The Complete Guide to Choosing a Music Distributor: The ABCs of Music Distribution

  1. 1. What is music distribution?
  2. 2. Types of music distribution
  3. 3. The benefits of choosing a music distributor
  4. 4. The best digital distributors and their differences

Choosing a music distributor is an integral part of one’s career and Edmwarriors is here to guide you through this learning process. Let’s say you have just finished a track and it’s ready to be shared with the world. It’s arguably the most exciting moment for every artist or producer as their work can be finally showcased and appreciated by their audience. If you already have some finished tracks that are ready to be published but you don’t know where to start, you are at the right place!

In this beginner’s guide, we will guide you through the processes and the specifications in the journey known as music distribution - we will explain what exactly it is, how it works, and most importantly - why you need it in order to succeed in the music industry.

We will also show you all the different types of music distribution, as well as dig deep into the most popular platforms and their differences in terms of pricing, features and more. This will help you make the right decision when choosing a music distributor for your release. And now, it’s time to get to work and finally bring your music the audience and recognition it deserves!

What is music distribution?

Music distribution is as old as the first record ever pressed. Even far back in the past, sheet music still needed to be printed and put out in stores. This is a simple way to explain what music distribution is today – to get the music into the public eye.

Well, nowadays even though a lot of things are not quite the same, the basis hasn’t changed that much. The differences lay in the method and places where music gets published.

Today, we live in the era of online streaming, therefore the main focus lies in getting the music on those dedicated platforms so that the audience can stream, download and buy your songs with a simple click, while you as the artist receive royalties in exchange. Of course, this depends on how much and where your music was listened to.

So, what is music distribution and how do you get started? Well, In order to get your music on streaming platforms, you need an aggregator/middleman to upload your work on them. You can’t simply upload a track there as the platforms don’t allow people to upload their music directly on their own.

The main reason for this is that without a music distribution service in the middle to check all information and data, the platform would likely become a tangled mess of random tracks. This may also prove detrimental to the overall sound fidelity standard offered on it. A music distributor’s main function is to make sure that all data is clean, complete, follows the same format and it’s all ready to be uploaded and streamed.

Types of music distribution

Now that we have talked about what distribution is and why you need it, let’s have a look at some of the different types of music distribution companies that exist, as well as what goes into choosing a music distributor. Maybe you don’t know it yet but there are three leading types of distribution that offer different types of services and have distinctive business models.

Starting from big companies who have professional connections to all the major labels, continuing with independent distribution partners who invest in artists hoping to make a profit. We finish off with the most accessible open distribution platforms which are going to be in the focus of this article. We should note that there are differences between a music distributor and label .

Let’s have a deeper look at the aforementioned types, what they are, and how exactly they work. All of this is extremely important when choosing a music distributor, as your personal needs may vary from those of other artists.

Going Big: Major Distributors/Labels

Sony Music Entertainment
Universal Music Group
Warner Music Group

These are probably the most powerful players in the industry. There isn’t a person in the business who hasn’t heard about Sony or Universal. They are the biggest power sources and work with some of the most famous artist names in the world. What is so special about them is that they have all the power and tools to skyrocket your career and make you a world-recognisable artist.

You might ask how exactly this is possible. Well, major labels don’t really use a music distribution service as they have their own distribution departments and very powerful connections with giants like Spotify and Apple Music. Their functions are certainly not limited to getting music onto streaming platforms, but also to make sure it lands on the front page and gets added to popular editorial playlists.

Spotify playlists on the Spotify app’s homepage

(Example of Spotify playlists on the Spotify app’s homepage)

In other words, working with these industry giants will most certainly guarantee you visibility and recognition in the business. On average, it's still easier for artists to be visible on streaming platforms if they are signed to (or distributed by) the big labels. However, the process of getting signed on by a major is pretty selective and challenging. After all, who doesn’t want to be signed to Sony Music?

It's important to note that these companies view you less as a creative professional and more as an investment and a commodity, therefore they have a lot of control over you and your music distribution. As a result, there's a significant chance they'll try to shape your voice, appearance, and professional path to fit their ideal of you. On the other hand, if you’re releasing solo, you will end up having all the creative control over your music and career. You will be making all of your own decisions, including choosing a music distributor.

Let’s finish this section with an interesting fact - Currently, on the U.S. market, a shocking 85% of digital revenues go either through Universal, Sony, or Warner (or music distribution companies under their umbrella).

Looking into Independent Music Distribution Partners

Having looked at the major label deals, we can conclude that they definitely aren’t for everyone. There are a lot of other options out there that you can choose from which are way more accessible and have other things to offer you. One of them is independent music distribution partners. The name kind of reveals their essence and function.

These are companies that have managed to stay independent throughout the years. They are a lot like labels and want to invest in artists with a proven track record and a career on the way. Some of them have fallen into the possession of major labels, so working with them and showing career growth can sometimes help artists get the recognition they want from the parent company.

However, the way they work is not strictly concentrated on uploading your tracks on Spotify - that is just a bonus! Their main function involves promotion, trade marketing and digital release strategies, with music distribution being only part of that entire process. Furthermore, if you get signed, you will get a team that will be consulting you, as well as a pitching team that is in contact with the major DSPs (Digital Streaming Platforms).

