Here’s Your Guide to The Best Music Streaming Services In 2019

Posted by 30.10.2019, Yana Palmer

Today, more and more people are making the change in thinking from buying physical music formats or downloading music to the trendier, music ready option of streaming music online or via apps.

And it’s no wonder at all, really. Imagine being able to access tens of millions of songs, playlists- both curated and personal, all at the touch a single touchscreen? Who wouldn’t want that and instead waste money buying physical formats that would necessitate a playing gadget?

And besides just being able to access all these, streaming music online allows you to hunt down all your favorites from one place and at the same time, discover new artists and bands.

Hey, it’s 2019 and we must take advantage of today’s technology.

So, who are the people driving the music streaming narrative? Let’s dig in.

Of course, with the popularity of music streaming service that we’ve witnessed within the past few years, there must be some industry leaders taking the top spots. These include Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, Amazon, Google Play, Pandora and Soundcloud. Let’s review each.

Reach an audience with Spotify

Spotify had to be on top of this list. This is true not only because it's one of the oldest but also because it's the main reason for its formation- to tackle piracy.

Spotify was launched in 2006 to counter music piracy which was hurting artists' revenues and it was such a hit. Today, Spotify has over 200 million users with over 100 million of them subscribing to the premium package.

Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of Spotify.

Advantages

To artists

  • Spotify’s wider audience is a win because of the music reaching a larger audience upon being released.
  • Spotify allows artists to undertake music and event promotions to boosts their earnings
  • The ability to feature an artist’s song on a curated playlist means the artist’s probability of being discovered by a large audience is high. This is particularly a big win for new artists.

To the general users

  • Collaborative playlist means more value is delivered to the user
  • The ability to discover playlists makes it easy for users to enjoy a variety of music genre combinations
  • Family and student plans make it easy to filter what music to listen to as well as it being favorable to students who are generally considered not monied
  • Maximum platform availability, both web-based and an app for different operating systems.

The disadvantages

  • Artists generally bemoan the low payouts (see how much Spotify pay later in the article) yet it ranks top of the music streaming services. For example, it would take you 228,833 streams to earn 1000$.
  • Too much influence on the charts probably because of the large audience size
  • No high-quality music streaming options available which for a platform of its size, is a letdown.
  • With Spotify, you can’t upload your own library.

Popular Spotify Playlists

Discover weekly

This was marketed as Spotify’s most personalized playlists and updated every Monday for users. It’s the most popular feature in Spotify’s user reviews.

It’s based on your listening habits in the previous weeks and is curated automatically based on this.

As of 2019, this playlist was offered to brands to sponsor as a way of generating more money.

Rap Caviar

This is one of Spotify’s flagship playlists which features up to 55 songs of different genres. Several musical stars are featured and include Drake, Post Malone, YBN, etc.

How about launching your music career skyward?

Gain new Apple Music streams

The second-largest streaming service is obviously the Apple Music, which seems to derive its popularity and success from the iPhones manufactured by Apple.

Apple music some free features that makes it even more interesting, comparing with the other platforms. For example, you can enjoy free songs saved in your library and if that’s not enough, there’s the Beats1 Radio for you.

It has over 60 million subscribers and pays artists more for streamed music than most of the other platforms like Spotify.

The advantages

  • Of course, given the audience’s size, Apple Music promises even more revenues for artists and they can obviously enjoy a wider audience than they would without the streaming service.
  • As already mentioned, Apple Music pays much better than Spotify thus a darling to many artists, especially the upcoming musicians.
  • In terms of the artist's reach, Apple Music reaches more people because it's geographically more available in most countries than most of the competitors.
  • Streamers can also enjoy a whole month of free content and it’s readily available across several devices and platforms including android

The disadvantages

  • The ratio between streamers and the music collection is skewed towards the collection which means fewer streamers with a big collection of music. This limits the chances of an artist’s music being streamed.
  • Streamers often complain of the complicated, non-intuitive interface making several options and items not easily available.

Famous playlists on Apple Music

  • Hip-Hop Replay

This playlist features recent hip-hop hot hits updated every so often. It has over 35 songs and features artists such as Travis Scott, 21 Savage, Migos, Nicki Minaj, etc.

  • Best of the week (Now New Music Daily)

This playlist was relaunched lately as New Music Daily, which they call premier global editorial playlist. The playlist has bee among the top 10 playlists on the Apple Music stream.

It's a cross-niche playlist with R&B, pop, alternative, Hip-hop and more. Top musicians on the playlist include Maroon 5, Ed Sheeran, 1975, etc.

Hit ‘go’ on Apple Music playlist placement!

