Find out more about distribution services here, and the many options of delivering your original music to online stores or hard copy outlets.
Music distribution is the process of delivering your original music either to digital online stores (like Spotify or AppleMusic) or hard-copy (CD / LP) distribution.
If you are an independent artist or music creator and want to get your music on streaming services, you will need to use distribution services.
There are various kinds of distribution companies and services. A popular option with independent artists is to upload to a distribution service, which then distributes it to all the relevant platforms.
At the end of the day all companies will charge for their services, but that charge will be presented in different ways, varying from low to high percentages, a monthly fee, a percentage of your music’s rights income or even requesting to buy-out part or all your music rights.
Distribution can have a variety of roles, some include levels of ‘representation’ if they like your work, and have the potential to ‘pushing’ your music onto platforms or playlists, whereas some are simply an intermediary which uploads your work onto the streaming and sales platforms.
That is why it is important to always read the small details, seek advice, and research different options. Be mindful in weighing up the options, and when doing a transaction of a percentage of your music, compare this against what a company will be actually doing for you.
A percentage of something can worth more than a percentage of nothing, if a distribution company enable your music to achieve high sales, then that percentage may be worthwhile, but giving away percentages to a company that does nothing for you, means that you could be losing a percentage of valuable income for a long time going forwards… and what if your particular tune is one that ‘makes it big’ any deal now could have massive effects.
Therefore being aware of who remains the rightsholder in your distribution deals is important, plus whether and when you can ‘get out’ from your distribution deal, to choose an alternative for your music.
An important thing to also bear in mind.. Do you own all your music and does it contain musicians performing on it (see Metadata ‘Industry Nugget’). For example, regarding bands, be mindful when creating joint collaborations – always make sure you reference everyone who owns a part of the creative output.
As artists we are all very different and unique, which also results in different needs for each of us.
Basically music business transactions happen all the time – whenever we enter a financial deal there could be long term consequences, so always read the small print and seek advice!
The best way to choose a music distributor is to do some research and to find the one who offers what you specifically need!
We can consider the following:
- Distribution fees
- Streaming royalties
- YouTube content
- YouTube monetization
- Automatic song registration
- Sync licensing opportunities, etc…
Check out a list of distribution services in the UK:
- https://www.awal.com/ – AWAL’s main service is digital music distribution, but also includes marketing, physical distribution, data analytics, radio, and synchronization licensing. AWAL’s artists keep their music and creative rights and retain 85% of their revenue along with the freedom to leave whenever they want.
- https://www.songcastmusic.com/ – plans starting at $1.99 for the 1st month (per account, not album). They charge this instead of taking a cut of your royalties. Rights holders keep 100%. You can have an unlimited number of other musicians or tracks in your account. $19.99 per album or $9.99 per single one time setup fee (waived for the first submission).
- https://www.tunecore.com/ – no annual fee. Depending on if you want to release a single or an album, you can pay anywhere between $9.99 and $29.99. Artists will keep 100% revenue from streaming and downloads.
- https://dittomusic.com/en/ – depending on the chosen plan, you can pay anywhere between £19 and £69 per year. You join a global music network and keep 100% of their royalties.
- https://distrokid.com/ – you pay only $19.99 to upload unlimited albums & songs for a year. Rights holders keep all their earnings—or set up “splits” to automatically route any percentage of earnings, from any track, to anyone.
- https://beatchain.com/ – Beatchain will distribute your work to the world’s biggest streaming sites and digital stores (Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, etc) and rights holders will keep 90% of their royalties. Monthly price is $5.99 or $9.99 depending on a plan.
- https://www.amuse.io/ – depending on a plan you can pay anywhere from $24.99 to $59.99 per year. Rights holders keep 100% of their royalties but there is a 15% fee for YouTube Content ID.
- https://www.routenote.com/ – Routenote puts your music on all of the top music streaming services and download stores around the world so that audiences everywhere can stream and buy your music. Depending on a plan rights holders can keep 85% to 100% of their royalties.
- https://levelmusic.com/ – you pay $20 per year and keep 100% of your rights and royalties – you are in full control.
- https://soundrop.com/ – Soundrop does not charge annual fees, but they take a cut depending on your performance. They take 15% from your earnings.
- https://www.horusmusic.global/ – you pay £25 for a single distribution or £45 for an album and keep 100% of your royalties. There is also an opportunity to pay £20 annually which will give you access to unlimited releases, YouTube and Monetisation, etc.
- https://freshtunes.com/ – Freshtunes will distribute your music to iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and many other digital music stores. Content will be uploaded there for free. Rights holders keep all rights for their content and get 100% royalties from sales of their music. If you want promotion on Facebook or YouTube, the Freshtunes team will assist artists with the minimal budget starting just from $25.
- https://www.landr.com/ – depending on a plan you can pay from £18 to £108 per month or per year. The plans include 150+ platforms to distribute music and rights holders keep 100% of their royalties.
- https://spinnup.com/ – 31 online stores and services around the world, streaming artists’ tracks. You keep 100% of your rights and royalties. The monthly pricing varies depending on if it is a single, EP, or an album.
- https://fuga.com/ – Fuga network goes beyond just the top streaming sites. They also deliver to a wide array of services, including niche online stores, rights collection agencies, royalty softwares and anti-piracy companies.