Working with them will always mean that you will not keep all of your royalties, as their percentage deals can go up to 50% of the rights of your music. Basically, if you want to work with them, you have to think of yourself as an investment, just like with the aforementioned major labels.

What is different is that music distribution partners are more accessible than their larger corporate counterparts, but in both cases, you are selling the rights of your music to them and only keeping a part of your royalties. However, you can certainly get a lot more recognition compared to distributing your music as a self-release with an open platform.

Some of the more popular music distribution partners include:

  • The Orchard (owned by Sony Music Entertainment)
  • AWAL (owned by Sony Music Entertainment)
  • Amuse
  • Spinnup (owned by Universal Music Group)
  • Stem
  • Symphonic Distribution
  • Ditto Plus

Open Distribution Platforms/Aggregators

If you don’t want to pursue the commercial standard and become the next Calvin Harris (signed on Sony Music) just yet, the easiest way to release your music and kick off your career is with an open distributor, also known as an aggregator. They are open to everyone and their main focus is getting your music onto streaming platforms in exchange for a fee.

You have probably already heard of Ditto, CD Baby, or DistroKid. They are some of the most popular platforms that you can choose to work with when choosing a music distributor. The process is relatively simple, you just need to go on their website and select the plan that you think fits you the best.

However, choosing the right music distribution service and plan can be indeed a challenging process. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this guide, we will give you all the detailed information that’s necessary to know about some of the most popular open music distribution platforms, along with their individual characteristics and specifics.

The benefits of choosing a music distributor

Nowadays, making a song available to an audience online is as easy as uploading a file on the internet. We all know that some websites like YouTube and Soundcloud allow users to share their music with a simple click.

So you may ask: Why would I still need a music distribution partnership, why can’t I just do it myself? Well, the truth is, you can’t. You still need to work with one, as they are an essential part of the business chain. Furthermore, there are indeed a lot of perks to choosing a music distributor when you are releasing your tracks. Let’s dig into some of the most prominent ones:

Get your music onto streaming platforms

Nowadays, most of the listening doesn’t happen on CDs and vinyls like in the past. With a few simple clicks, everyone can listen to whatever they want, wherever they want. This has resulted in about 70% of the market being devoted to on-demand streaming.

Platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and others are an essential part of the music business world. It is almost obligatory for every aspiring artist to distribute their music on multiple streaming platforms, as it is the easiest and quickest way to gain a fanbase and some income.

As we have already mentioned above, you can’t simply upload your music on streaming platforms without choosing a music distributor. You need one to do this for you, as well as look out for your best interest as an artist.

Music distribution services help you collect your royalties

When you have finished a track you automatically become the holder of its rights, therefore you have to receive payments for any use of your work. These payments are called royalties and are essentially the payments generated from the usage or streaming of your songs.

If you decide to work with a label and release music under their name, you’d usually sign a contract with all the details of how the royalties are being shared between both parties. In other words, you simply share the rights of your music with them.

However, as an independent and unsigned musician with releases available on DSPs, you will have to receive all of your royalties. Isn’t that great? Here is another reason why choosing a music distributor is important and beneficial. They will do this job for you without any deductions for label share. They will make sure your music is registered and you are receiving the money you have earned from streams, collecting your royalties from all DSPs (Digital Service Provider) and making them available to you all in one place.

Expand your reach

Every artist’s aspirations include their music reaching the broadest audience possible, doesn’t it? If you find this relatable to you and want to take your career to the next level, then you would definitely like this one. Let’s look at one of the biggest advantages of using a music distributor - getting your music heard by your dream audience.

This is why the more platforms your music is available on, the better your chances of getting it heard, right? Furthermore, most DSPs use algorithms to recommend music to potential new listeners. This basically means that when you release your music with a distributor, you make your tracks accessible to your current audience and also create opportunities to gain even more listeners.

Some Sound advice: what to look for when choosing a music distributor

Choosing a music distributor for your release can be challenging considering all the different options there are out there. Before making such an important decision, you have to carefully read the plans and terms each of them has to offer you.

Keep in mind that a music distribution service is a new professional partnership. Therefore you have to pick the ones that best suit your individual artistic needs, resources, and goals.

However, it is very important to mention - when it comes to distribution, there are no objectively bad or good solutions. It all depends on the perspective and the needs of the artist. In other words, the question isn’t which is the best distributor, it’s what is the best for you and your needs. Now, having that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects that you should consider when choosing a music distributor:

Consider all the pricing options that a distributor provides

This is probably the most important factor to consider when choosing a music distributor, as there are a number of different options and plans that every one of them provides. It’s very important to know what is the essence of your release. You are, in the end, paying for a service. Therefore, it’s really important to know what you’re giving your money for and what you will get in return for it.

Let’s set an example. Let’s say you want to release an EP or a single, but you don’t have any plans to release more music in the foreseeable future. The most convenient way to do this would be to pay once for that specific release and not be obligated to repay every year, right?

However, maybe you are more ambitious and you want to have unlimited music distribution so that you can upload as many singles or albums as you want. These are just two simple examples of how many different approaches there are when it comes to releasing tracks online.