Push your music on Deezer

This French-based streaming platform also offers serious competition to the top players like Apple Music and Spotify. It has about 14million subscribers with about 50% being on premium subscription,

Its payouts are relatively competitive, taking 5th place in the list of top-paying music streaming services.

The advantages

  • Deezer’s geographical reach is impressive with availability in over 150 countries meaning music reach is enhanced.
  • The payouts are competitive and beat Spotify, YouTube, and most platforms
  • The music catalog is impressive and integrates almost flawlessly with other systems like the Sonos system.
  • The search and music flow functions are readily available meaning streamers don’t get strained in trying to find out these important features.

The disadvantages

  • Too many ads interrupt your stations makes it a bit annoying at times.
  • There's still no option to download tracks and listen to them offline for the free package
  • The sound quality is still questionable
  • It's less accessible as it's still not available for TV or car.

Streaming music service Tidal

Right from the day of inception, Tidal has maintained a very high-quality music delivery to its users and pays competitively.

The platform is fast-growing and has already amassed more than 4.2 million premium subscribers which means good reach for artists.

The advantages

  • The payouts are comparatively lucrative among the music streaming players
  • Fast-growing audience reach for artists makes it a viable tool to reach more listeners
  • The user interface is much better than those of the competition which means a better user experience
  • It’s far much easy to discover artists in Tidal than most of the other platforms
  • There’s lossless FLAC streaming which is a good thing to streamers
  • The credit functionality is just a win for all users

The disadvantages

  • The controversies about hackers controlling the streams are rather heartbreaking but not yet confirmed.
  • The lack of social activity function limits its usage
  • It’s probably the most expensive to subscribe to and it does not have anything offered for free including the first month’s trial
  • There’s no local file playback which is unfortunate for streamers

Sell Your Tracks On Amazon Music

Although it’s not easy to determine how many users have subscribed to Amazon, it’s also a relatively famous and loved music streaming platform based on its user reviews.

But, Amazon is still a giant in the music streaming industry, especially after introducing it’s AMAZON MUSIC HD which streams CD-quality music. The offers include over 50 million CD-quality tracks and 'millions' of hi-res tunes for all the streamers who are willing and able to pay some USD 17 per month.

That also includes 4 UHD playlists – for jazz, country, R&B and classical!

The advantages

  • The Amazon Music HD is just on another level, offering lossless versions of audio files for streaming
  • Amazon integration with Alexa always makes it easier for users to get more value and enjoy music seamlessly. 
  • With availability in more than 79 countries, Amazon music is allowing artists music to reach millions and millions.

The disadvantages

  • Amazon doesn’t allow you to create stations which is a terrible downside for most users
  • You can’t upload your own music files making it hard to combine playlists
  • There’s a limited song library

Discover new music on Pandora

Pandora is unique in its approach to music streaming. You have limited ability to choose the songs you want to listen to but you have the chance to discover new music by searching for your favorite artists who are just venturing into the industry. This makes it more popular among new artists than the more established ones.

Already, it has over 80 million active users and about 4 levels of subscription starting a free version which is annoyingly ridden with ads.

These options include Free, Pandora Plus ($4.99), Pandora Premium for $9.99 and Premium Family Plan at $14.99 per month allowing up to 6 users to use one account.

The advantages

  • For budding artists, the huge audience of over 80 million is a good place to get your music to the world
  • Has different promotion options for those looking to promote their music on the platform
  • For users, Pandora offers unlimited skips, replays and ad-free music streams with the premium subscription

The disadvantages

  • For artists, the payouts are painfully little given the work put in
  • It denies music fans the ability to choose their songs to listen to which limits them if they wanted particular songs

    New Wave Distribution - Google Play

Google play has a presence in over 65 countries which makes it competitive in terms of audience reach. It has already gotten itself more than 15 million subscribers ready to listen to your music as an artist.

It’s not very popular but offers a worthy alternative to the other more dominant players like Spotify with a bit more favorable features.

The advantages

  • For artists, over 15 million subscribers are waiting for your music. That's a huge number especially for new artists who want to promote their songs on this platform.
  • With the arrangements it avails, it’s more practical to promote your music here than in most of the other platforms.
  • For streamers, the fact that it allows for local storage is a win for many.
  • It offers high-quality streaming for best listening experience by its subscribers
  • There are enough robust tools for finding new music

The disadvantages

  • The payouts are not lucrative which may limit the revenues by new artists who are just beginning
  • The platform doesn’t have a visualizer yet which is a downside most streamers don’t appreciate.

Music promotion on Soundcloud

Originally started as a content sharing platform for musicians, SoundCloud grew first to become probably the best place for musicians to promote their music. It packs more 125 million songs.

