Although I find Spotify immensely convenient, I occasionally read that music streaming services like Spotify has small payouts to artists. With new solutions like Cloud Player, where one can stream files from e.g. Dropbox, I wonder if it might be a just-as-convenient solution in many ways to buy songs and albums and host them via Dropbox. And I might end up saving money over time, since the cost of the music that I actually listen to might be less than the subscription fees to Spotify.

My question is then: Which digital medium should I choose to maximize artists' profits?

  • 1
    It's perhaps too much information for the question asked, and there are already some good answers, but those concerned with this subject may find interesting this infographic online.berklee.edu/… about the music business revenue streams. Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 17:08

2 Answers 2


Whenever I really like an artist, I'll make sure I buy the album (usually off iTunes), although I'll still listen to them on Spotify. I think the best thing you can do in this situation is buy the album digitally, because there aren't physical production costs to it. In order to really support an artist, though, make sure you attend a concert if they have one in your area - that is how they actually make most of their money.


Spotify is notorious for underpaying artists. The margins for the artists are better when you purchase the music on iTunes or Amazon, but the best margins are on services specifically designed to channel more of the money to artists like Bandcamp. If you want a streaming service, Tidal claims to offer the best artist payouts in the streaming category.

It's also important to remember that unless the artist is directly releasing their own music, their payout actually goes through their label and/or management which further reduces what they make.

  • Agree with both points, but on the latter... omg, the admin! I used to have a large-scale publishing/record company/promo etc deal who of course took their pound of flesh for trying to make you 'the next big thing'. My partner always worked in publishing/A&R. Between us we have a fair idea of how the business works [or worked, we're a bit out of touch now] but neither of us would dream of doing our own admin/promo for anything other than a 'throw it at the wall & see if it sticks' release. Even those I tend to give to AWAL these days.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 19:51
  • So you're saying that having a label or equivalent is expensive but worthwhile? Also, I had to look AWAL up --based on that search, I'm assuming you're talking about Artists Without A Label? Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 20:09
  • That's the one Chris, yup. I just like their attitude, & the deal is 'fair' - from their site... "The AWAL deal is a simple digital distribution license with a 30 day rolling term which means that you can terminate your agreement with us at any time on 30 days’ notice. We take a 15% share of revenues that we collect for you. There are no additional fees for distribution and no upfront or annual fees for uploading or storing your releases with AWAL."
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 20:13
  • Sorry, on your first point, I'd say ... a deal is well worth it if you've got Sony, Universal throwing their weight around. If you don't, then the admin is going to kill you, you won't have any time or energy left for music. Giving the deal to the likes of AWAL doesn't sort out your media publicity nor your tour dates, but it does handle what used to be the 'record release & distribution'.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 20:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.