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Music Industry

Taking Down Your Release: The Consequences

Photograph of the blog post author, Maria Hanlon

Maria Hanlon


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Are you sure you want to take down your release? Here are the cons of taking down your music from a distribution service.

“I was thinking about not making CDs ever again… Only streaming. The Yeezus album packaging was an open casket to CDs. R.I.P.” – Kanye West via Twitter, 2016. 

Lots of us were born into the CD era and will never forget that feeling of going to a CD shop to buy your favourite artist’s new album to add to your ever-growing music collection. With the constant rise of major streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, many artists no longer feel the need to release physical albums anymore. In this article we’ll explore music distribution services, the pros on sharing your music on them and the cons of taking your music down. 

What Is A Music Distribution Service?

A music distribution service is the link between your music and your future fans. It’s an essential part of music promotion and has become vital in reaching wider audiences.

Traditionally, distributors would enter agreements with record labels to sell to stores. However, digital distribution changed everything by cutting out the middleman and instead allowing artists to distribute music directly to online stores while keeping 100% of their royalties.

taking down your release

The Pros Of Sharing Your Music On A Distribution Service

It’s no secret that digital music sells the best nowadays and sales will continue to skyrocket. The revenues of the music industry make it clear that digital is the way to go. Check out these stats from 2021 on which reflect this:

  • The UK consumption total was made up primarily of streams, comprising over 147 billion individual audio streams, up 5.7% on 2020 – and representing an equivalent of 132 million streamed albums (up 5.7%).
  • Nearly 2,000 artists were streamed over 10 million times in the UK in 2021 (excluding global streams) – up by 25% in just two years,  enabling more successful artist careers in music.
  • Overall, streaming now accounts for 83% of UK music consumption, while vinyl LPs represent over a quarter of all purchases in physical format. 

Therefore, by sharing your music on a music distribution service you’ll be making your music available for streaming and download where fans spend a lot of time, online. So you’ll have more chance of reaching them. You’ll also save yourself the cost and hassle of physical distribution, especially on a first album. 

Instead, you could start by building an audience and a name with digital releases. Plus, many digital distributors don’t have exclusivity deals. This means that you’re not giving up the rights to your music so you’re free to end the non-exclusive agreement anytime. 

Another major perk is that releasing music to streaming services is much easier than releasing a physical album. One of the many benefits is having the flexibility of submitting your music closer to the deadline. Last year, it was reported that Drake’s verse on ‘Sicko Mode’  was submitted only a few hours before Travis Scott had to turn in his highly anticipated album ‘Astroworld’.

Similarly, Machine Gun Kelly revealed that he took his album down to add his verse to a song because his album was accidentally submitted before the verse was added. If this had already been made into a CD, it would not have been possible.

Also, in the past artists would have to do much more promotional work surrounding an album release. They’d often do a single, a music video, promotion and prepare the album packaging. The album had to be completely mixed, mastered and ready for submission months before the deadline of the album release. Any changes that needed to be made to the album could not be done once it was out on the shelves. Therefore releasing your music on streaming services is one of the quickest and easiest ways to release your music online, especially as an independent artist.

spotify on laptop

The Cons Of Taking Down A Release From A Distribution Service

But, what if you decide you’d like to take down a release? It’s your music, you’re free to do what you want with it. Although, there are some things to consider before you do, these include: 

  • Fans will no longer be able to stream your music and their favourite song might disappear forever.
  • Fans won’t be able to buy and download your music and you might lose money as a result. 
  • You could lose stream history/play counts – if you’ve built up really strong stats you won’t have anything to show for it online.
  • Previous links to your releases might not work.
  • Any marketing and promotion surrounding the release will no longer be needed – if you spend time/money on promoting your music it won’t be very effective anymore if your music is taken down.
  • Your songs might be removed from publishing admin – music publishing administration refers to the business of collecting money for the music that you write. Therefore if you take your music down you’re unlikely to make any more money from it.
  • Lose accessibility – streaming has made it easier than ever for people to find your music, if your music is taken down it might be harder to find and discover.
categories on spotify

The Cons Of Taking Down A Release From A Publishing Service

Similarly to taking songs down from a distribution service, removing your songs from a Publishing Administrator can hinder your career. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • You’ll have less time to work on what you do best, making music. Collecting royalties can be a long and complicated process.
  • You’ll lose the network. Music Publishers will often have an extensive network of top-quality connections that you may not have access to if you remove your music.
  • You could lose out on payments. Things can slip through the cracks if you’re not an expert in royalty collection and the administration side of things.
  • Losing connections with other performers. Music Publishers can help with scouting other musicians to collaborate on projects. You can rest assured any recommendations have been fully researched. If you remove the publishing service, you’ll need to find musicians/collaborators yourself which again can be a timely process.

Taking Down Music From Sync Services

Not every artist wants their music used in motion pictures (Sync Licensing & Music Licensing) but those who do, understand that royalties from successful projects can set artists up for life. 

Aside from putting your music forward to some huge projects with the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Universal, Warner and more, we track and keep up to date with where your music is being used and ensure the royalties come through accordingly. When you’re busy making music, things can slip through the cracks and we want to make sure you’re being credited for your hard work and amazing music! It’s a big decision to take down your music, but whatever you decide we hope you’ve found this article helpful! If you’d like to find out more, check out our Music Distribution, Music Publishing and Sync Services! Artists can distribute their music for FREE, forever – no nasties, no hidden fees, and no time constraints.

Are You A Musician Or Artist?

Get Free Music Distribution and find opportunities to get your music in film, TV, and more through sync licensing. Plus get Music Supervision, Music Publishing, Music Marketing, Artist Development and utilize our Free Artist Websites and Rap Name Generator. Finally, you can amplify your music to those that need to hear it with music promotion, TikTok promotion and professional sharing tool. Why not give the gift of music today with our Gifts for musicians package? 

Try all of this out for yourself by joining Мusic Gateway. Get your free trial, no strings attached.


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