Let’s put this into facts. For example, some distributors give the option to only pay for what you release as we mentioned, while others give you the choice of a yearly or monthly subscription fee. A third option still is just paying for unlimited distribution of your music.

An important aspect to keep in mind when choosing a music distributor would be the fact that some companies (the ones with annual subscription fees) will most likely take your music off the platform if you stop paying.

Look into which DSPs a company distributes to

DSP, which stands for Digital Streaming Platform, refers to services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and others. However, not all music distribution companies work with the same list of DSPs. Some only distribute to the most popular ones, while others limit their reach to only a few selected ones. In this case, choosing a music distributor depends largely on where you’d like your tracks to be available.

For example, if you're aiming for an international audience, you will have to make sure the music distributor you’re picking works with the popular DSPs beyond your region. There are also other factors that need to be taken into consideration, for example, getting your music on TikTok, Instagram, and Shazam so that your fans will be able to use it with their content and find a specific song easily within the app.

If you are a DJ or a music producer, in order to get heard by the right listeners, it is essential to get your music on Beatport. In a case like this, it’s important to make sure that the chosen distributor covers that platform.

Once again, it’s important to know your goals and ambitions so that you can make an informed decision.

If you’re an aspiring DJ or producer who wants to delve into the ground-shaking world of dance music, then definitely check out our article “ How to produce EDM: A step-by-step guide for 2023 ”.

Other Features and Add-on Services

Another very important factor that should be considered is what kind of extra services you can get when choosing a music distributor to partner with. There are numerous features that could definitely benefit you as an artist, however, it all still depends on what exactly you need from your release.

Do you want to get your songs on Spotify only? Or maybe you want a marketing campaign that will act as a little boost since you don’t really have the skills or the energy for all that. Furthermore, it may be really important for you to have quality statistics since you’re taking music-making a bit more seriously but numbers are not your strongest suit. Some distributors even have the option for mastering services, which can be a very helpful feature for artists with no skill in this field

Royalties & Music Publishing Should not be Underestimated

As we have already mentioned, royalties are an essential part of the process of music publishing and are basically your “reward” as an artist who produces original music. All you have to do is make your songs available on streaming platforms. Royalties can be accumulated simply from people streaming your songs on Spotify as well as any filmmaker who may want to use one of them in their film. The list goes on.

Even before choosing a music distributor who will handle all of this, it's important to understand how royalties work in order to make an informed decision about whether or not a specific partnership will be beneficial to you. There are three important aspects to consider regarding your royalties. Let’s have a look.

Royalty split

The name says it all! Royalty Split is an option to basically split all accumulated royalties to all people involved in the production. For example: you’re in a band and you want all the members to equally receive royalties from every recording that’s published.

Maybe you want your graphic designer or mastering engineer to get some money out of the release too! If this sounds like something you would be interested in, keep that option in mind and look below at our chart for which distributors have it and which do not.

Music Publishing Royalties

You might ask, what exactly is music publishing and how is that a factor to consider when choosing a music distributor? Well, simply put, music publishing is basically the collection (and later payment) of royalties whenever your music is “used” somewhere.

Don’t forget - copyright is probably your strongest asset as a songwriter and artist. Understanding this concept is vital if you want to make the most of your release (and make more money from your work).

What not many people realize is that there are different types of royalties in the music industry. In other words - different ways of generating revenue. Let’s have a quick look at the three types of royalties:

  • Mechanical: These are the royalties generated for manufacturing physical copies of a song (such as CDs and vinyls), plus digital streams & downloads.
  • Performing: Royalties generated from live performances of a song, including concerts, festivals, radio play, or at a public venue. This includes DJs playing your track live at a venue.
  • Sync-licensing: Royalties are generated every time a song is broadcast through an AV media placement (think adverts, films & video games).

So, how can you collect all your royalties, including the sync licensing and performing royalties? The good news is that you can do it yourself by registering your music on a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) such as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

You can also do it with an assigned representative - a publisher can be a separate person or an administrator that takes a commission in order to take care of this for you. However, more importantly, music distributors and labels can also do that for you, and it’s a service some of them offer and some don’t.

For example, some music distributors like CD Baby or Tunecore offer the option to register your music on a PRO (performing rights organizations), and collect the mechanical royalties for it on top of your sound recording royalties.

If you want to keep all of your royalties in one place and make sure you are collecting everything from everywhere, a great option is to look for a music distributor that will do this for you.

Commission - Are you keeping all the rights of your music?

What is a commission? Basically, it’s a part of the copyright. In other words, the money a release makes will be shared with the label. You can think of it as “paying” with a part of your rights for the music.

This is very common in major or any other size of labels - they usually take between 50% and 90% of what the artist makes. The revenue is basically split between both parties. This is mainly because part of the label’s function is to help the artist get more visibility and they invest a lot in marketing and promotion services.

Because let’s be honest, it is kind of hard to get noticed at first when you are starting off as a musician, especially in the past when there were no social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

However, even in today’s world where distributing music is more convenient than ever, labels are still a vital part of the business world - they are like banks for musicians. If a company likes your music and wants to invest in you - it’s basically a win-win situation - you get visibility and they get products for their business. Like major labels, some music distributors’ terms include a shared percentage of the rights to your music.