The advantages

  • Soundcloud is primarily the best place for music promotion for new and upcoming artists.
  • For streamers, here’s a chance to enjoy free and constant fresh music uploads by upcoming artists
  • You also can upload your audio files to the platform
  • Uses don’t get screamed at every time with ads

The disadvantages

  • Its only major downside is that packs relatively low volume of songs you’ll find in the other platforms.

    The highest royalty fees from Napster

Napster is the undisputed king in the music streaming industry when it comes to the highest royalty fees. Napster features a great mobile app, browser playback, and a strong music collection.

Advantages

  • Best paying in terms of royalties for streams
  • Has a very intuitive user interface

The disadvantages

  • It does not have good bitrates for music quality although being the oldest
  • It offers just basic desktop experience and a half-backed social
  • Availability is limited to only iOS, android and nook devices

What streaming music services pay

Now to compare, how much music streaming services pay musicians in 2019, consider the table below for a summarized view of how the different streamlining platforms pay for royalty as of 2019.

Streaming platform    

Amount of royalty payment

Napster

0.01900

Tidal

0.01284

Apple Music     

0.00783

Google play music    

0.00676

Deezer

0.00640

Spotify

0.00437

Amazon

0.00402

Pandora

0.00133

YouTube

0.00069


For most artists, these are not as impressive as they would wish them to be but with time and as they grow their popularity, they will earn better and of course, more competition will kick in and better rates offered.

New Music Streaming Services 2019

Of course, the above names come from years ago and have been around to perfect their gigs. Some newcomers are doing relatively good and have made it their priority to kick some names off the top list.

YouTube Premium

Although YouTube is synonymous with videos, it’s suddenly revived Google’s hopes of making a winning music streaming service.

It adorns an almost similar look to the normal YouTube but with a fresh imagination of how a music streaming service should be. It packs together a set of easy-to-use discovery and search features that no other platform has thought of before.

The advantages

  • The home screen is just excellent and user-friendly
  • The search engine’s recommendation feature is as excellent as the platform itself, making Spotify’s look almost inferior.
  • It also features music videos as well

The disadvantages

  • Some power features are still missing
  • No desktop apps yet but it's expected to arrive should demand to dictate so
  • Doesn’t have a Discover Weekly competitor yet

Qobuz

Yet another great tool crafted in France. For close to 10 years, Qobuz was restricted within Europe. It opened doors in the US in 2019 and promises a beautiful story going into the future.

Imagine being able to stream high-resolution FLAC files doing up to 24-bit resolution and with sampling rates in the range of 192kHz? That’s a feat no other platform has ever tried and fully succeeded.

The advantages

  • The sound quality that Qobuz offers is the best among all the music streaming platforms. In fact, some say it’s 30-times better than that of Spotify.
  • Qobuz also delivers 24-bit lossless tracks which is an equal competition

The disadvantages

  • It’s a premium to have the best of Qobuz which may scare away streamers

Idagio

Idagio, unlike other streaming platforms, works only for the classical genre. The system is built to accommodate the diversity in which the genre is created and does so well, delivering high quality, always matching or exceeding CD-quality.

Idagio promises the ultimate classical music streaming experience and it sure lives up to that promise, with lossless audio, expertly curated playlists and a smart search.

About payouts, Idagio promises to pay by the second, not by the stream like others in the competition. 

The advantages

  • Fairly priced for the quality and service offerings it has.
  • Idagio has the most intuitive mobile app as well as a desktop app of all the streaming service competitors.
  • There’re no clutter features like social features, contacts, podcasts or friend feeds.
  • It also provides a royalty sharing not on the streams but by the seconds a song is played or listened to, which will be pretty much a fair sharing pattern with most other platforms.

The disadvantages

  • Idagio is restricted to classical music with no chance of finding other modern songs in it.

The competition in the music streaming industry is getting hotter day by day which means we are yet to see more diversification like what Idagio began.

Tips for streaming promotion 2019

All new and upcoming artists need to involve themselves in some form of music promotion to get their music to the world. Music promotion is particularly important for those who not only want to improve their following but also aiming to get the numbers following and listening to their music on streaming platforms.

However, the tips that one be implemented today for streaming promotion 2019 are obviously different from those one would execute 15 years ago.

This is all thanks to the power of the internet.

So, what would one do to promote their music in 2019? We look at the top 10 as explained below.

1. Start with your own website.

Having a website not only gives you the privilege of sharing all the information you may want to put out there but it gives you more credibility.

A website gives you control over your image and message. You can control what you share with your fans and the rest of the world, sell your tickets and share your tour dates.

2. Get you blog running

Blogs can be independent or extensions arising from your website. You can use your blog to share information about how your albums are coming through, discuss any new music your planning in releasing. There's a lot you can achieve with your blog. Think about sharing something on your blog either weekly or biweekly.

