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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Rakel

Lessons to 30: Choosing Music Services as and Independent Artist

Updated: Apr 16

The music industry is oversaturated with artists trying to get their music heard. It’s resulted in thousands of companies popping up, offering services to help artists get streams on the various digital platforms as well as pushing their music to radio and other press. Most artists I know, myself included, use these companies to help push releases, but you have to be incredibly careful when it comes to selecting a company.

A lot of these services are complete and utter scams. Promising a set number of streams for a small price? Run. These companies are most likely using bots which, in the end, you’ll be penalized for. The best way to go is organic. If a company really is organic, they won’t offer a set number of streams. Why? It’s impossible to know how well your track will do and if it will resonate with playlist curators, radio hosts and other press. That can only be surmised once the campaign for your release is under way.

I am an impatient person when it comes to getting results, so I understand the god awful feeling of plunging into the unknown when you get to release day. I hate when people ask me how the track is doing on the first day, let alone the first week. Companies who truly take an organic route will space out their pitches over a month meaning you’ll see results gradually. One major plus though is that I’ve experienced much better growth in my Spotify following when going the organic route.

When I was inexperienced, I made the mistake of using a company who offered a set number of streams. They were steeply priced, and I know that the playlists they pitched to were legit, but since speaking with other artists on what to look out for in a company pushing music, for the most part we all seem to agree that a company offering a set amount of streams is slightly dodgy. There are no guarantees when it comes to the likeability of your music and that’s what makes using music services so nerve-racking. They can’t really tell you how the track will be received, so you might be blowing a load of money on something that won’t see results.

Here are my tips for picking appropriate music service providers:

  • Have they had success with artists similar to you? I’ve used companies that promised me a lot of success but would prioritize artists they preferred over me. It’s really really important that the person/company you work believes in you.

  • Have a phone call or meeting with them. If your gut feeling says it’s not right, chances are it’s not.

  • Reach out to artists who have used them before and ask about their experience.

  • Ask other artists for recommendations.

  • Do they offer a fixed number of streams? already know how I feel about this *dodgy*

  • Ask how often they will communicate with you. Several times, I’ve enlisted the help of companies/freelancers where I have had to chase them for results. It’s not a nice feeling and definitely results in me not using their services again. Discuss in the beginning how frequently you'll get feedback.

  • Make sure your goals align. Many of these companies offer multiple services, for example, press coverage, radio push and streaming. You might not be interested in all of these services, so make sure you’re aligned with your goals for the release.

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