If you're an independent artist looking to make a sustainable career from your music, having your songs available on every major music platform is crucial. Music distribution services play a vital role in getting your music heard by potential listeners and ensuring that you get paid for your work.
With numerous options available, choosing the best music distribution service can be overwhelming. In this article, we will explore the top music distribution services in 2023 and help you make an informed decision to advance your music career.
🟡Understanding Music Distribution
Before diving into the best distribution services, let's first understand what music distribution entails. Music distribution involves making your music available to a wide audience, both digitally and physically. It is the bridge between your finished record and your future fans. Traditionally, physical distributors were responsible for getting records into stores, but with the rise of digital platforms, online distribution has become the primary method for reaching listeners.
Digital music distribution focuses on getting your music onto streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. These platforms have become the primary way people consume music, making it essential for artists to have their music available on them. However, simply having your music on streaming platforms is not enough. You also need to market yourself as an artist through social media, blogs, and other promotional channels to attract listeners and stand out in a competitive field.
🟡Benefits of Music Distribution Services
While it is possible to distribute your music independently, working with a music distribution service offers numerous benefits. These services handle the technical aspects of distribution, leaving you more time to focus on creating music. Here are some advantages of using music distribution services:
⭕Wide reach. Distribution services have established relationships with major streaming platforms, ensuring that your music reaches a global audience.
⭕Time and cost efficiency. Instead of personally uploading your music to multiple platforms, distribution services streamline the process, saving you time and effort.
⭕Royalty collection. Distribution services track and collect royalties on your behalf, ensuring that you receive proper compensation for your music.
⭕Additional services. Many distribution services offer additional features such as royalty splitting, pre-save links, promotion, publishing, lyric uploads, and more, helping you enhance your music career.
🟡Top Music Distribution Services in 2023
Now that we understand the importance of music distribution and the benefits of using distribution services, let's explore the top services available in 2023. Each service has its unique features and pricing structure, so it's essential to evaluate them based on your specific needs and goals as an artist. Here are the top music distribution services to consider.
Ditto Music is a leading music distribution service offering unlimited releases for £19 a year. With the most online digital stores available, Ditto Music provides excellent value for money. Artists retain 100% of their rights and royalties, and the platform offers a 30-day free trial to ensure it's the right fit. In addition to distribution, Ditto Music provides a range of additional services such as promotion, publishing, sync placements, playlisting, and artist management.
Tunecore is another popular distribution service that offers limited releases priced at $9.99 per single and $29.99 per album (with an additional cost for releasing to extra stores). Artists keep 100% of their profits, but it's important to consider the upfront costs. Tunecore's online interface lacks certain features like label copy and info, which may be important for independent artists handling their own releases.
CD Baby is known for its extensive distribution network, covering over 150 online stores. They offer single releases at $9.95 and albums at $29, making them slightly cheaper than some competitors. However, it's worth noting that CD Baby takes a 9% commission on all releases and charges extra fees for collecting YouTube royalties and splitting payments with other artists.
UnitedMasters offers unlimited releases to 30+ major stores, including Spotify and Apple Music, for a recurring monthly rate of $5 or $60 per year. While their free option is enticing, it's important to consider that UnitedMasters takes a 10% cut of all your royalties. If you're looking for a low-cost option and are comfortable with the revenue share, UnitedMasters can be a good choice.
Distrokid allows artists to distribute their music to 150+ online music streaming services and stores for a yearly subscription fee of $19.99. Artists retain 100% of their royalties, but some users have reported weak analytics reports and limited customer support. Additionally, be aware of hidden fees associated with certain features like access to Shazam and the "Leave a Legacy" program.
Amuse offers a $5 per month Pro package, including unlimited releases, royalty splits, and 100% of royalties paid to the artist. While their store catalog is limited, Amuse is a cost-effective option for artists who want to test out different services before committing to one. However, be prepared for a longer turnaround time of 14 days for Spotify releases.
ONErpm offers free music distribution, but you should be aware that they charge a 15% revenue commission from any profits earned through streaming, sales, and downloads. They have a smaller number of partnerships compared to other services, limiting your reach, and the high commission loss may not be worth the zero release fee.
Landr provides music distribution at competitive prices, offering distribution to all major music platforms. The cost is $9 per single and $25 per EP or album. They also offer unlimited releases with their Landr Pro service, priced at $25 a month.
Horus Music offers unlimited uploads to over 150+ stores at £20 a year, ensuring that artists receive 100% of their royalty revenue. The platform offers to pitch your music for playlisting to the curators at Spotify, Apple Music, Boomplay, JioSaavn and more.
🟡What to Consider Before Choosing a Service
When selecting a music distribution service, it's essential to consider several factors to ensure that it aligns with your goals and requirements as an artist. Here are some key factors to consider.
⭕Pricing structure. Evaluate the pricing plans and consider the long-term costs associated with each service. Determine if the pricing aligns with your budget and expected revenue.
⭕Distribution network. Check the distribution network of each service to ensure that your music will be available on the platforms and stores that are important to you.
⭕Additional services. Consider the additional services provided by each distribution service, such as promotion, publishing, and sync placements. These services can help you enhance your music career and reach a wider audience.
⭕Royalty collection and payment. Look into how each service handles royalty collection and payment. Ensure that they have a transparent and efficient system in place to track and distribute your earnings.
⭕Customer support. Consider the level of customer support provided by each service. Prompt and reliable customer support can be crucial when facing technical issues or needing assistance.
⭕User interface and features. Evaluate the user interface and features offered by each service. A user-friendly interface and useful features can make the distribution process smoother and more efficient.
Choosing the best music distribution service is an important decision for independent artists looking to share their music with the world. Each service has its strengths and weaknesses, so it's crucial to evaluate them based on your specific needs and goals.
Consider factors such as pricing, distribution network, additional services, royalty collection, customer support, and user interface before making a final decision. With the right distribution service, you can reach a wider audience, collect royalties, and focus on what you do best — creating music.