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Written by Omari
For independent musicians and recording artists, online or digital distribution companies are becoming the most popular way to get their music out there and the easiest way to collect royalties from their music. For releasing new music, these distribution companies make sure your creations get to Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon etc.
These companies then collect all the earnings from the record from all the platforms all over the world and give the proceeds directly to you. However you can only use one distribution company for each release, otherwise you will end up with the same track twice (or more) on the same music streaming service.
So which one do you go for? Read on for a comparison of the most popular services out there.
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IndieMassive is a new kid on the block that was started by artists, for artists. They created IndieMassive to give artists a transparent distribution service. During the years, they used many distributors and found that most either take a % from royalties away from artists, or they have crazy hidden fees.
With IndieMassive, that’s not an issue anymore. They pride themselves as the transparent distribution option. For just 39.99 USD per year, you can release unlimited music as an artist with no hidden fees or upsells.
Tunecore doesn’t take any commissions. You get to keep 100% of the royalties and their reports are some of the best around, allowing you to get a really good insight into how well your music is doing.
They've developed new pricing that allows artists to distribute unlimited releases for $14.99/year. The lower tiered option doesn't include some essentials such as the store automator, so you'll likely want at least the $29.99/year option.
The best thing, in my opinion, about Tunecore is their music publishing. You can submit to unlimited TV Shows, Films, and video games for a $75 one time fee.
Distrokid is a relatively new company, but they were the first company to offer unlimited distribution for a one-time annual fee. It’s a simple platform with no bells or whistles and very easy to upload your music to.
The turnaround time for having your music actually posted to the platforms is great! They charge no commission – you keep 100% of the royalties.
They have a low annual fee for the service, but do have some add-ons when uploading your material.
For example, there is a 'Leave Your Legacy' option add-on. This means that if you die or there is a lapse in payments to Distrokid, they will never remove your music from Spotify, iTunes, etc.
Some of the add-ons are more expensive than the subscription, but you don't have to order them for every track you put up. I'd recommend only using the add-ons for larger albums or compilations so that you're not double dipping on payments so to speak.
CD Baby has been around the longest, since 1998. They have no annual fees, meaning you just pay once and your music is up there forever. They can also offer physical distribution for your music if you want to go in this direction.
However, they do charge 9% commission for music streaming and 30% for YouTube distribution. If you’re looking to go down the YouTube route, then it is worth taking this into consideration.
AWAL do not have any fees for initial distribution, but they do have a hefty 15% commission charge – not so great if you’re trying to look after those pennies. They have a fantastic analytic system so you can gain a better insight into your listeners. The biggest downfall of this platform however is that it is invite only, so if you don’t know someone on the inside, you can strike this one off the list.
Finally, Ditto. Ditto is a platform which charges no commission meaning you keep 100% of what is made. They also offer unlimited songs for one yearly price, unlike most other services.
However, there are a lot of hidden costs with Ditto, it is worth reading the small print before signing up to anything. Ditto also has a lot of customer complaints under their belt and are known for their poor customer service. But it’s up to you to decide.
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© 2023 Omari MC, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
© 2023 Omari MC, LLC. All Rights Reserved.