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Nikhil Anand, a graduate student in Berklee Valencia’s Master of Arts in Global Entertainment and Music Business program, has built a new online tool that helps users calculate the value of their music across all streaming platforms. That tool, What’s My Stream?, grew out of an assignment from his Music Business Finance class that asked students to create their own version of CreateSafe’s Record Deal Simulator, a platform released last year that gained attention for bringing more transparency to the music industry.
“It was a very interesting tool and a great step towards creating more clarity in music business practices. However big that step was, the CreateSafe tool does still have its issues and room for improvement,” Anand wrote in a Medium article outlining his creation process.
What’s My Stream? builds on CreateSafe’s work in a number of ways. First, it makes sure that users see what they have earned as income, rather than costs associated with their record deal. Second, it adds a functionality that tells the user how much they will make on average, per stream on Spotify, Apple Music, and other platforms. “We took a weighted average of the biggest streaming services payout compared to their market share. We found letting users adjust the stream value based on the platforms they uploaded to to be a much more informative approach than having the user set, or sometimes guess, this value,” said Anand.
Record deal simulators use a number of factors—including costs, type of record deal, how much a streaming service pays per stream, and the number of people who worked on a song—to model how much money a song can make. Given this complexity, Anand designed What’s My Stream? to “account for all this information and synthesize it in an elegant way that anyone can understand.”
He had help from Alexandre Perrin, who teaches the Music Business Finance course, and faculty member Pete Dyson. “We started making our version at first on a spreadsheet. Soon after starting, we asked Professor Dyson to help us with fine-tuning our model and the best way to add publishing revenues to it. We all met several times to make sure the math was sound, and the terms used were just as accurate,” said Anand.
Sam Vincent, a student of the Master of Music in Music Production, Technology, and Innovation program, became a partner on this project. “Sam and I met through the Berklee Coding Club. After we published the streaming calculator as a Google Sheet, the obvious next step was to make it into a website, as it freed us to add functionality not available on a spreadsheet. When Sam heard about it, he was super keen on joining,” says Anand.
The next steps for What’s My Stream? are to keep improving by adding features such as writing splits for the publishing section and making the design more mobile friendly.
Anand, who holds a degree in business administration, believes that his streaming calculator will help shift attitudes towards artist empowerment and transparency in the streaming age. “We will start to see more tools and platforms for musicians, which is great for everyone,” he says.