Before you even think about distributing your music, you must first understand how music distribution works! The first step is to create a profile on any one of the many online music distribution platforms. The easiest way to do this is by using one of these free music distribution platforms. These platforms allow users to upload their music and get it distributed across different streaming channels.
Once you’ve set up an account, it’s time to upload your tracks! Uploading your songs will allow them to be streamed through streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud. This allows listeners to hear your tunes in their favorite platform!
Once uploaded, it’s time for the next step: submitting them for licensing! This involves sending a copy of your submission with all relevant information in order for broadcasters to decide whether or not they want to license your track and distribute it further down the line.
The last step is promoting your track! Promoting tracks is crucial when it comes to getting noticed by potential listeners and getting more plays on services such as Spotify, Apple Music or SoundCloud. Promoting tracks involves sharing links across social media channels such as Twitter/Facebook/Instagram
Music Distribution Services
Music streaming has become a major source of revenue for artists, with over half of all music consumed in the US being streamed. The best way to benefit from this trend is to sign up with a music distributor. They will handle the logistics of getting your music to these outlets, including uploading it to their servers.
Here are the best music distribution services for independent artists looking to get their music on these platforms.
Distokid distributes your music to all the major music stores and streaming services. Upload unlimited albums and songs for $19.99 a year. Royalties and rights remain 100% with the artists.
With over ten million tracks available to buy or stream, Distrokid is one of the largest distributors in the world.
With Distrokid Premium, users can upload unlimited files for just $4 per month. A free trial is also available for one month without auto-renewal.
Tunecore is a digital music distribution company that helps in music discovery, royalty collection, and artist development. Artists receive 100% profits from their albums, singles, and EP sales, downloads, and streaming revenue. TuneCore artists also receive royalties from SiriusXM, Walmart, and iTunes Radio.
For a flat fee of $9.99 per single or $29.99 per album, Tunecore distributes your music to over 150 digital stores and streaming platforms. TuneCore artists keep 100% profits from sales, downloads, and streaming revenue.
TuneCore has distribution deals with some of the biggest names in entertainment like Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group.
UnitedMasters is a digital distribution network that allows independent artists to distribute their music to streaming platforms and stores. While it’s free to distribute your music with UnitedMasters, they do take 10% of the profit from your streams and downloads. Every artist has access to an analytics dashboard that tracks their real-time data.
UnitedMasters offers several services for independent artists, including press kits, marketing materials, social media management, and more.
You can upload your tracks directly from SoundCloud or any other service that supports the MP3 format (WAV, AIFF, FLAC). When you distribute your music, you can use UnitedMasters’ cloud service or upload it directly through their website.
AWAL distribution service for independent artists and labels is ideal for discovering and distributing your music to millions worldwide.
AWAL distributes your music to all the key stores and streaming platforms in over 200 territories worldwide. You can use AWALs free distribution service to get your tracks heard by hundreds of thousands of fans. If you choose their premium option, they take a minimum 15% share of all your streaming and download profits once your track is released.
One of the differences between AWAL and other services like Spotify’s Free tier or Apple Music’s PRO tier is that they don’t automatically accept every artist who wants to join their platform. They believe that having a curated artist roster lets them support their artists with a higher quality of service.
For 9.95 dollars per single, $49 for albums, and 15% of your royalties, CD Baby distributes your music to 150+ streaming and download services. CD Baby also gives you access to demographic and geographic data when you distribute your music using their service.
CD Baby is a fully featured, comprehensive distribution service for independent musicians and labels. All the tools you need to get started are available on this platform, including a web-based portal, a user-friendly payment system, email campaign management, and professional reporting. You can send out unlimited tracks for free or set up pay-what-you-want sales so fans can choose how much they want to pay for your music.
CD Baby is part of CD Baby’s Digital Distribution Network (DDN). A suite of integrated services, including artist management, promotion, sales & marketing automation tools, are provided by CD Baby.
Ditto is a digital music distribution platform that allows artists to sell their music directly to fans. After signing up, you can upload your tracks and start selling them to fans across 200+ stores and streaming services. The service also offers automated marketing tools that help you reach new audiences, manage your digital presence, and build a brand presence.
Ditto offers three plans that vary based on what level of support you need: Artist, Professional, and Label. The Artist plan costs $25 per year and gives you access to Ditto’s entire catalog of top artists. The Professional plan costs $50 annually and gives you access to Ditto’s archive of producers and songwriters. The Label plan costs $100 annually and gives you access to all of the top artists on the platform as well as exclusive marketing tools like advanced social media analytics tools, email integrations with Mailchimp, AWeber, and Campaign Monitor, app integrations with Sellfy, Soundcloud and Spotify Connect, custom metadata tags for mobile apps (iOS/Android), offline downloads for Android devices as well as offline playlists for iOS devices (all free).
Amuse is the best way to get your music onto all the music stores and streaming platforms that matter. We get your music onto Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Tidal, Amazon Music, Deezer, Google Music, Shazam, and YouTube.
The best part? Amuse is a free music distribution service that lets you release music directly from your phone using our app. That means you can upload your track, artwork, and release info in just a few minutes—all from the palm of your hand!
The app keeps track of all your streams, downloads, and audience daily insights. Once your release is live on Spotify or Apple Music, you can check it any time. Withdraw your royalties with one tap.
Music Distribution Details
The terms and conditions for each distribution service will vary. It is worth checking the details of these music distribution services. Some distribution services might have a 70/30 split (you keep 70% royalties). Some companies promise you 100% of your royalties but have terms and conditions which split the profits you can make from your music. Amuse, for example, is a Swedish music distribution company that considers itself a record label with a vested interest in developing talent. The Amuse distribution system is free to use but emphasizes that the more successful an artist becomes via their platform, the more likely they offer the artist a deal, offering marketing to playlist pitching. Amuse expects a 50/50 split, very much resembling an old-school record label.
For an artist to get this kind of deal, they need to put their music through their channel and reach out directly to labels themselves. So if an artist wants to be taken seriously by labels like Sony Music or Warner Music (which have millions of dollars at their disposal), they will have to work harder than anyone else at getting them heard.
If you’re an independent artist trying to get your music on Spotify, it’s not enough to upload it there and hope for the best. You’ll have to be active in promoting your songs on social media channels like Twitter or Facebook and even pay for advertisements on YouTube and Google Ads.