Depending on the service, the distributor charges a flat per-song/album fee, an annual recurring subscription toll, or a percentage-based commission of up to 15%. Or any combination of the three.

Reliable Customer Support is of Key Importance

Customer support is certainly an integral part of any business and should not be overlooked when choosing a music distributor. No one wants to wait 1 week for a response when there is something wrong with your release. Getting enough help with any other aspect related to the service package is non-negotiable.

This is why it’s crucial to make sure the music distribution service that you’re choosing has a good customer support team that will be there to help you with any problems or questions that may pop up throughout any step of the process.

The best digital music distribution platforms and what they can offer you

Now that we have analyzed what are the main things you should be looking at when choosing a music distributor, let’s have a look at some of the best ones that have been proven to be reliable partners. We will also explore what their differences are, so you can have a clearer understanding of which one will be most in line with your needs.+

We have also included a chart of the features we think are the most important to consider when choosing a music distributor in a simplified way for easier navigation. It’s impossible to say which one is the best, as all of them offer different services that can be useful for some and not for others. Of course, all of them have one thing in common - they will work as a middleman and make your music available on streaming platforms.

Prices and features are listed as of June 2023.



DistroKid is one of the most popular platforms when choosing a music distributor on the market and there is a reason for that. The service offers good pricing, fast distribution and additional features which have won over a lot of musicians and labels since their launch in 2013.

One very important benefit of using the platform is that it is very simple and accessible which makes it perfect for upcoming artists who don’t have the experience or the knowledge to smoothly navigate through the music business world just yet. Now let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of this music distribution service in more detail.

1. Pricing

DistroKid is very very simple when it comes to pricing - the only option you have is the $20.99 plan to upload unlimited songs & albums for a year.

DistroKid pricing

2. Royalties & Commission

Good news! DistroKid doesn’t have a commission share - you keep 100% of your royalties! However, the service does not collect any publishing royalties. In other words, it doesn’t collect your royalties outside of the streaming platforms. What does this mean exactly? Well, as we have discussed above, some music distribution platforms offer the option to register your music with a PRO in order for you to collect money made from publishing.

Imagine if someone wants to use your music for a TV advertisement or a movie. If you are releasing with DistroKid, there might be money you’re owed to which you won’t collect. The service also has the feature Royalty Split which lets you share the royalties with band members, co-producers, etc., making it a great option when choosing a music distributor.

Key Features & Add-ons

Let’s have a look at some of DistroKid’s features that make it stand out from the other music distribution platforms on the market. It is important to mention that the company has a great set of add-on features, but unfortunately, you would have to pay an additional fee to get access to most of them. Here are the free features that you’d get access to if you subscribe to DistroKid:

  • Hyperfollow & P

These are two marketing tools that can be very beneficial for both established artists and beginners. DistroKid’s Hyperfollow feature lets you create your own personalized page where fans can pre-save your upcoming releases. It gives you a landing page to send fans to, with a simple link that you can use as a marketing tool in your social media posts. Promo cards are another great way to promote your release with visuals that feature your cover artwork.

  • YouTube Pay

This is a paid and optional feature but we definitely think it’s worth mentioning. The platform offers a service that lets you collect money when your music is being used on YouTube, adding the revenue to your royalty collection. It simply works like this: when YouTube detects your music in any video, monetisation will be turned on for that video.

  • Music Video Generator

This feature gives you the ability to create a music video without the need to hire a designer.


As we mentioned, one of the greatest features of DistroKid as a music distribution website is its simplicity. The website has a simple interface which makes it easy to navigate and upload your music. It gets your songs on DSPs really fast .

Compared to other distributors, this platform uploads faster than others, so if you can’t wait to release your music and see it on Spotify, definitely look up this one. DistroKid distributes to Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, Pandora, Amazon, Instagram, YouTube, Tidal, iHeartRadio, Deezer, plus a ton of other stores & streaming services. It also distributes to China & TikTok.

Downside: You have to either keep paying the annual subscription fee or pay a one-time “Leave a Legacy” fee to keep your music on DSPs.

Costumer Service

When it comes to good customer support, DistroKid is definitely not the strongest one. On the whole, customer service is satisfactory. It is not built into their pricing plans, so you won’t get a guaranteed response from them based on how much you are paying for a subscription.

The service has a free Chatbot you can use for basic inquiries that can redirect you to a human representative. In conclusion, this could be pointed out as a con of using this distributor as the customer support is relatively slow and occasionally non-responsive, so if this is a dealbreaker for you, definitely look elsewhere when choosing a music distributor.

Best for: Cheap & Fast release.

DistroKid can get your tracks onto numerous different platforms, but you know what they can’t give you? The chance to buy exclusive EDM vocals and get full rights to them. You buy it, you own it – give your next release a standout human element.

CD Baby

CD Baby

CD Baby is one of the most trusted independent music distribution services working with more than 1 million artists internationally. This platform has been around since 1998 and has a very good reputation in the industry. The company refers to itself as the ‘anti-label’ for musicians.

It has a collection of more than 9 million tracks that are available to over 100 digital streaming services and platforms around the globe.

What makes CD Baby stand out amongst other distributors is their additional services including CD and vinyl distribution and publishing that can help artists get out there and get more recognition.

