The Best Apps & Tools For Recording And Monetizing Music In The COVID-19 Era


The Best Apps & Tools For Recording And Monetizing Music In The COVID-19 Era

Here's a rundown of some easy-to-use apps and tools for recording and monetizing your music in the COVID-19 era

GRAMMYs/Jun 10, 2020 - 02:04 am

We are currently living in an unprecedented era around music creation and touring. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all business has been forced to become remote, making it difficult for artists to maintain their usual level of activity. Of course, though the music landscape looks totally different right now, artists are finding new and innovative ways to get their music heard, be it through livestreams, engaging with fans via social media or launching subscription models that offer exclusive content to fans. To that end, here's a rundown of some exciting new apps and tools for recording and monetizing your music in the COVID-19 era. 

Recording Tools

There are plenty of social media options for getting your work out there: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Twitch are just some of the possible platforms you can use to capture your recording. 

There's also a new all-in-one app called RMusic, which allows songwriters to collaboratively write music on the go. Not only does RMusic let you to record ideas directly onto a virtual project file, but you can punch in new lines, edit takes, invite other collaborators from your address book, type lyrics, undo takes and communicate with project members from within the app.

Live Broadcast & Streaming Channels

Facebook: According to a new Remote Musicians Handbook put together by the Berklee College of Music, Facebook is the best venue for livestreaming if your audience skews a little older. 

Instagram: Meanwhile, Instagram, which has a feature that allows other people to join your live stream as guests, is ideal for younger audiences. "Based on your social media engagement on each platform, you can make an informed decision about which platform will be best for your fans," the handbook writes. "Both of these are well-suited for unannounced livestreams as notifications will go out to engaged fans, as well as letting your fans know ahead of time when you will be streaming."

YouTube: Then there's YouTube, which offers a number of monetization options and scheduling tools, such as pre-stream and in-stream ads, donations and merch sales. YouTube will even notify your followers when you go live and will allow you to schedule a live stream ahead of time. And as the stream takes place, YouTube lets viewers ask questions and interact with the streamer. 

TikTok: If you're on the super music-friendly app TikTok, did you know that you can activate a live stream if you have more than 1,000 followers? Once watching your livestream, viewers can purchase stickers, and a portion of the money is donated to the streamer. According to the aforementioned handbook, on TikTok these purchases are made using "coins." Coins start at $0.99 for 65 coins and go up to $99.99 for 6,697 coins. In turn, users can buy stickers, called "Virtual Gifts," for anywhere from 1 to 100 coins.
Twitch: The video game streaming platform can be useful for engaging new fans. Because this app hosts as many as 4 million viewers at once (according to TwitchTracker) actively encourages discovering new streamers, artists can show up under Twitch's "Music & Performing Arts" section (with 2.3 million followers). Here, according to the handbook, "the music ranges from metal to violin covers to singer-songwriters, and is generally more diverse genre-wise than more mainstream platforms."

If you want to monetize your work on Twitch, know that streamers get paid when new subscribers follow them and viewers donate to the streamer. Some streamers use new followers and donations as mechanisms to unlock new content or segments. Some will take requests at certain follower count or donation levels, others run merch giveaways, or give followers access to exclusive content.

OBS Software: OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is free and open source software for video recording and live streaming. Stream to Twitch, YouTube and many other providers. Get live music on demand. offers a collection of more than 15,000 full-length concert recordings from the likes of Pearl Jam, Widespread Panic, Umphrey’s McGee, Dead & Company and more. Try it free with a 30-day trial.

Houseparty: This social networking service enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps. Users receive a notification when friends are online and available to group video chat. 

StageIt: Founded in 2009, Stageit is a web-based performance venue that hosts paid livestreamed performances. Artists choose when they want to perform, for how long, and how much they want to charge. 

Crowdcast: This video platform hosts live video Q&As, interviews, summits, webinars and more.

Streamlabs: This streaming platform can stream audio to Twitch, YouTube and Facebook. 

BandsInTown: Use BandsInTown to promote your live stream shows. You can even engage new fans and monetize shows through BandsInTown's Twitch partnership.

Fan & Membership Platforms

Patreon: Patreon gives fans access to exclusive artist content for a monthly fee, might be the first option that comes to mind when it comes to fan and membership platforms. But Patreon is only the beginning. Gumroad lets creators offer digital and physical products for sale, while its dashboard provides insight into how your sales are doing and how fans are consuming your content.

Squarespace: Offers subscription products in their store, integrating directly with your website and can be sold alongside your other merch products. 

Shopify: For $40/month, Shopify offers apps that allow you to offer subscriptions from your Shopify ecommerce store, which is helpful if you are offering physical goods as part of your subscription. 

Bandzoogle: Sell music, merch, downloads  and tickets, commission-free. Once you add a store, you can start selling music, downloads, tickets and band merch. Monthly fees start at $8.29.

Ghost: With Ghost, which is free to join, you can publish content online, grow an audience with email newsletters and make money from premium memberships.

Memberful: Memberful helps independent publishers, educators, and creators sell memberships to their audience and build sustainable businesses. You can integrate with Wordpress, send email newsletters, create private podcasts and more. Pricing is free to start and goes up to $25 or $100 per month.

Digital Production Marketplaces, including licensing and sell music, samples, and custom sounds:

Splice: Splice Studio gives you access to millions of royalty-free samples, MIDI and presets on mobile, web and desktop for $7.99/mo. 

ScoreAScore: This music production, licensing and supervision company puts producers in need of original music directly in contact with the composers who create it.

Beatstars: Beatstars is an online marketplace to buy and sell beats.

