your future career. That's why we are iTunes certified; we have served more than 35 recording artists; worked with ten major record labels, and assisted clients in more than 150 countries. Don't take our word for it. Before you upload take a listen to our before and after samples.
Contact us today to get more information about our services, including industry mastering, mastering for iTunes, album mastering, album mix and master, revisions, radio editing, and much, much more. We're looking forward to working with you.