Another great thing about them is the one-time fees per release with no recurring costs which lets you release worry-free. Let’s get into it!

1. Pricing

CD Baby is one of the few distributors that offer to upload your music without yearly subscription fee. You can pay for a song or an album release once and you won’t have to pay anything more in the future. You also have the “pro” option for both singles and albums which includes more features and services.

The standard upload price is $9.99 and the pro package is $49.99 for a single or an album. This also means you won’t pay a growing bill every year just to keep your music available online, which could be a problem with some other distributors.

CD Baby pricing

Screenshot from CD Baby’s website

2. Commission, Royalties & Publishing

  • Commission

Here comes the tricky part - CD Baby will take a 9% commission tax from your music if you decide on them for music distribution. You get to keep the remaining 91% of your digital distribution revenue. With your basic account, you’ll be set up to earn additional music money beyond streaming income, including sync licensing fees and video monetization revenue.

  • Publishing

The CD Baby Pro account includes the collection of publishing royalties. The Package will make sure that you are registered as a songwriter with a Performing Rights Organisation (PRO) So If you write original music without a publishing administrator and you don’t want to lose money - CD Baby will take care of it for you! This is yet another important aspect to keep in mind when choosing a music distributor.

3. Services & Add-ons

If you choose CD Baby as your music distribution service, you will have free access to these marketing tools:

  • – the same music marketing tools used by major artists like Maroon 5, Tove Lo, Santana, and Oasis.
  • HearNow – which gives all your fans a simple, one-click way to access your music on their preferred platform.

Some of the other notable features for this distributor include:

  • Making money from YouTube Content ID in both Pro and Standard
  • Cover song licensing
  • Instant verification with Apple Music and Spotify for Artists.
  • Manufacturing and duplication for physical distribution.

4. DSPs & Distribution

CD Baby will distribute your music to Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, Amazon, Pandora, YouTube, Deezer, Shazam and 150+ more platforms. They also allow you to get your music on Facebook and Instagram Stories.

As we already mentioned, they are one of the few that also offer physical distribution services, so if you’re old school and don’t know where to start with releasing a CD or vinyl – keep this in mind when choosing a music distributor!

5. Customer Support

CD Baby offers a dedicated support system at their artist help center. You can also find a lot of information on how to get started, as well as submit any requests or inquiries you may have.

Their help center has various sections, including artist resources which makes it organized and easy to navigate through. This is a crucial feature when choosing a music distributor platform. Their team includes a lot of musicians and makes it easy for you to reach out to people in the industry if you have any questions or doubts.

Best for: Releasing music worry-free.



Founded in 2005, Tunecore is a distribution company that provides artists with the ability to sell their music globally and get it onto streaming platforms. What makes them more than just a platform for distributing music is the fact they are among the companies that offer one of the widest range of services, including music publishing, promotion, artist services, and a lot more.

Its statistics let you track how your releases are selling. TuneCore also has direct memberships with rights collection agencies all over the world. Furthermore, the platform has a very appealing and easy-to-navigate interface that really makes it stand out, which as we mentioned is important when choosing a music distributor. Enough for now, let’s have a more detailed look at some of the service’s stand-out features that can benefit your release.

1. Pricing

In the case of this distributor, there are a lot of options to choose from. It has both “Pay per release” and “Unlimited yearly plan” options. It also has a “Free” option for artists to release their music on Social Platforms only.

TuneCore pricing TuneCore pricing

2. Commission & Publishing royalties

TuneCore has a lot to offer when it comes to this point. The service doesn’t take any commissions with a standard release. However, they do offer publishing services where the situation is different. They have put together a lot of options for artists who want to make sure they collect all they are owed and even get further with music publishing. They are one of the few music distribution services that offer a separate music publishing service under their name.

  • TuneCore Publishing

The TuneCore team works hard to pitch artists’ music for placements in film, TV, commercials, and video games. Their goal also includes getting artists all their royalties in one place without the need for another service like a PRO. If you decide to release music with them, you can take advantage of their publishing services (for an extra fee, of course) and relax during the entire process, they will take care of it!

So if your goal includes hearing your music in a movie or in a video game, choosing a music distributor like this one will definitely be a very good match for you! In the picture below you can see the pricing and details about their publishing services.

The tricky part is that they will take a 15% commission of the royalties collected. The world of sync licensing can also be tricky for artists to get involved in. Another benefit of using TuneCore is that they also can take care of this for you. For this service, however, they will take a 50% cut of any commission that you make.

TuneCore publishing
  • Royalty Split

TuneCore also has the feature of Royalty Split where you can easily work with collaborators and share earnings with them when releasing music.

3. Features & Add-ons

As we already mentioned, this music distribution platform works hard to provide artists with all kinds of services to help them along on their music journey. We just talked about the amazing publishing they offer, now let’s see what other services the company includes with its subscription.

  • Promotion & Marketing

Tunecore works with a lot of third parties for purposes of promoting, digital marketing and more. These tools are designed to help you reach out to as many people as you want.