Putting The Plan Into Action

Now that you have the tools, all you need is to put a plan into action. The Remote Musicians Handbook suggests that you first analyze your audience to get a sense of their social media profiles. Then, you may want to run an unnanounced test live stream, just to get a sense of who's showing up. Then, schedule a series of announced live streams on the platform(s) of your choice. Once livestreams are part of your routine, consider partnering with artist friends on YouTube where you can cross-promote each other's work. From there, consider monetizing your work on Patreon with exclusive content. All the while, to engage new fans, hop on music-discovery tools TikTok and Twitch.

Now that you have the resources to build a fully functional music online platform from the safety and comfort of your home, the rest is up to you. Good luck!   

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Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More



Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2019 - 10:04 pm

In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.

"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.

Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.

"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."

Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American. 

"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."

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Poll: From "Dreams" To "The Chain," Which Fleetwood Mac Song Is Your Favorite?

Fleetwood Mac in 1975

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


Poll: From "Dreams" To "The Chain," Which Fleetwood Mac Song Is Your Favorite?

"Dreams" experienced a charming viral moment on TikTok after a man posted a video skateboarding to the classic track, and now it's back on the charts, 43 years later

GRAMMYs/Oct 16, 2020 - 04:00 am

In honor of Fleetwood Mac's ethereal '70s rock classic "Dreams," which recently returned to the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to a viral TikTok skateboard video from Nathan Apodaca, we want to know which of the legendary group's songs is your favorite!

Beyond their ubiquitous 1977 No. 1 hit "Dreams," there are so many other gems from the iconic GRAMMY-winning album Rumours, as well as across their entire catalog. There's the oft-covered sentimental ballad "Landslide" from their 1975 self-titled album, the jubilant, sparkling Tango in the Night cut "Everywhere" and Stevie Nicks' triumphant anthem for the people "Gypsy," from 1982's Mirage, among many others.

Vote below in our latest poll to let us know which you love most.

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Jay-Z And Meek Mill's REFORM Donates Surgical Masks To Vulnerable Prison Population

Meek Mill

Photo: Brian Stukes/Getty Images


Jay-Z And Meek Mill's REFORM Donates Surgical Masks To Vulnerable Prison Population

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says correctional facilities are particularly vulnerable places for COVID-19 to spread

GRAMMYs/Apr 7, 2020 - 05:01 am

Jay-Z and Meek Mill's criminal justice reform organization REFORM has donated roughly 100,000 surgical masks to correctional facilities including in the states of New York, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The organization said it donated 50,000 masks to New York City's Rikers Island Correctional Facility, 40,000 masks to the Tennessee Department of Correction and 5,000 to Mississippi State Penitentiary. Spin reports that an additional 2,500 masks were sent to a Rikers medical facility. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says correctional facilities are particularly vulnerable places for COVID-19 to spread.  

"Incarcerated/detained persons live, work, eat, study, and recreate within congregate environments, heightening the potential for COVID-19 to spread once introduced," according to the CDC. Other vulnerabilities include the fact that incarcerated people, for the most part, can't leave and, depending on the size of the facility, space for someone to medically isolate could be limited.

"We need to protect vulnerable people behind bars & GET THEM OUT!" REFORM said in a tweet. The organization sees this as a threat to public health and said on its website that it is working with experts and advocates "to develop a set of common-sense recommendations that would make us all SAFER."

They also announced on Twitter that they helped the South Carolina Department of Corrections locate 36,000 masks for their population. 

Across the nation, COVID-19 cases have been popping up in correctional facilities, including North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee

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Dreamville Festival 2020 Is Officially Canceled Due To COVID-19

J. Cole

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images


Dreamville Festival 2020 Is Officially Canceled Due To COVID-19

The second annual music festival from J. Cole's Dreamville Records squad and friends was first postponed from April until August, and will now have to wait until 2021

GRAMMYs/May 19, 2020 - 02:27 am

Dreamville Festival has announced they are canceling their 2020 event due to public safety concerns caused by coronavirus. The second annual edition of the one-day music fest, hosted by J. Cole and his talent-filled Dreamville Records, was originally slated to take place on April 6 at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, N.C., but was rescheduled to Aug. 29 after the pandemic struck the U.S.

Like countless other events that were set to take place this year, it will now have to wait until 2021. Dreamville says all 2020 ticket holders will be receive refunds soon.

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"After much deliberation and careful monitoring of the current situation, we have decided to cancel Dreamville Festival 2020. Although we originally hoped it would be possible to bring you the festival this August, the ongoing uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has made this timeline no longer possible. This decision has been extremely difficult to make, but the safety of our fans, artists, and staff is always our top priority, and nothing will ever take precedence over your well-being," the organizers wrote in a statement shared across their social channels and on the fest's website.

The message also shared details on refunds, noting that all tickets purchased online will automatically be refunded to the original payment method, beginning this week. Fans who bought physical tickets from official points of purchase can request a refund here.

"Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this. Please stay safe, healthy, and sane so we can reunite with you in 2021," the statement added.

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According to Pitchfork, the debut Dreamville fest also faced unforeseen setbacks; it was originally set for Sept. 15, 2018 at Dorothea Dix Park but was pushed to April 6, 2019, due to Hurricane Florence. The 2019 event featured performances from Dreamville head Cole and labelmates J.I.D, BAS and Ari Lennox, as well as SZA, Big Sean, 21 Savage, 6LACK, Rapsody, Nelly and other heavy-hitters in hip-hop and R&B.

No artists have been revealed yet for the second edition of the fest.

The Dreamville squad earned their first two collective GRAMMY nominations at the most recent 62nd GRAMMY Awards; for Best Rap Album for the collaborative Revenge Of The Dreamers III and Best Rap Performance for one of its singles, "Down Bad." Cole earned a total of five nods, including for his work on that project, and took him his first GRAMMY win for his feature on 21 Savage's "A Lot."

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