What Platforms Pay Musicians the Most in 2024? Review of 22 Music Services

Hey there, musical maestro! So, you’ve got some killer tracks and you’re ready to share them with the world, huh? But wait! Before you go uploading your soulful symphonies or banging beats everywhere, it might be worth knowing which platforms are going to give you the most bang for your buck. After all, your talent deserves compensation. Let’s dive into which digital platforms are likely to make your pockets (or digital wallets) a bit heavier.

1. Napster

Surprising Start, I know!

Now, before you think we’ve time-traveled to the early 2000s, hear me out. Napster has left its rebellious, piracy days behind and has turned into a legit music streaming service. And guess what? It pays the artists pretty well! While it may not have as many users as other platforms, its per-stream payout is considerably higher.

2. Tidal

Jay-Z’s Brainchild

Tidal, co-owned by Jay-Z, is renowned for providing high-fidelity sound and exclusive releases. This platform has been marketed as a musician-friendly alternative, giving a significant chunk of their earnings directly to the artists. If quality and fair pay are on your radar, Tidal is a tidal wave you might want to ride.

3. Apple Music

The Fruit of the Tech World

Apple Music, in the short time it’s been around, has garnered a massive user base. While its per-stream payouts are less than Tidal and Napster, they’re still higher than many of its competitors. Plus, Apple Music’s vast user base can mean higher overall earnings for artists.

4. Amazon Music Unlimited

Not Just for Shopping!

While primarily known as an e-commerce giant, Amazon’s foray into the music streaming world has been quite successful. Amazon Music Unlimited’s payout per stream is pretty decent, and if you consider the Prime users who get access to a more basic version, there’s a large audience to tap into.

5. Deezer

French Flair in the Streaming World

Originating from France, Deezer has made a significant mark worldwide. With its Flow feature and high-quality audio, Deezer is a favorite for many. It offers a fair per-stream payout, making it a solid choice for artists looking to expand their reach and earnings.

6. Spotify

The Big Player

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t Spotify notorious for low payouts?” And, well, you’re not entirely wrong. In terms of per-stream payouts, Spotify doesn’t top the list. However, with its massive user base and playlisting feature, gaining popularity on Spotify can translate to substantial overall earnings. If one of your tracks gets placed in a popular playlist, it’s payday!

7. YouTube Music

Video’s Cousin

While YouTube is primarily a video platform, YouTube Music is gaining traction as a go-to music streaming service. Earnings here can be a bit tricky. It’s not just about streams but also about video views, ads, and even YouTube Red subscribers. If you’ve got engaging video content to go with your tracks, this platform can be quite lucrative.

8. Bandcamp

For the Independent Spirit

Bandcamp is a unique platform that lets artists sell their music directly to fans. You can set your price, offer physical merchandise, and more. While it’s not a streaming service in the traditional sense, its model can be highly profitable for indie artists. The connection with fans and the majority cut of the sales make Bandcamp an excellent choice for many.

9. SoundCloud

Where Underground Meets Mainstream

SoundCloud has long been a platform where new artists get discovered. While the basic SoundCloud isn’t the big earner, SoundCloud Pro and SoundCloud Premier offer ways to monetize your tracks. It’s a mix of ad revenues, listener subscriptions, and more.

10. Patreon

Direct Fan Support

Again, not a traditional music streaming platform, but Patreon allows creators, including musicians, to get paid directly by fans through subscriptions. You can offer exclusive tracks, behind-the-scenes content, or even virtual gigs. It’s a model that’s proving increasingly profitable for many artists, especially in a world where direct fan engagement is so crucial.

11. Audiomack

The Rising Star

While not as widely discussed as some of the other giants in the music streaming universe, Audiomack has become increasingly popular, especially among indie artists and fans of hip-hop, electronic, and reggae music. The platform offers a monetization program for artists, allowing them to earn revenue based on the number of plays they receive. Plus, its free-to-use model for artists means you can upload without any upfront costs.

12-13. DistroKid & TuneCore

Distribution Central

These aren’t streaming platforms per se, but they’re crucial if you’re considering digital distribution. Both DistroKid and TuneCore allow artists to upload their music to a variety of platforms, ensuring it reaches as many ears as possible. There’s an associated cost, but the potential returns from having your music on multiple platforms can far outweigh the initial investment.

14. CDBaby

Oldie but Goldie

Before digital streaming took over the world, there was CDBaby, helping indie artists distribute their CDs (remember those?). Today, CDBaby offers both physical and digital distribution, and they also provide a suite of tools to help artists collect royalties and monetize their tracks. They take a cut from sales, but there are no annual fees, making it a favorite for many musicians.

15. Twitch

Not Just for Gamers

Twitch might be synonymous with gaming, but it’s also becoming a hub for musicians. Through live streaming gigs, sessions, or just casual jamming, artists can earn money from fan donations, ad revenue, and subscriber fees. With its interactive nature, Twitch offers an excellent way for musicians to engage with their audience directly and monetize their performances.

16-17. Facebook & Instagram Live

Social Streaming

The live features on Facebook and Instagram offer musicians an opportunity to perform in real time for their followers. While they aren’t directly monetized, artists can use these platforms to promote merchandise, and upcoming gigs, or direct followers to platforms where they can purchase or stream their music. It’s more about indirect monetization and fan engagement here.

18. Reverbnation

Beyond Just Streaming

Reverbnation provides a suite of tools designed for musicians to promote, distribute, and monetize their music. With its Crowd Reviews feature, artists can get feedback on their tracks before an official release. There’s a potential for revenue through digital distribution and sync licensing opportunities, making it a multifaceted platform for musicians looking to earn.

19. Triller

Short-Form Sensation

In the world where TikTok reigns supreme, Triller has emerged as a worthy competitor. Musicians can upload their tracks, and if they become part of a viral challenge or trend, the exposure can be immense. Like TikTok, it offers indirect ways of monetization through brand partnerships, promotions, and increased visibility leading to streams on other platforms.

20. Resonate

Blockchain in Music

Resonate is a co-operatively owned streaming service that employs blockchain technology. It uses a ‘stream-to-own’ model. This means that the more a user listens to a track, the closer they get to owning it. For musicians, this model ensures a more equitable distribution of revenue, with artists receiving a better payout as fans repeatedly enjoy their tracks.

21. BeatStars

For the Producers Out There

If you’re a musician who produces beats, BeatStars is a platform you might want to check out. It allows producers to sell beats to artists. With a straightforward licensing model and a vast community of artists looking for beats, it can be a lucrative avenue, especially for hip-hop, R&B, and electronic music producers.

22. Vero

Social with a Twist

Vero operates as a social media platform with no ads and algorithms. For musicians, it offers an ad-free space to share their music and connect directly with fans. While the direct monetization methods are still evolving, its commitment to putting content creators first holds potential for future revenue streams.

Final Thoughts

Each platform has its quirks, strengths, and audiences. It’s essential to research, experiment, and perhaps even combine multiple platforms to maximize your reach and revenue. Remember, the best platform for you might not just be about the highest per-stream payout but where your audience is and how you engage with them. The music world is vast, and there’s money to be made; you just have to hit the right note! Dive in, experiment, and may the musical odds be ever in your favor!