If Spotify is the distributor, SoundCloud is the entry gate. That’s how SoundCloud differentiates itself from its competition, according to CEO Kerry Trainor.

“We’re with artists from the very beginning of their journey,” he told Cheddar in an interview Wednesday.

Trainor pointed out that many of the artists who dominated the charts late last year started on SoundCloud up to six years ago.

“We’re with artists when they’re putting their first uploads into the world, generating their first fans...whereas most of the other services are really further on in artists’ journeys.”

On Wednesday, the music and podcast streaming platform launched its first-ever advertising campaign titled “First on SoundCloud,” spotlighting new, emerging artists.

The news came on the same day that rival streaming platform, Pandora, announced plans to buy AdsWizz -- an audio ad tech company -- to create “the largest digital audio advertising ecosystem.”

But the question of how to pay artists fairly for their music looms large for the entire streaming industry.

“We’re still in pretty early days,” said Trainor.

“The exciting thing about streaming is that we now have a clear model where a lot of revenue is returning to music. Not [too] many years ago, there was a question mark whether people would pay for access to music at all.”

Eventually, he said, the industry will find a way to fix the economics around this.