Ever wondered how to make your music accessible to audiences? If you’re ready to take the step to put your music out into the world, we’re here to help. You will need to learn about the wonderful world of music distribution. Let’s get started!
What Is Music Distribution?
Music distribution refers to the process of getting an artist’s music out into the world via streaming services, CD’s, vinyl and so on. This process was previously only possible by being signed to a label, but nowadays, the process has become more accessible. This means that ‘bedroom artists’ and independent artists can use distributors to get their music onto popular platforms. Most distributors offer up to 150 stores such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, TikTok, Social media platforms and more.
How Does Music Distribution Work?
Streaming services don’t generally allow artists to simply upload music to their platform. In order to get your music onto streaming platforms, in stores and so on, you must go through a music distributor. They are essentially the middle man between you and the places that your music will be available to audiences.
In terms of the music distribution process, artists simply upload their music to their chosen distributor (we will look the options shortly). You will then fill in track information, upload cover art, add lyrics and choose with platforms you would like it to go out to. The distributor then sends your music and information to streaming platforms. Within a couple of weeks (on average around 4-6 weeks), your release will be live. The distributor collects royalties from these platforms on your behalf and distributes them accordingly. They earn revenue from your subscription costs, or even royalty percentages from your streams or downloads, in some cases.
What Music Distribution Services Are There?
The main music distributors are:
How Much Does Music Distribution Cost?
Pricing for music distribution varies from service to service. Let’s take a look at a basic overview of pricing based on a single artist. Most distributors also offer packages for multiple artists aimed at Labels, but for now, we will just take a look at single artist pricing.
- DistroKid: $19.99 annually for unlimited releases (no charge per release)
- TuneCore: $29.99 per album for the first year, and $49.99 each following year. $9.99 per year for singles.
- Ditto: $19 annually for unlimited releases
- CD Baby: $29 per album and $9.95 per single (no annual fee)
As you will have noticed, some distributors charge a yearly subscription fee, whereas others charge per release.
What Percentage Is Taken?
As mentioned earlier, some distributors take a percentage of your music’s sales. So, what percentages will the above music distribution services take?
- DistroKid: Doesn’t take any percentage of your sales
- TuneCore: Doesn’t take any percentage of your sales
- Ditto: Doesn’t take any percentage of your sales
- CD Baby: Take a 15% commission. CD Baby Pro Publishing Administration pays songwriters 85% of any publishing royalties collected on their behalf.
Which Music Distributor Is Right For Me?
This is up to you! If you want to release lots of music within a short time frame, then DistroKid or Ditto Music would work out better price-wise. TuneCore may seem expensive, but they do also offer a lot of additional benefits. Make sure to do your research, and outline which features are important to you. For example, is it important to have a specific release date for you? Do you need access to other features such as music publishing or promotion?
It all depends on what your overall strategy is. Here are some things to think about before choosing your distributor:
- Your budget
- Release dates / volume of releases
- Speed of distribution
- What reviews say
- Stores that the distributor covers
- Additional features offered by the distributor
Good luck and welcome to the wonderful world of releasing music!
How Audiosocket Can Help
Audiosocket is a music licensing platform that is always looking for new talent. You can submit your music here for consideration. We offer a non-exclusive contract, meaning that you can maximize your potential by licensing your music to other companies or projects, also. We commission 50% of the gross licensing fees and publishing royalties, but you keep 100% of the writer’s share.
Audiosocket have secured placements with giants such as HBO, Amazon, Hulu, Disney, HP and many more. We would love to hear your music, so what are you waiting for?