TuneCore promotion

Screenshot of promotion services offered by TuneCore from their website

Some other benefits worth mentioning include:

  • Cover song licensing – another great service, however you would need to pay an additional fee for the license.
  • Fan reviews/feedback – you have the option to hear what your fans think! You can submit your song for review and your music can be rated and reviewed by real people. However, this option is paid, starting from 15$ for a song.

4. Features & Add-ons

TuneCore collaborates with more than 150 digital music services available across 200 countries and territories globally. It’s going to publish your music on every major digital store, like iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Beatport (only if you pay extra for $7.99 per month), Amazon, TikTok and more. YouTube monetization is also included in all packages.

TuneCore also has direct partnerships with the stores they distribute to, unlike some of the smaller competitors that have to deal with middlemen, which should be considered when choosing a music distributor.

Downside: You would have to keep paying the annual fee in order to keep your music on DSPs.

5. Customer Support

TuneCore has a solid, fast & reliable Artist Support feature, which consists of a good team of customer care specialists that you can contact via email and phone. They can help you with any problems regarding music distribution and resolve any one of them that may have come along the way, guiding you through every step of the process within one business day. The customer service is once again different depending on the plan you’ve chosen.

Best for: A reliable distributor that will cover mostly anything you would need

Ditto Music

Ditto Music

Ditto Music is one of the big names in the game and has the reputation of launching the careers of a lot of popular names in the music industry like Ed Sheeran, Chance The Rapper, Sam Smith, Izzy Bizu, and Dave. Ditto is actually very similar to DistroKid, but we’ll have a look at that later.

Let’s first dive into the platform’s stand-out characteristics in order to get a better idea of what it could give you if you choose it as a music distributor.

1. Pricing

Ditto Music works on a yearly subscription plan. It has a total of 3 pricing options you can choose from. For $19 per year, an artist can put out as much music as they like. For $29 per year, you can put out unlimited music for two artists.

Basically, you can increase your subscription plan depending on how many artists you want to be releasing music for. The third option is the “Label” one where you can release unlimited music for up to 5 artists.

Ditto Music pricing

2. Royalties, Commission & Publishing

  • Royalty Split

Ditto Music offers an automated royalty split service in order to share your revenue with collaborators, band members, etc. The platform will not take any commissions from your release, you get to keep all the rights to your music. Just like TuneCore, Ditto has its own publishing service! A feature like this can be essential when choosing a music distributor to partner with.

For €39 a year added to your subscription plan, Ditto will pay you all the extra royalties you might be missing. You will get paid every time your music is streamed, broadcast or played live. They also have a team of specialists that will pitch your tracks for TV, film and other kinds of media. They will take a 10% commission.

3. Services

Ditto is certainly not a “services” type of distributor and doesn’t really have a lot of add-ons, but it does offer some very useful tools that can help your release, including:

  • Ditto SmartLink.
  • Get your videos on VEVO
  • Express Release service
  • Get on Playlists
  • Smartlinks & Pre-save

4. Distribution

Ditto Music will distribute your music to over 200 digital music stores, including Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Vevo, Amazon, Apple Music, Deezer and Shazam.
Now it’s time for the cool stuff:

The good news is that it will also be distributed to Beatport. As their official partner, joining Ditto means you can set up your own Beatport label to boost your sales, grow your fans, and connect with other artists on the platform along the way.

Ditto Music Beatport

So, if getting on Beatport is important for you, this may be a selling point for choosing this music distributor!

If you choose Ditto, you will also have the option to customize the stores your music goes to according to your preferences. That’s not all - you will also be able to to set the geographic location of your songs so you can better target the locations that you feel are strongest for your songs.

Finally, unlike with some other music distribution companies, with Ditto you can schedule your release date at least 2 weeks from the day you upload it on their platform.

5. Customer Service

In the end, no one can be perfect. Ditto also does have its weaknesses, one of which is their customer support. Indeed, one of the downsides in the platform’s reputation has been the lack and negligence of its customer service team. There have been numerous complaints about the distributor’s slow customer support, including basic problems such as accessing your account. All of this should be put into consideration when choosing a music distributor.

6. Quick comparison with DistroKid

It is not a secret that Ditto is indeed very similar to DistroKid in the prices and features they offer. Let’s quickly compare them and see the differences as well as the similarities.

They both have similar pricing systems, however, Ditto offers far more services for the artist for nearly the same price as DistroKid, whose idea is mainly to keep things simple and accessible as we have already mentioned above.

Both distributors could appeal to different types of artists out there - some would rather get their music up and running as fast as possible, while others would prefer the extra stuff that Ditto has to offer for the same price.

Best for: Saving money on the release

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LANDR is certainly a different type of distributor. Simply because it’s a lot more than that – it’s also a place where you can buy samples, plugins and even get your tracks mastered by Artificial Intelligence. The company is one of the few that really have a lot of independent services under their name - music distribution is just another thing they decided to add to the table.

This is the reason why their whole structure and idea is kind of unique, making it the perfect place for musicians, producers and DJs to find what they need to release music alongside making it.

If you are looking to choose a music distributor for a convenient and brisk service that is also very affordable and want to focus more on music production and less on post-production, then LANDR will certainly be the one for you!

1. Pricing

Okay, if they have that many different services, how does their pricing plan work? Well, they have implemented a lot of options that users can choose from, depending on what their musical needs are.