3. Make good use of social media to build your following

You make money by having large numbers following and listening to your music. If you can get the numbers on social media platforms and channel the same traffic to your music on streaming services, then it would be easy to generate the revenues every artist's dream.  Facebook, Twitter and the like are very good options. Learn how to use them effectively.

4. Connect with music blogs

Reach out to music blogs and get featured, be it through an interview or by them writing a special feature about you. This will help you get the word out to audiences you’d not have reached.

5. Get on streaming sites

Most people abandoned downloading music years ago. Today, it’s all about streaming services. Make sure you get on at least 50% of the top streaming music platforms.

6. Get yourself an electronic press kit (EPK)

An EPK is basically a resume covering your music and life. It has your music bio, history, achievements, etc. and basically targeting print media. Add some high-quality photos to it. You can have it on your website for easy access.

7. Make good use of online advertising whenever the budget allows

Online advertising may include advertising on search engines like Google, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and on music blogs. You can also use your website or blog to collect email list and engage in some form of email marketing to get the word out about your music.

8. Send out Direct emails

Emails are a more direct way of getting to your fans because there's a likelihood of 90% of your content reaching their inbox. You can use your blog to collect emails by putting a prompt that collects emails. You can use your music to offer free downloads provided one provides their email.

9. Collaborate with other musicians who have done better or have more following than you do.

This allows you to get their fans to hear about your music and talent when they listen to the music the two of you have made together. Tell you, collaborators, to share the music and introduce you to their fans too.

10. Be persistent with every resolution you make

Making it as a musician is about persistent even when there's little success to show for it. At the end of the day, your efforts will pay up if you keep the faith and not give up on your efforts.

Best music promotion practices for 2019

If you’ve set out to get your music to the world through promotion, then it’s important to be well acquitted with what’s working and when it’s working.

Below are a few of the best practices for 2019 and beyond.

1. Think of running a giveaway promotion

No one would resist a worthy gift offered for free. Think along this line. You can start getting a personalized item from one of your favorite brands- something like a free bracelet, or stickers from previous promotions. You can run a campaign with your fans to get the best caption of a silly photo of you from previous activities.

2. Try an experiment with different content

It's all about finding what works which will obviously lead to you to understand what doesn't work. Generate a plan for this and study the response. You can try both online and offline. You can use your shows to get what works offline like which songs get the most reactions, analyze which merch generates most attention at your tables, etc.

You can also experiment online by trying either photos or videos and study the reaction you receive. At the end of it, you’ll get something that gets more attention.

3. Make sure you throw a special concert if you can

Think of having shows your fans don’t expect you to have, at places they least expect. This is a great way of gaining attention.

4. Try podcasts.

These podcasts shouldn’t be all about you but about the music industry in general or about the things you care about most. Your target should be people who have never heard of your music and are not your fans yet.

5. Do some music promotion to get your music out there

If you haven’t heard of Spotify promotion or Apple music promotion, it’s a good time to invest in them. Use all the channels you have that can generate you traffic to your music listed on these platforms. There are several means of doing this and you need to equip yourself with at least the ones that matter as some of them are already explained early in this article.

Predictions for 2020 and beyond: Which music streaming platforms should you focus on?

A lot is obviously going to change and probably for the better. So, as a budding artist, it’s wise to equip yourself with knowledge on what platforms to look out for as part of the future predictions in the music streaming industry.

1. Apple Music catching up with Spotify - Nearly

Apple is obviously giving Spotify a run for its money in terms of the numbers subscribed to the premium options in the two platforms. As an artist, apple music's growth pattern is proving to be very lucrative thus your efforts on this platform should double going forward.

2. Tencent Music making a powerful move to acquire Spotify

Although its IPO was rather timid, Tencent is poised to acquire all of Spotify especially if investor favoritism shifts to their route. The Chinese giant is really making calculated moves day by day and it’s not to be wished away.

3. Charts are likely going to mean less and less and major labels losing their mojo

It is obvious billboards have ruled the music industry for years but with the emergence of playlists from major streaming services hitting the scene so fast, a lot is going to change towards playlists rather than billboards and charts.

Also, major labels are going to continue losing big as more Indie and boutique labels continue the rising game. It's almost 2020 and more DIY trends have also hit the music promotion industry.

4. Sadly, the streaming music business will remain unprofitable

Although almost all streaming services are good at what they do, one thing they haven’t cracked is how to make serious money with the streaming service. Licensing deals will keep choking them, making them unprofitable.

Conclusion

From the foregoing, it's streaming music is gaining more grounds that we imagined a few years ago. As budding artists, it's critical to understand everything about these platforms and what potential they have your music career.

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