I get this question all the time:
“Hey Corey, do you know of a good digital music distribution service?”
“Which one do you use?”
But there are others that may be better for you.
I figured it was time to whip up a quick blog post for those of you who are looking to sell your music online.
Digital Music Distribution Service List
Here a breakdown of the top music distribution sites that you could use as well.
When it comes to comparing these services, it isn’t always apples to apples. I will throw out a few facts for each below to get you rolling but then you can take it from there.
It is a pretty mixed bag on what the better deal is and it really depends on your personals needs when it comes to licensing, publishing and distribution.
Look them over good before making your final selection.
All of these digital distribution services are pretty solid and are well respected services in the industry:
Again, the service I use. They have been reliable, I have had zero technical issues and I like their dashboard. The dashboard keeps a great record of where your music is being streamed and purchased.
They also have Sync/Publishing licensing built in to track plays on YouTube and a few other site (this is pretty handy).
There is a set up fee and they keep roughly 9% of some of your earnings. UPC codes will cost you extra but ISRC codes are free.
One issue I have is that it seems to me that they’re prices seem to keep going up and up. Used to be less than $10 to upload a song or under $30 for an album but now its $12.95 and $49.
Fandalism’s spin-off service gives you your first upload free and then a straight $19.99 yearly fee for unlimited uploads.
With no set-up fee, they are pretty reasonable if you are going to be doing a lot of releases.
They are also the first distributor in the world that can automatically split payments among collaborators. So if you do a ton of collaboration, DistroKid is a no-brainer because of the time and headaches you’ll save trying to keep track of who gets what.
If any of those points didn’t sell you on them, this might…
MUST READ: You have to check out an article by the founder of DistroKid, Phillip Kaplan’s, called “How To Tell If Your Music Distributor Is Ripping You Off.” It will give you a lot to think about before choosing your distributor (it is definitely making me reconsider the one I’ve been using).
Very similar to CDBaby.
They have a large distribution network with all the sites you’d want to be on. Plus they can monitor royalties, offer sync/publishing on sites like Youtube and even handle ringtone distribution.
There is a set-up fee of $75. Singles cost $9.99 per single (first year) and albums are $29.99 (first year).
Symphonic has a pretty unique pricing model (at least compared to the others).
It costs $25 to start and then there ares fees based on the amount of tracks you plan to distribute. 1-5 tracks is $10.99, 1-10 tracks is $19.99 and so on. They give you a slight break the more tracks you upload.
They do everything every one of these other services does and more.
One big one IMHO is that they are the only service besides CDBaby that offers physical distribution. So if that is something you need or want to do, that’s a big deal. I like trying to keep as much under one roof as possible. Makes things easier.
They have services/features that many of the other services do not. Like video distribution, something called piracy protection, a promo mailing service and a few more features related to Beatport.
Ditto music offers a few payment options. You can pay $79 to get unlimited distribution for a year or you can distribute by the single for $9.
If you follow my one single release per month strategy for a year, $79 is pretty reasonable.
They have 24-7 phone support which is pretty huge IMHO. There are always questions that pop up and its good to know you can get them answered quickly.
You can also get free ISRC codes and they offer optional extras like iTunes Pre-release, SMS Keywords and worldwide chart registration.
Please Not: Since reading adding Ditto, I was made aware of Ari Herstads music distribution service overview.
Ari is a very well respected music industry blogger and indie musician.
In the spirit of full disclosure and to make you aware of everything I know. here is what Ari’s had to say about Ditto.
* Ditto threatened to sue me for asking a question. They are hiding something. I’ve heard reports from readers that they cannot get their albums removed from stores and aren’t getting paid. STAY AWAY **Update 10/8/14
* After this report came out I’ve received countless emails from musicians and labels saying how horrible Ditto has been to them. Unpaid royalties. Customer service email turnaround very fast only UNTIL you pay, then you never hear from them again. Missed deadlines. On and on and on. If you care about your music career, DON’T WORK WITH THEM!
Spinnup is a unique distributer in that they’ve added the human element to the distribution process. They can “push” their release to someone called a “scout” for feedback.
Spinnup also has a relationship with Universal Music (which could be good or bad depending on your career goals). These scouts have regular meetings with the Universal A & R department. Soooo, if a scout is really into you, you could have an in at a major label.
The pricing is pretty competitive. They offer yearly packages at $9.99, $19.99 and $39.99. Bigger the package, the more songs you can release. The $39.99 is a pretty decent deal if you are using the Sell More Singles model.
If you are looking to get some feedback and to throw your hat into the major label ring, Spinnup might be a good choice for you.
Offer a monthly and yearly distribution plan with a one time set-up fee.
The have free UPC and ISRC codes. You get to keep 100% of your royalties.
There is monthly fee $5.99 and a set-up fee of $9.99 for singles and $19.99 for albums are $19.99.
Those are the 4 most popular music distribution services.
That should get you started. But note that there are others like ReverbNation (who feels a little sketchy to me… long story.) and RouteNote but they didn’t really jump out at my as far as having anything much more than the others mentioned above (if I’m wrong let me know).
If you know of any I missed, please add them in the comments below.