Let’s have a look. Prices range from $9 to $149 per year for distribution. LANDR also offers a unique plan called “All Access Pass - LANDR Studio”, which lets you access multiple tools and services. This plan costs $143/year and includes unlimited distribution, unlimited mastering, access to over 2 million samples, and a lot more.

LANDR pricing LANDR pricing

LANDR also has the option for both “Pay per release” and “Unlimited” plans. Again these variants are useful and specific for different situations. In terms of Unlimited distribution, LANDR offers 3 different plans - from 23.99$, 44.99$ to the Unlimited Pro plan we already have mentioned above that is 143.88$ per year.

Pay-per-release options are also available for both a single - 9€ or an album - 19€. Both prices are one-time fees, meaning that you pay once, get it released and then you have no obligations and recurring fees whatsoever.

LANDR pricing

If you’re not ready to distribute music just yet, don’t worry, they also have other non-distribution plans including Mastering Only, Plugin subscriptions, and Sample Subscription. All this flexibility can be quite useful when choosing a music distributor, as you can tailor it to your specific needs.

Finally, let’s have a look at the different things that you’d get depending on the plan you choose:

LANDR pricing plans

2. Royalties, Commission & Publishing

LANDR will not take any royalty shares from your earnings. You will keep 100% of your revenue from digital stores.

  • Royalty Split

The Royalty-Split option is available on every subscription plan LANDR offers.

  • Publishing

Unfortunately, if you want to collect all your royalties that are generated out there, you will need to do it yourself by registering it in a PRO if you’re releasing with LANDR. So, consider this when choosing a music distributor to work with.

  • YouTube Content ID

LANDR will get you a Youtube Content ID for your music so you can monetize your streams anytime someone uses your content on the video platform. However, there is a 20% commission.

3. Services

This is LANDR’s strongest suit. Not a lot of distributors can say that they have more services than this one. Let’s dig into it!

  • Mastering

This is certainly the highlight feature! LANDR is one of the few places where you can find professional, automated, AI-powered mastering, which imitates human engineers’ techniques to get a track ready for streaming.

LANDR AI focuses on more than just increasing the volume: it’s been designed to listen to the song and adjust all of its parameters. Over the years, this learning process has made AI smarter and more accurate at mastering tracks.

Today, the platform offers three mastering styles - warm, balanced and open and 3 different loudness settings - low, medium and high. Since this process usually requires a professional to be paid for doing the work, having it available is a plus when choosing a music distributor.

LANDR mastering

The idea of AI mastering is indeed a very controversial topic in the industry. Will online mastering get to the point where it could replace human work in the studio?

Well, we can’t know that and for now, let’s enjoy the fact that you can get a whole album mastered without leaving your room.

  • Sample packs

LANDR is also very popular as a samples and sample packs seller. On their website, you can browse through a million royalty-free samples, vocals, FX, melodies, etc. that will help you with resources for your production.

As in any other sample provider website, you can filter the search by genre, instrument, key, type etc., and preview them before downloading the audio sample and using it in your productions. In this way, the platform goes beyond being a music distribution service.

  • Plugins

They have really thought of everything, haven’t they? What is a music producer without a nice, solid collection of plugins? LANDR also sells and distributes plugins that you can buy directly from their website with your LANDR subscription.

LANDR plugins
LANDR plugins

Their library includes VST plugins for any DAW you might be using, including effects, mastering and mixing plugins, synthesizers and instruments, and much more. Choosing a music distributor can certainly be made easier if all of them offered services like this.

4. Distribution

After all these features, let’s not forget why we’re here. Distribution is the second most used service from this company. LANDR is indeed a music distribution platform as much as CD Baby or DistroKid and it will help you get your tracks on streaming and take advantage of some additional tools.

If you choose to distribute your music with LANDR, you can get all of the support of a label-signed artist while you still get 100% of your independence and royalties.

The money you will receive comes from more than 150 digital stores and platforms, of course including Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, Tidal, Pandora, etc.

Another awesome thing about LANDR is the cover song license they offer.
LANDR can also help you distribute cover songs and collect the respective royalties for a $15 fee, which is a great utility to have when choosing a music distributor.

  • Beatport

LANDR does offer the opportunity to release your music on Beatport while working with them. The process requires you to only complete a short application form. Once you submit your application, it will be reviewed and you’ll be notified about your release’s eligibility. If it’s eligible, you have to simply select the Beatport store when building your EDM release and boom - your music will recently be on the Beatport charts.

Here it’s important to note that if you stop paying, your music will stay live on streaming sites!

5. Customer Support

In LANDR’s case, the customer support quality and response time would depend on the plan you are subscribed to, meaning that the more you pay - the more detailed and attentive support you will receive. Their team is full of professionals ready to help you and resolve any issues you might have encountered along the way.

SoundCloud for Artists

SoundCloud for Artists

There are very few people making music nowadays who haven’t heard of SoundCloud. The website is one of the most popular streaming platforms and a popular choice for independent musicians to upload their music and share it with the world. It is absolutely free to upload and listen to music, making it the perfect platform for beginners.

