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Beyond the Stream: Why Audio Agnosticism Can Be the Key to Sustainable Artist Revenue

Working musicians know how difficult it is to make a living in the business these days.

It’s not just that booking shows has grown more difficult in the past year, or that merch makes up an ever-growing piece of the revenue pie for most indie acts. Real as they are, live-music struggles are almost beside the point for musicians just getting their feet in the door. They’re a “nice to have” problem.

The more immediate challenge for working musicians — one that often means the difference between making a living following one’s passion and, well, not — is claiming a fair share of streaming music revenue.

Today, just a handful of big names dominate the streaming music landscape. Spotify alone controls about a third of the U.S. market, according to a Forbes analysis, and disproportionately favors U.S.-based artists

Concentration isn’t the only issue, or even the most urgent. Streaming music platforms’ posture toward working musicians can generously be described as “exploitative” and perhaps less generously as “predatory.” 

Take your pick. Either way, the situation is not good.

A Better Way to Manage Artist Revenue?

Fortunately, artists and distributors no longer have to yoke themselves to powerful, opaque streaming platforms that usurp control over their work while doling out pennies on the dollar.

That’s thanks to SaaS platforms like Aux Mode, a comprehensive music IP solution with a long track record of creating real value for musicians in the streaming and social media ecosystems. That value comes not only through useful and totally free tools like Aux Mode’s YouTube revenue calculator or hashtag generator, which don’t even require an Aux Mode account to use. It also lives in a host of products and services built with musicians and music distributors in mind:

  • Cross-platform streaming revenue reporting
  • Digital rights protection, monitoring, and management
  • Cross-jurisdiction IP protection (including from outright audio and video theft)
  • Streaming content monetization support
  • Streaming revenue royalties automation (saving time and money on the back end)

Aux Mode exists to help musical creatives access untapped revenue potential while freeing themselves from unequal, quasi-exclusive relationships that serve only the platforms they “work for.” While it might still make economic sense for many working musicians to distribute their content on global platforms like Spotify and YouTube, Aux Mode ensures that this is just the starting point — rather than the endgame — for creatives with loftier ambitions.

Audio Agnosticism: The Key to Sustainable Artist Revenue

Aux Mode believes in audio agnosticism, the idea that creators should not be attached or obligated to individual streaming platforms beyond the plain letter of their contracts. Adam Rumanek, Founder of Aux Mode, remarked, “Nobody knows what future platforms will surface or what will happen if two platforms merge. It’s a huge uncertainty for creatives. Yet, creators are at a significant advantage when they add their content to all available platforms. It’s how you build an audience. The disadvantage without proper reporting, artists could lose significant revenue across platforms. That’s where Aux Mode comes in.” 

The idea is simple: to empower creators to diversify their audiences, expand their reach across established and novel distribution channels, and broaden their revenue opportunities. Audio agnosticism makes it possible for musicians to capture every penny that’s rightfully theirs. And Aux Mode enables it with transparent, cross-platform revenue reporting and ironclad protections that strengthen artists’ control over — and visibility into — their earnings across various platforms and territories.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Rumanek added, “The next wave of revenue streams will be affiliate programs. Artists can sell tickets or merchandise directly from their social media channels and receive a percentage of the purchases made by the individuals.” Having a way for artists to have clear cross-platform visibility of these types of revenue streams is essential to their success. 

Aux Mode supports audio agnosticism with several potent solutions for musicians and their allies:

  • Platform optimization and content management. Audio agnosticism is about diversification and equity. The platforms are still there — just as (more) equal partners. To that end, Aux Mode offers finely tuned optimization and management services for creators looking to get more out of major streaming platforms like YouTube. These include audience development strategy, content strategy, on-page content optimization, and playlist design and implementation.
  • Cross-platform content rights management. Having multiple revenue streams is a good thing, full stop. But it can get overwhelming, fast. And it’s not just about managing revenue. International rights management is an even bigger deal, because without solid IP protections, you might not get paid at all. Fortunately, Aux Mode has that covered.
  • Cross-platform data analytics. Data is upstream of revenue. To optimize the latter, you need a firm handle on the former. Aux Mode has that covered, too, with cross-platform — one might say “platform-agnostic” — data analytics that offer highly granular visibility into what’s working and what’s not.
  • Cross-platform revenue reporting. Wherever you earn revenue, Aux Mode tracks, reports, and makes sense of it. That saves you and your allies time and money, letting you focus on what you do best: making great music.
  • Streaming music royalty automation. Aux Mode cuts the overwhelming amount of work needed to track, report, and receive international music royalties right down to size. Its automated streaming music royalty automation solution is yet another snip at the rope tying musicians to individual platforms — trading the “convenience” of single-source revenue for the bounty of truly diversified, platform-agnostic earnings.
  • Streaming media consulting. Convenience only goes so far, of course. Where automation and reporting tools’ usefulness ends, Aux Mode provides a hands-on portfolio of services for musicians ready to take their business to the next level. Leveraging years of experience in the streaming wars and millions of real-world data points from individual artists and distributors, Aux Mode shares tools and expertise to make the impossible possible.

Toward a More Equitable Streaming Economy

Aux Mode is doing its part to level the playing field for musical creatives, publishing and composition rights holders, and distribution networks they depend on to thrive. 

It’s not the only one doing this work, of course. But many musicians continue to feel like not enough is being done, that most of the power and influence is in the opposite corner. 

In the meantime, individual creators can use Aux Mode and solutions like it to take control of their own financial and creative destinies while looking forward to a day when the streaming landscape is less concentrated and more equitable for all.