Wondering how exactly to make your music available to audiences worldwide? Are you trying to clarify how to get your music on Spotify, or even how to get your music on Apple Music? Enter… online music distribution services!
If you are an independent artist and want to get your music on streaming services, you will need to know all about distribution services. In this article, we will take a look at what distributors do, and give you the low down on the best music distribution companies out there, so that you can make an informed decision.
What is the Best Music Distribution Service?
In 2022, it is easier than ever to sell your music on major platforms such as Tidal, Amazon Music, Pandora, Shazam, and Apple Music – not forgetting the beast that is Spotify. To do so, independent artists can use music distribution companies, which act as the middleman between artists and streaming platforms. Distribution services exist to get artists’ music out to audiences. Record labels were once the gatekeepers of the entire music industry, and previously did the legwork and secured deals with distribution companies who would then deliver physical music to stores. However, now artists can manage this all themselves using distributors.
It is reported that on average, 100,000 tracks are released every day through digital distributors. So, with the floodgates opened to a world of aspiring artists and labels trying to make it big – which digital music distribution service will be the right partner for you? Who can best help you try to navigate through the noise of today’s over-saturated industry? Let’s take a look at some of our top picks and best music distribution websites.
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1. Мusic Gateway
If you want to be able to distribute your music for free, then signing up with Мusic Gateway should be your first option to explore. Whether you are just starting, or are a seasoned artist with an existing catalog, Music Gateway’s distribution is easy to set up, great to use, and best of all – it’s free!
MG’s renowned music distribution service gets your music onto all major platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. What’s more, you get to keep 100% of your sales.
You can also master your music for free to make sure that you sound the best you can before your release. With a free account, you get up to 5 free songs to start with – with the option to increase up to unlimited if you choose one of the Pro subscriptions.
What makes distribution by Мusic Gateway stand out from the crowd?
- You can distribute your music for FREE!
- Free mastering ensures your track sounds the best it can before distributing it!
- Distribute your music to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and over 300 more DSPs!
- Instant set up – upload your music and go!
- Keep 100% of your royalties!
- The Song Input & Transfer Tool makes data transfer of your songs quick and easy to manage!
If you have songs released through other distribution music companies, you may want to think about moving them to Music Gateway. The Song Import & Transfer Tool streamlines the way you distribute and promote your music by reducing the time you spend manually inputting song data. Just search for your song and it automatically adds all the track’s universal data that can then be used across the MG platform for distribution, publishing, sync and more.
And while most other distributors will take a cut of your streaming and sales royalties, with Music Gateway you receive 100% of your revenue. So, even if you move your entire catalog, it’s simple to transfer and all your listens, downloads and stats remain. It is a no-brainer!
Not only that, but Music Gateway’s 360 service provides every element you need to get your music out into the stratosphere – from publishing to expensive promotion packages including Spotify, TikTok, Music PR & Social Media Promotion, Music Marketing and more. And if you want to work with high level managers from the industry to help develop your skills and craft, they even provide artist development and management.
Pros: Alongside 100% royalties and FREE distribution, they offer every service an artist needs to succeed under one roof such as artists management.
Pricing: $14.99 – $49.99
A long-standing player in the indie distribution arena, TuneCore’s user interface is easy to navigate and not too difficult to understand, and there isn’t a lot of information required when processing releases. For some artists, this is convenient. However, for more established artists or labels who require extensive label copy and info such as barcodes and ISRCs, it can be problematic.
Tunecore charges artists both yearly or per release, and they have recently updated their much-criticized payment tiers to be in line with industry standards.
Pros: Been in the indie market for many years and have a simple interface.
Cons: Oversimplified system means you can’t input all the data that some artists might require.
3. CD Baby
Pricing: $9.95 – $69 per release
Another music distribution company in the indie community is CD Baby.
They are popular for helping artists tap into all revenue streams through services such as publishing administration as well as physical CD & vinyl distribution.
They offer a pay-per-release payment model rather than a subscription that allows for multiple releases. CD Baby offers all of its distribution services for $9.95 per single and $29 per album. You can also upgrade a single from standard to Pro for $20, and for $40 for an album. They also take a 15% commission.
Pros: They offer physical distribution alongside digital distribution.
Cons: They don’t offer an all-in subscription model.
Pricing: $19.99 – $79.99 annually
Distro comes in at $19.99 per year for unlimited uploads. They offer multiple plans, such as Musician ($19.99 per year), Musician Plus ($35.99 per year), and Label ($79.99 per year).
They also provide mechanical licenses for those wanting to commercially release cover songs. Users also can automatically split revenue among unlimited collaborators – whether you are splitting with producers, featured artists, or investors. Any collaborators have to sign up for a paid subscription to the platform at $10 a year to get paid.