SoundCloud is also famous for its community and fan base of musicians as it has a wide range of community-focused tools, helping artists interact with users and vice versa. The company has recently presented their new music distribution platform called SoundCloud for Artists , which is the descendant of Repost by SoundCloud.

They have rebranded the whole service and are actively developing it and adding more new features and services as well as polishing the previous ones. This music distribution company has made history in the field, being the first to implement a revolutionary new fan-powered model that aims to pay artists directly based on top fans' listening tendencies.

1. Pricing

SoundCloud has the reputation of a free-to-use platform for uploading and share your music on. However, with the update and the new music distribution path they have taken, they added much more to their arsenal.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that the free version has disappeared, it is still there, now you just have more options to choose from. Soundcloud offers a total of 2 artist plans you can choose from - one of them is free and the other is based on a monthly subscription. Let’s have a look:

  • Next

The Next plan is the free option that SoundCloud offers which has established the opportunity for beginner artists to start sharing their music with the world and get in touch with their audience. It allows you to upload up to 3 hours of music and get basic fan insights.

SoundCloud Next plan

  • Next Pro

For a flat fee of $7.08 a month for a SoundCloud Next Pro subscription will allow you to upload unlimited tracks to the website as well as unlimited distribution to all major streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.

It also gives you access to some of the brand-new SoundCloud features such as management and analytics, mastering, Splice offers, and more.

SoundCloud Next Pro plan

2. Royalties, Commission & Publishing

  • Royalties

Ok, straight to the point - unfortunately, SoundCloud will take 20% of everything you earn and you will keep 80% of the remaining royalties. The good news is that since they are the first company to implement fan-based royalties, you would be getting a service like no other - your fans' dedication can actually generate revenue.

Another important aspect is that only with this music distribution company you would get SoundCloud monetization, meaning royalties from your streams on that very website. It’s a tricky situation and again, it all depends on your situation and needs as an artist when choosing a music distributor online. If you have a well-established fanbase on their website, this would be very beneficial for you. On the other hand, if you are just starting out, maybe you should consider another service.

  • Split Pay

SoundCloud for Artists does offer the option for Split Pay so you can share the earnings with collaborators. However, this option is only available on the Next Pro plan.

  • Publishing

Another great thing that the new rebrand has to offer is the new Publishing service called SoundCloud Publishing. Their team will take care of your royalties outside of the streaming platforms, identifying and collecting them from territories around the world. They will also work to secure your music a place in films, games, and other media which will certainly generate significant additional revenue.

3. Services & Add-ons (Next Pro)

Let’s have a look at some of the features that you will have access to if you decide to distribute your music with SoundCloud Nex Pro:

  • Identify and message your top fans and get direct feedback from them.
  • Access to YouTube Content ID, allowing you to be paid when your music is used on YouTube
  • Access to priority SoundCloud help and support.
  • Free track mastering up to 3 times per month, powered by Dolby.
  • Replace a SoundCloud track while maintaining your play and like counts.
  • Over $1,500 worth of savings on exclusive offers & discounts from partners like Splice, Serato, and Tracklib.

4. Distribution

Some of the platforms that SoundCloud for Artists can currently get your music on include:

Amazon, Apple Music / iTunes, Audiomack, Ayoba, Beatport (only available through SoundCloud’s legacy Repost Select plan currently), Deezer, Facebook/Instagram, Mixcloud, Napster, NetEase, Shazam, Spotify, Tencent, Tidal, TikTok, Twitch, YouTube Music, Musixmatch and a lot more.

They are also adding new stores and your music will automatically appear on them for no additional cost.

5. Customer Support

In terms of customer support, SoundCloud Help center for the Free version is always there and always an option. Their team will answer any questions and resolve any problem you might be experiencing relatively fast.

However, if you are subscribed to their new Next Pro plan, you will get access to priority SoundCloud customer support. This basically means that the quality of customer service depends on how much you're paying. When choosing a music distributor like this one, it's important to look into what the different payment tiers can offer you.

Best for: Artists with an already established SoundCloud fanbase

When Choosing a Music Distributor, There are a Lot of Things to Consider

In order to succeed in todays’ music industry world, digital distribution is indeed the most direct route to your fans. Choosing a music distributor is a vital part of that, as publishing your own songs is something that requires a lot of time and effort.

And finally and most importantly, in order to choose a music distributor, you need to understand your needs and what direction you want to take as an upcoming artist. There are a lot of different types of releasing music – for some artists it’s more convenient to be signed to a label, while others prefer taking all creative control and releasing music on their own.

It is important to know how you want to be perceived and how you can achieve it. Different distributors offer a different approach, different services and different paths. This is the reason there is no universal “best” music distribution out there. There is only the best one for you. We have analyzed some of the popular ones out there and have come to the conclusion that every one of them has a lot to offer.

If you are interested in getting your music on TV, films and all kinds of media, then CD Baby, Ditto or SoundCloud for Artists might be the pick for you as their publishing services are there to help you collect all royalties out there. If you are looking for mastering services or samples or plugins to support your production, then LANDR is definitely a top competitor when choosing a music distributor for your tracks.

If you are just starting out and you want a fast and hassle-free release - then DistroKid or TuneCore might be your choice. We hope that this guide has given you some directions and guidance in the world of music distribution and cleared your idea of what you want out of your release.