Too Many Music Services?

Too Many Music Services?

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little dizzy from the flood of music services hitting the market each week.

Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Grooveshark, Audiovroom, Audiosocket, Ujam, Rdio, MOG, TuneStat and ScoreBig are roaring in next to “veteran” services Nimbit, CDBaby, Reverbnation, Sonicbids, Tunecore, Topspin and Bandcamp.

Then, making less noise but still vying for position, are Indaba, FanBridge, JamSpot, Bandzoogle, Pledge Music, RiffSpot, Songkick, uPlaya, Moof, Moogis, Mooso, Mugasha, not to mention StompBox, studio.HD, JamPad, beatScore, Kyte, Ringtone Maker Pro, SoundHound, SoundManager, Social Offer, PolyChord, SoundMatrix and the thousands of other apps flooding our screens…good Lawd!

Hey, I have nothing against a little capitalist competition, and most of these certainly vary. But don’t you think this is getting a little ridiculous? Who has the time to check all these out, apply them to one’s music projects, and assess their worth?

Not me, that’s for sure.

Even those services that pass the test of a respected reviewer’s critical eye number in the dozens.

Some music services have more at stake, especially those trying to corner the musical ‘cloud’, the poetic name for online storage and software that promises to make lifetimes worth of songs available to anyone, anywhere, as long as those people and places have Internet connections.

In light of all this, I found the following words of Big Champagne’s Eric Garland, especially apt:

The highly anticipated era of music that flows like water and lives in the cloud will be demonstrated in the end to be just another way to enjoy it. …No one thing will be everything. We are so breathless in our expectations for things like Spotify, Google Music Service or what Apple will do in the cloud. But what history is trying to show us is that each new choice will be one among many and sizable audiences will enjoy consuming music using them all. And frankly, that is the toughest psychological break for industry veterans to make with the past. Stop thinking that it’s going to be one thing all the time. That will never be the market again.

So be it. In the meantime, in the immortal words of Joni Mitchell, I suppose I’ll have to deal with “the crazies you get from too much choice.”

No point here; just a vent. Anyone else feeling this?





  1. Zed Salt

    I remember when everyone was saying you had two choices: post on and get lost among the major label products or become part of the Indie community at I stil have music on a site that garnered hits from several thousand distinct IPAs/day, went through a major site redesign, and is still operating…with hits from about a half-dozen IPAs/day. I don’t know that there’s been a remarkable increase in the total number of such sites, though. I found over forty in pretty short order that met a variety of criteria nearly a decade ago. Quantity doesn’t mean nearly so much as quality, of course.

    • Yeah, like Einstein said, Not everything that can be counted counts.

  2. coincidence,
    instead of choosing by analysing this endless possibilities we will simply choose by attraction like me toaday reading this post instead of deleting the email.

    • Not feeling guilty for ignoring the ‘endless possibilities’ is the challenge.

      Thanks Nic.

  3. Yes I agree! It’s too difficult to narrow it down to just one fits all service but it’s also difficult to trial so many different products as well! The paradox of choice I guess the best bet would be to search out for services that fit your needs and work with those need to have instead of just the nice to haves. At the end of the day it’s about enjoying and creating music.

    • “At the end of the day it’s about enjoying and creating music.”

  4. crazy? yes. too much? way. opportunity? unbelievable. need help? like never before. I AM excited about my first big new release push and would love any advice on THE (if there is such a thing in music marketing/promotion) way to go. any book recomendations?….all inclusive would be nice….but hey, beggers can’t be choosey ….(or they may starve)….right? I think I’ll take anything at this point.

    • “Your Successful CD Release” by Dave Cool and myself is a highly recommended starting place to help you get a plan worked out for your release:

  5. Catherine Radbill

    hi, Peter,

    I couldn’t agree more. How do we sort through the abundance, especially with so many services using similar names (Sound…Social…Cloud…).

    BTW, what’s the source of that magnificent quote from Eric Garland? I’d like to use it.

    Catherine Radbill, NYU

    • That quote came from an interview with Eric in a recent issue of Music Row Magazine out of Nashville. June or July?

      Thanks for reading Catherine.

  6. I’m planning on hiring an intern from one of the local universities to research all that for me when I get close to releasing. I need to figure out what my target demographic is plus I want my music the best place it might actually get noticed. I don’t have time between writing, recording and a full time job. Perhaps I may post a report or two.

  7. I’m gonna assign the assessments to my students!

  8. Each case is different. Business in music is the same as any business. You need to create demand and you need customers and you need a good product and you need a way to sell stuff and you need a sufficient profit margin. A lot of the services are one piece of the puzzle. You don’t need to understand or use them all. Just the ones that work for you. You can throw your hands up in the air or you can try stuff out. Most of it is free or cheap at first. Cheaper than pressing 1000 CDs that then sit in the trunk of your car. If it’s your first album, remember that Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to master something. How many hours do you have left until mastery? We think we are at the height of the Amazon/Netflix/Google era, but this is the tip of the iceberg. Every single industry is going to experience massive shifts of automation and connectedness. As professionals in the music industry, we have the luck of being able to catch up to this new economy before many other fields. Embrace it. And leverage the new tools for efficiency, independence, and freedom. But yes there are a lot of music services right now. There will be more. And then there will be a shakedown in the marketplace. And then there will be a few services. And they will get as big as Facebook and Google. And then bloggers will write about how few services there are. 🙂

    • We all have to watch that the quest for mastery isn’t de-railed by all that window shopping.

      “And then bloggers will write about how few services there are.”
      Whoa – imagine THAT?!

      Thanks for sharing Dmitri

      • “We all have to watch that the quest for mastery isn’t de-railed by all that window shopping.”

        Good point! I don’t think everyone should try everything. But why not try one in each main category of service (distribution, direct-to-fan retail, self-publishing, list management). Tweak them as you go (by either changing the strategy on each or changing to another provider). Then 3-6 months later after mastering those, try some of the other categories (mobile app, press platform, licensing, booking, etc.). Method among madness.


  9. the question is… is it about music at all? or commerce?

  10. Hey great site and I enjoyed it!

  11. Yeah, I totally had the same thought recently. However, I think you can simplify the chaos a bit by categorising the services. Then you have just a couple of services in every category – still a lot though 🙂

    I’m not sure if I agree entirely with Eric Garland’s statement. We are still in a transition phase but in the long run I think we will see just a couple of big companies dominating the music distribution sector.

    I also remember the times. In my opinion, they were way ahead of their time. They started a kind of cloud music service around 2000. They had an ad-funded business model that paid artists (payback for playback). All things that are very topical today again.

    I just started my blog. Have a look if you like.
    Greets from Sydney

  12. Peter, you read my mind!!! No way an Indie Musician can do it all on their own anymore without picking and choosing. And what drives me crazy is you put tons of effort into one thing , for example with social networking for musicians (because labels / bookers / venues / etc. say they want to see your “following”)i.e. myspace when it was “the” thing for musicians to have, getting “friends”, then it became yesterday’s news. Now should we focus on collecting followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook, then next we know that is old news too??? ARGH!!!!! Only so much time in a day. Heard John Mayer just quit Twitter so he could use his creativity on songwriting again instead of clever tweets.

  13. I am extremely happy to land on this website, just what I was looking for. Fanned : D

  14. I absolutely love this blog and the comments!

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