How to Upload Your Music to All Services: 12 Music Distributors Review
Alright, rockstars and up-and-coming maestros, you’ve created some rad tunes and now you’re itching to get them out to the world, right? Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, TikTok – you want to be EVERYWHERE! But, wait, how do you do that without sending a million emails or knocking on every corporate door? Enter the world of music distributors. Let’s dive into this universe, learn the ropes, and get your music jamming in everyone’s headphones.
Music Distributors Guide
What’s a Music Distributor, Anyway?
Think of music distributors as the middlemen. You give them your tunes, and they, in turn, make them available on various streaming platforms, online music stores, and sometimes even physical locations. You don’t have to deal with each service individually; they’ve got you covered.
Popular Music Distributors: The Big Players
Quick deets: Flat annual fee, unlimited uploads, keeps no royalties.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a ton of cash to drop, DistroKid can be your jam. For a yearly fee, you can upload unlimited tracks. Plus, they boast of getting your music onto platforms super-fast. And the cherry on top? They don’t keep any of your royalties!
Quick deets: Free distribution options, offers promotional tools, retains a percentage of royalties.
OneRPM is quite popular and offers a range of services beyond just distribution. If you’re feeling lost in the sea of the music biz, they provide tools and resources to help you promote your stuff. While they do offer free distribution, remember they’ll take a slice of your royalty pie.
Quick deets: Per-release fee structure, zero royalty cut.
TuneCore is another heavy hitter in the distribution world. While you do pay for each single/album you release, the good news is they don’t touch your royalties. They also give you detailed revenue reports, so if you’re a bit of a data nerd, this could be your pick.
4. CD Baby
Quick deets: One-time distribution fee, offers CD and vinyl distribution, takes a percentage of royalties.
Oldie but goldie, CD Baby has been in the game for a while. Aside from digital, they also offer CD and vinyl distribution. They take a cut from your royalties, but they also have a slew of promotional tools and services available.
5. CDBaby’s Big Sibling: HearNow
Quick deets: It’s not just about music; it’s about your entire web presence.
In 2019, Bandzoogle and HostBaby joined forces, allowing CD Baby to move away from web hosting and focus entirely on music distribution, creating tools for independent artists and helping them collect royalties around the world.
Quick deets: AI-driven mastering and digital distribution combined.
LANDR initially made waves with its AI-powered mastering service, allowing artists to get tracks mastered in minutes. Now, they’ve stepped into the distribution game. Pay a yearly fee, and you can distribute unlimited tracks. Plus, if you use their mastering service, it’s a seamless transition from mastering to distribution.
Quick deets: Selective about their artists, no upfront fees, but they take a cut from your revenue.
AWAL is a bit different. They don’t charge you upfront to distribute your music. Instead, they take a cut from your streaming and sales revenue. But there’s a catch: they’re selective about whom they work with. If you’re accepted, you’ll benefit from their extensive industry knowledge and promotional support.
Quick deets: Comprehensive services beyond just distribution.
Along with getting your tracks on major platforms, Symphonic Distribution offers playlist pitching, video monetization, and even physical distribution. Their pricing model is based on the number of releases, and they also offer custom packages.
Quick deets: More than just distribution; a community of artists.
ReverbNation provides tools not just for distribution but for overall artist growth. This includes electronic press kits, gig-finding tools, and more. They offer various packages, some focusing solely on distribution, while others encompass a broader range of artist services.
Quick deets: Mobile-first, free distribution, and they might even sign you!
Amuse is a relatively new player but has a unique model. It’s entirely free, and they distribute your music while collecting and paying out 100% of the royalties to you. How do they make money? By identifying and signing promising talent. If they see potential in you, they might offer a record deal.
Quick deets: Affordable distribution with a social network for musicians.
MusicDiffusion not only offers very affordable distribution options but also acts as a social network, connecting musicians, singers, and producers. They have various pricing options, including a free tier with a per-release fee.
Quick deets: Reach global audiences, with pricing based on the number of tracks.
Focused on reaching listeners worldwide, iMusician offers distribution to over 250 platforms. Their pricing varies based on the number of tracks and offers different tiers, including a pro unlimited option.
The Step-by-Step Guide to Using a Distributor
1. Prepare Your Tracks
Before anything, ensure your tracks are mixed, mastered, and in the appropriate format (generally WAV). Also, make sure you have the rights to distribute the music. No sneaky business!
2. Choose Your Distributor
Based on your budget, needs, and where you are in your music journey, pick a distributor. Maybe start with a free option and as you grow, explore other platforms.
3. Create an Account & Fill in the Details
This is where you’ll provide all the necessary info about your track or album – title, artist name, release date, genre, etc. Be thorough!
4. Upload Your Tracks
Use the platform’s dashboard to upload your music files. This is also where you’d upload album art, so make sure it’s high quality and represents your tunes.
5. Choose Your Platforms
Want to be on just Spotify and Apple Music? Or perhaps EVERYWHERE? Select where you’d like your music to be distributed.
6. Set a Release Date
You can drop your tracks ASAP or schedule a future release date. Timing can be everything, especially if you’re planning promotions around the launch.
7. Review & Submit
Double-check, triple-check everything. Once you’re sure, hit that submit button.
8. Monitor and Promote
Once your music’s out, use the distributor’s analytics to see how you’re doing. And don’t forget to promote your tracks on social media, gigs, and through any other creative methods you can think of!
Dos and Don’ts of Music Distribution
- Research thoroughly before picking a distributor. The best fit for another artist might not be the best for you.
- Understand the fee structure. Some might seem cheap initially but could take a bigger cut from your royalties.
- Stay updated with any changes in the distributor’s terms or policies.
- Rush the process. Ensure everything from your track quality to metadata is on point.
- Put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your presence. Maybe even consider using multiple distributors if it fits your strategy.
- Forget to promote. Distributors can get your music onto platforms, but driving traffic and listens? That’s on you!
The world of music distribution is vast, and the best fit will depend on your specific needs, budget, and career goals. As the music industry continues to evolve, new distributors are bound to pop up while existing ones may adjust their offerings. Always do your homework, read the fine print, and choose the platform that aligns best with your vision as an artist. Now, go forth, and let the world groove to your beats!