One of the issues with this platform is that they have so many users, it can be hard to get answers to questions efficiently, and you have to use its ticketing system. This involves the user support team closing tickets after sending a generic reply. They don’t always understand the issue at hand and referrals to more experienced members of the team are usually reserved for the highest-performing artists.
Pros: Easy to access mechanical licensing and has easy links to TikTok.
Cons: Customer service is not great in response time and resolution.
Pricing: £19 – £299 annually | RLIAB: £99 – £399 OTF
Ditto has remained controversial over the past 5 years or so, even though they have worked with some larger-named artists like Ed Sheeran.
This is due to bad reviews, slanderous blog articles, and arguments in comment threads. However, they have helped many artists pave their way alongside helping labels with their Record Label In A Box service. This is why they remain a high-level independent distributor to this day.
Their RLIAB package comes in three tiers and offers good value to aspiring label owners. This has streamlined the process, taking care of tasks such as official business registration with the government. DITTO also offers to handle neighboring rights set-up and label registration with PPL for royalty collection.
Ditto’s lowest tier allows unlimited releases for one artist at £19 per year. However, they also have an option going up to £29 a year for 2 artists. On top of that, they have a label tier, which starts at £69 annually. This allows unlimited distribution for 5 artists which increases to £299 annually for a maximum of 40 artists.
Pros: Offers label services and RLIAB packages as well as assistance with music rights.
Cons: A lot of bad press and problems with users in the past.
6. Best Music Distribution: Spinnup
Pricing: £7.99 – £29.99 Annually
Created by Universal Music Group, Spinnup is a music distribution platform service aimed at up-and-coming indie artists. These are artists that want to get on UMG’s radar and gain access to distribution with small processing fees and zero revenue cuts.
Designed as a way for Universal to identify new talent, this is an option for those that have already established a following and have a lot of material to release. Spinnup is particularly helpful for material that doesn’t require an exclusive platform incentive organization, pre-order campaign set up or other additional services. If personally requested, these can be provided by the team.
In terms of pricing, Spinnup allows artists to release a single for £7.99, an EP for £14.99, or an album for £29.99 (yearly).
Pros: Can be a segway into working with Universal Music Group.
Cons: Not great for fledgling artists who are still building their following and finding their niche.
Pricing: Free to $59.99
One of the more unusual music distribution platforms, the mobile-only app Amuse has been something of a mystery since it popped up in 2017. This is due to the fact that they offer free distribution with high advances to artists that want to sign to their label division.
One of the newer additions to Amuse is its “Fast Forward” feature. This predicts how well songs are likely to perform based on their current steaming activity. Other features include royalty splits, the ability to invite your team to your profile, and the option to upgrade to Amuse Pro.
Pros: You can make team accounts and utilize its Fast Forward feature.
Cons: You can’t distribute cover versions with them and it is a mobile-only app.
8. Best Music Distribution: Horus Music
Pricing: £25 – £65 OTF or £20 annually
Based in Leicester, UK, the company consists of a team who works alongside artists and labels to meet their needs.
Despite their lack of notable artists, they rank on our list because they are efficient and easy to work with. Artists benefit from their direct-to-bank payout via their partnership with Western Union. Royalties can also easily be split with collaborators. They have a wide range of packages, ranging from marketing campaigns to chart registration & Midem representation. For artists looking to release content on a regular basis, they now offer an unlimited distribution package at £20 (annually).
Labels now get their own rep to liaise with and free DSP playlist promotion. This is providing releases are added at least 6 weeks from release. If you are looking for more than just distribution, Horus also offers label services.
Pros: Super efficient pay-out system.
Cons: A smaller company with few notable artists.
Pricing: 15% of sales revenue, you keep 85%
Number 9 on our list is Kobalt’s AWAL Distribution. They provide a range of services for artists to suit their needs, but only work with select clients, which is why we added them last. Usually, they approach these clients themselves, or via a referral from one of their artists or A&Rs.
AWAL provides services like distribution and DSPs, marketing, DSP playlist campaigns, and sync licensing. You could say that AWAL is more of a label services company than just distribution. AWAL doesn’t charge any upfront or annual fees, and instead, simply takes a 15% share of revenue that they collect for you.
Pros: No upfront fee.
Cons: Very selective on who they work with. Takes 15% of revenue on all sales.
Best Music Distribution: Conclusion
Are starting out as an artist or label and want to get the ball rolling with your first few singles? Or maybe you require a team to provide guidance throughout your release? Either way, you will want to ensure that you are with the right partner to upload music to streaming services. So, what is the best place to distribute music? It depends on your needs and what additional services you may need, but our top pick is, of course, Мusic Gateway, regarded by many as the best music distribution for independent artists in 2022. After all, the best distribution for music is what works for you as an artist and caters to all your needs and budget in one easy-to-use platform.
Whether you are considering switching from your current distributor or are looking for your first distribution deal music-wise, we hope that you’ve enjoyed this article and found it helpful.