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The 5 Best Streaming Services for Artists

5. Amazon Music


As with Napster, Apple, and other streaming services, Amazon closely guards its user metrics; however, due to Amazon coupling its music service with its prime subscriptions it would be a fair assumption that they currently have one of the largest user bases in the streaming industry.

Earlier this year, an independent study found that indie artists were payed $0.0074 per play on Amazon. That number has decreased drastically though as Amazon now only pays . While the pay may not be great, Amazon does boast a considerable user base that allows for artists to get their music out to a larger number of new listeners.

4. Napster


Napster currently is the king of streaming payouts, with the service paying $0.01682 per play and according to sources that number is only going to steadily rise in the future. On average Napster now pays out $0.019 per stream. This means that to meet the monthly minimum wage amount in the US, an artists would only need 77,474 total plays.

One thing to take into consideration with Napster though is that it currently has 5 million paying subscribers and is losing around $7.00 per user. If this dollar loss per user continues the streaming service could eventually be shut down in the near future. While putting up your music on Napster may pay you well, it may not be the best idea to make it your main streaming platform for your fans. 

3. Spotify


Known among many indie artists as having the worst payouts out of any streaming service, Spotify has steadily increased its per-stream rate in recent months.

Last year, the service only paid a measly $0.0038 per play, but recently Spotify increased its per-stream payout to $0.00437 per play. Reportedly this number can fluctuate depending on the artists though. According to award-winning composer and cellist Zoe Keating, she received $0.00543 per play. At such a low per-play payout, artists will need hundreds of thousands of plays to earn $1,000. 

Spotify’s main advantage over its competitors though is its massive user base. With over 191 million monthly active users, the service has one of the largest number of users in the streaming industry. As an indie artist this colossal number of users will make it far easier to get more streams and automatically makes it an essential streaming service for musicians.

2. Tidal


Created by Jay-Z, Kayne, and others, Tidal has remained relatively friendly to artists reportedly paying out $0.01284 per stream earlier this year. The number recently has fallen slightly to $0.0125, but still remains high comparably to other services. Besides the high per-stream payouts, Tidal prides itself heavily on its unique features for artists and listeners specifically its high fidelity sound experience. 

Recently, the streaming platform has experienced multiple controversies including accusations of hackers utilizing users’ accounts to inflate Beyoncé and Kayne West’s total streams. 

Nevertheless, Tidal seems to be the perfect combination of friendly features and high per-stream payouts for artists making it one of the most attractive streaming platforms for artists.

1. Apple Music


Historically, Apple Music has paid artists much better than its streaming rivals, especially compared to Spotify.

Two years ago the service paid $0.0064 per stream, but that number has risen to $0.00735 recently.

Similar to other services, Apple closely guards its user metrics, but it can be assumed that it’s among the top three largest user bases. Considering Apple music has a massive fan base and one of the largest per-stream payouts in the industry it seems to be the best streaming service for artists; however as Tidal continues to gain users the service could eventually beat out Apple music for the top spot.

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