It’s an exciting, and scary, time to work in music.

Any musician with talent (and luck) can build a digital fan base from scratch, though breaking through the noise, particularly as millions of AI-generated tracks spread across social, can feel daunting.

The opportunity for artists to get discovered without big-label backing is greater than ever as platforms like TikTok democratize discovery. There are also more tools to help artists and their teams save time on tasks like marketing, track mastering, and collaborating with other creators.

“We’ve moved from monolithic record labels that control everything to now I can record, distribute, collaborate, and basically do everything myself,” Jordan Bradley, founder and CEO of the audio-collaboration platform Highnote, told Business Insider.

Tech platforms have made it easier for different parts of the music industry to work together, whether that’s using artificial intelligence to mix and master a track with tools like RoEx’s Automix, or building a matchmaking platform like Surf Music to connect songwriters with industry buyers.

“There’s massive demand for better tools that help musicians connect in the creative process,” Sam Hamad, CEO of the music file-sharing platform Offtop, told BI. “Musicians want easier workflows.”

But as beneficial as tech has been for the industry, it can also create major headaches for artists, threatening to disrupt how they make money.

Subtle changes to algorithms or remittance policies at platforms like Spotify can send the industry into a frenzy.

And, the rise of generative AI has raised existential questions about how artists and other creators will be compensated for their work in a world where AI can spit out songs in seconds. Industry professionals (and their lawyers) are scrutinizing how AI models are trained and evaluating new ways to pay creators for derivative work. Entertainment lawyers are busy crafting ways to protect against AI companies exploiting their clients’ intellectual property.

“People are scared about AI,” Gregg Lehrman, CEO of the music-creation platform Output, told BI. “Like the Wild West of any industry, you’re going to have a moment where some people are jumping on the technology to express themselves artistically and to do cool things, but others are going to feel violated.”

Still, the music industry is benefiting from the tech revolution in many ways, collecting billions in revenue from streaming apps and other platforms.

For our third annual list of impactful music-tech startups, BI looked for companies that are changing the ways music is created, distributed, and consumed in 2024. We asked industry sources and our readers for input on who we should consider and our reporting determined who made the list. We did not include companies that had previously been featured in this series.

Here are 14 music-tech companies to watch, listed below in alphabetical order:

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