Spotify Vs Pandora Vs Apple Music Vs Soundcloud: Which Is Better For Musicians?

Spotify Vs Pandora Vs Apple Music Vs Soundcloud: Which Is Better For Musicians?

Written by Jaron Lewis & Omari MC

Streaming music is really the big thing right now, which means that all musicians who want to make it need to get their music on these top internet radio sites. But you do need to make some important decisions as to where your music is going to get played.

This means you need to know the difference in marketing strategies between Spotify and Pandora, so we will discuss Spotify vs. Pandora vs. SoundCloud vs. Apple Music in 2017.

All have their upsides, but is Spotify really better than Apple Music or Soundcloud? These are all things that you need to know before getting into the internet music business.


Spotify pays around $0.0011 per stream to musicians. This website offers a lot of great features for artists, such as sending out emails and other notifications to their followers when they release new music. They also integrate Songkick and Merchbar into the website for artists to use. Songkick shows any dates for upcoming shows that you may have and Merchbar gives a spot for users to list and sell their merchandise. There is also a wide array of marketing and data tools artists have access to on their site.

It is arguably harder to pick up momentum on Spotify as other platforms listed here. For Spotify promotion, one must be added to playlists or promoted via other social media. There is really no way to directly share music within the platform other than that.



The first thing to note is that Pandora pays artists $0.0017 per stream for what is called a blended rate of “advertising/subscription”. Artists are able to create an audio before or after streaming their songs for marketing purposes. There is a “Featured Tracks” area where artists are able to promote their songs or to get feedback from listeners. Pandora also allows for integration with Ticketfly so that artists can optimize any promotions for upcoming events and to allow listeners to buy tickets right from the site.  

Cons: The downside is Pandora isn't really all that innovative. Spotify already has a radio function on it as well, in addition to many more features that Pandora doesn't have. Pandora was first to market in the space, so that is why their name is still known, but the site itself isn't all that unique of a platform anymore.

Apple Music

It is estimated that Apple Music pays artists $0.0013 every time the song is streamed. Through Connect, artists are able to discuss things on their feed as well as posting links that are relevant to promoting their music.

However, Apple Music was very late to the market. The Apple brand has been delayed in innovation as of late, but it won't hurt an artist to be on the platform.

I wouldn't focus on Apple Music over Spotify or SoundCloud, but it might be worth a look to get on a couple playlists in the platform.


While there is no set pay rate for when your music is streamed, if you are fortunate enough to get an invitation to their top tier program Premier you can earn money from your music through ad revenue sharing.

If you’re not yet invited, you’ll have to go through a SoundCloud monetization program like the one they have on BeatStarsThe downside to these programs is that it takes longer to turn on the monetization whereas it is instant with Spotify or YouTube once uploaded.

You can track important data about who is listening to your music so you can better market to them. SoundCloud also allows artists to engage with fans to get feedback about their music.  Another notable thing is that you can tag your music for SEO purposes. There are 4 different tiers of SoundCloud that you can choose from, though you will have to pay for some of these features.

Lastly, SoundCloud promotion is the most readily accessible because of the ever coveted repost function. A SoundCloud repost is one of the easiest ways to get discovered. On Spotify you must be added to a playlist for promotion and that process is different than simply getting a repost.




The fact is that each of these streaming services offers something beneficial to artists.

SoundCloud is certainly an upcoming website that has a lot of potential, but you have to know how to work each of these platforms to get the best outcome, and no two are exactly the same.

Definitely have your music on SoundCloud & Spotify, and if your music distributor (Tunecore/CdBaby) also throws in the other streaming services at no charge, why not have them on there, right?

Just remember that you cannot expect to make a fortune off of these sites. Even an artist who gets over a million streams on one of these sites, may only make a few thousand dollars. These are great for promotional purposes and to help grow your audience.

Be sure you equip yourself with a full music marketing plan instead of just relying on streaming income.




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