Spotify has faced a hit back this year from the #BrokenRecord campaign and reports that artists are not being paid fairly. The ‘Tip Jar’ Spotify activated for artists since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down live music and has been called a ‘slap in the face’. Yet, the streaming giant’s recent acquisition of SoundBetter might just be a move that lets millions of artists fairly monetise their skills online. This brings us to our SoundBetter review.
But what is SoundBetter? Are there SoundBetter alternatives that are better for artists? Is it worth the hype?
In this SoundBetter review, we’ll be spelling out exactly how SoundBetter could be the solution artists have been looking for in lockdown. Buckle up.
You can take comfort that SoundBetter is legit from the fact that it is part of the Spotify For Artists family. Additionally, each vendor has reviews of their services.
Firstly, anyone starting a music project will browse through profiles by instrument/production skill and genre specialism.
The creative will then produce a proposal, which evaluates what they want and what you’re able to offer for a set price. The job is funded securely through SoundBetter (via PayPal).
If the two agree, files can be exchanged (sheet music, mp3’s, logic files, etc) and parts can be sent back and forth with comments and revisions for the final cut.
Lastly, once the final version is agreed upon and the project is completed, the provider’s funds are released via PayPal. It’s worth noting, SoundBetter do take a small cut from the payment as their commission.
The services on offer via SoundBetter are varied. But popular services include producers, singers, recording studio engineers, and more. All genres are welcome and there is a broad spectrum of price ranges. Providers can set their own rates on their profile and negotiate at the proposal stage.
Lastly, SoundBetter is truly global. We’re talking 176 countries, 14,000 cities, 50,000 musicians. This is really useful for networking!
Firstly, Spotify Canvas is the latest addition to SoundBetter. A new category of visual artists paired to music.
Spotify Canvas is the looped visuals that accompany streaming tracks on Spotify. There are a host of metrics on why including these visuals can boost engagement. Notably, the fact that listeners are 145% more likely to share the track with friends or add it to their playlists (20%).
The looping images are 3-8 seconds long and are a fresh new branding mode. Canvas designers are now available on SoundBetter providing music video editing and abstract animation. Additionally, it provides moving photo overlays and 3D motion graphics.
Visual artists already on the platform include Blunt Action Studios (Bad Bunny, Blackbear) and WEWRKWKNDS (Billie Eilish, Zedd, Katy Perry).
A useful perk of using the SoundBetter platform is that even basic (free) profiles benefit from how the software records exchange files.
The clear paper trail showing who provides what means that copyright concerns about competing claims should be no more. Simply return to the paper trail if there are any disputes – it’s all done in writing.
The SoundBetter Customer service is also reachable through email, phone, and chat for support on projects. They can backtrack through the files for you if needed. Acting as an objective third party in case of any disputes.
This SoundBetter review wouldn’t be complete without going over the SoundBetter fees, let’s jump in!
SoundBetter Basic is free to use. With a 5% commission being taken on payments to cover the project management tools, verified reviews and job leads the platform gives access to.
Another membership feature of SoundBetter is the Premium program. For basic members, they can only get jobs by being invited by clients. With Premium, you can appear higher in searches (so clients are more likely to contact you) but also you get access to the job board.
This means you can send proposals directly to clients. Premium members’ proposals are selectively screened to assure clients that premium proposals are high quality. But this reduces competition. Making it more likely Premium members close more jobs.
The one catch is that applying for Premium doesn’t guarantee you will be accepted. SoundBetter accepts applicants based on specialist demand to ensure their platform remains balanced.
SoundBetter Premium costs £43.50/month and you can get a 15% discount if you lock in for a year with a fee of £480/year (15% discount).
As mentioned above, Premium gives you first dibs on providers with access to the jobs’ board and the ability to send proposals – that will be flagged as ‘professional provider’ to clients.
Lastly, the only snag is that having the money won’t guarantee you of Premium listing. Premium profiles are screened, and oversaturated skill-types may be a lot harder to get placed in.
In theory, SoundBetter is a great concept and provides a lot of benefits pretty cheaply. However, it doesn’t come without problems.
As with any freelancing work, dispute may develop over the quality of work, turnaround time, the payment process or the copyright. The best way to avoid this is to use the site as it was intended to be used. Keep all payment and communication on the platform.
If you use the SoundBetter platform for all your professional discussions and file exchanges, it acts as a moderator. Ensuring that both parties can refer back to initial agreements without one changing the requirements later in the game.
Also, as many musicians will testify, the most challenging part about getting freelance gigs like this is getting paid fairly. SoundBetter operates based on exceptional talent and no gigs are expected to be free or ‘exposure’.
The fact the job must be fully funded via PayPal before it begins gives peace of mind to both parties that they can trust in the process and enjoy creating together.
SoundBetter, arguably, is not a tool for amateurs or artists who work in lots of divergent genres. It’s great if you’re a pro/semi-pro and have one or two clear niches.
Lastly, your profile, credits, and reviews are absolutely crucial. So building a convincing profile with a clear specialism and experience to back it up is the best strategy for success.
In this section we will go over some alternatives to SoundBetter for some super useful comparisons!
Firstly, a popular choice for all things freelance. Fiverr gets a lot of traffic and the sign up for providers is free.
The speed at which you can find and hire talent on Fiverr is probably unrivaled. However, as the name might imply, most gigs are pretty low-paid and the number of members who attain Pro status (Business to Business) is roughly 1%.
Frequently, reviews complain of poor-quality work and providers may – fairly – feel their services are being undervalued if they’re making £5 for a job.
Although it’s popular, it probably doesn’t compare with SoundBetter who specialise in high-quality music collaborations.
A close SoundBetter competitor, Melody Nest offers a very similar set of features.
The difference? SoundBetter has far more artists and far more traffic. This is a pro and a con. It’s a lot easier to stand out with a profile on Melody Nest (the competition is far lower compared with SoundBetter) but that also indicates there are fewer gig opportunities.
It could be strategic to start out building your marketplace profile on Melody Nest now so that it is very strong by the time the company, inevitably, expands.
Another site like SoundBetter is Music Gateway!
We actually provide our own marketplace for audio and music professionals to connect and collaborate. With all the online file sharing capabilities of SoundBetter and unlimited cloud storage capabilities!
Remote collaboration couldn’t be easier with a process (very similar to SoundBetter) of posting a project and seeing who connects with your concept.
Shortlisting talent is simple and then you can get to work on the cloud workspace. Annotating mp3 files and sharing files until your track is just about perfect!
Although we may be a little biased, what makes Music Gateway so useful is that it is an integrated platform. You can transition from making your track to sending it to pros. Getting it placed on sync playlists (think Netflix, BBC, Universal) and finding music supervisors or labels.
Check out who we work with here! At Music Gateway, collaboration is king.
We believe that SoundBetter enables artists to continue making money and to continue their projects in lockdown. It also allows musicians to broaden their reach beyond their local area and meet some awesome artists along the way.
Lastly, we recommend checking out all the competition. As for different artists, different platforms may be more suited.
If you have used SoundBetter, let us know your experience in the comments section below! Also whilst you’re here, why not check out our articles on Music Collaboration: How-To And Why or Mixing Music: A Beginners Guide On How To Mix Music!