Disclaimer: This sponsored post is a professional review that contains links that may generate a commission for the author
Are you an aspiring musician looking to get your music out into the world? With so many digital music distributors out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for you. But fear not, we have done the research for you and found the best music distribution service that will help you reach a wider audience and grow your fan base.
In today's digital age, independent artists have more opportunities than ever to share their music with the world. Whether you're a solo artist or part of a band, getting your music on major streaming platforms like Spotify and online stores like iTunes is essential for reaching a wider audience and generating income.
However, navigating the complex world of digital music distribution can be as challenging as physical distribution (which is less important in the music industry nowadays). There are numerous platforms and services available, each with their own unique pros and cons. It's important to choose a service that can help achieve your goals and provides the proper tools and support to help you succeed as an independent artist.
Top Digital Music Distributors - Our Picks
- TuneCore *Editors Choice*
There are many more companies that release your music like Amuse, CDBaby, United Masters and others. But for a number of different reasons - including pricing and payouts/commissions - we don't think they're as good as our main picks.
Breakdown of the Best Music Distribution Companies
Let's dive into why we think the top 3 picks above are the best companies in the music industry to distribute your music with.
They all offer the same basic service, but each has their own pros and cons, which we get into in more detail below.
Tunecore is our #1 choice for getting your music out there. In our opinion, they're simply the best option out there.
They've got great pricing, customer support that is on point and distribute to a large number of platforms .
They're also one of the original solutions for getting your music on streaming sites, having started way back in 2006. And they've continued to adapt to the changing landscape - most recently on their pricing structure.
The company let's you distribute unlimited uploads of your music for a small yearly subscription fee. They also offer a free account that is more limited to where you can get your music on.
Here's a quick breakdown:
- Free account available (limited distribution)
- Pricing: $14.99 - $49.99 per year for unlimited releases & premium distribution
- Retain 100% ownership of your music
- Get 100% of streaming payouts/royalties - billions of dollars paid out to artists
- Distributes your music to 150+ platforms (including Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, iTunes and more)
- Comprehensive stats and analytics
- Great customer support, trusted brand with almost 2 decade track record
Distrokid is another mainstay digital distributor in the independent music world. They've been around for a number of years (not as long as Tunecore) and were the pioneers of the "unlimited distribution" model.
Even though they started that model, they're no longer the best (or most affordable) option for getting your music into all the digital music stores online. Tunecore now has better pricing than Distrokid. Distrokid is still a great choice for music distribution, but they lack a bit in the areas of support and payouts when compared against our top pick.
The main advantage they offer is a lot of cool extras and add-ons that you can add to your releases like adding lyrics or getting "master" level audio quality on Tidal.
The only problem is they aren't included in your yearly subscription price - you get unlimited releases for that yearly fee but each extra/addon you want has to be paid PER release. And that can become expensive really fast.
Here's a quick rundown:
- No free account
- Pricing: $19.99 - $79.99 / year for unlimited releases & premium distribution
- Retain 100% ownership of your music
- Get 100% of streaming payouts they collect
- Distributes to 150+ music platforms
- Stats and support are not bad, but could be better
- Lots of extras and addons available (that make the price per release add up quickly)
We had to give an honorable mention to the company RouteNote as a decent option for digital music distribution service. They're not a newer player on the block but they're making some waves recently. They don't have the same brand trust as Tunecore or Distrokid but have been around since 2008.
The biggest advantage of RouteNote is they have a free service (alongside the premium one) that can get your music on places like Spotify and other streaming sites.
The only catch is that they take a 15% commission of any payouts you might be entitled to - so you don't get 100% of your payouts. But if you have a premium/paid account, then there is no commission taken and you get the full 100% payout.
Here's their breakdown:
- Free or Premium plan subscription available (free accounts charged 15% commission on streaming revenue and other revenue streams)
- Premium pricing: $10 - $45 per release (one-time fee) + $9.99 yearly fee
- Retain ownership of your music
- Distribute your music to 200+ platforms (but not to Apple Music)
- Not the best choice for most artists.
Which Music Distribution Company Should You Choose?
Now that you have a rundown of the best companies to distribute music with, let's talk about which will be best for you.
In most cases, I think the best choice is Tunecore - they have the best pricing and support and offer a TRUE 100% royalty payout.
If, however, you absolutely MUST HAVE, for example, high-res Tidal "master" audio (or another extra/addon) then it's probably better to go with Distrokid, even though their pricing and support isn't as good as Tunecore's.
Finally, if you absolutely can't pay for a premium subscription but still need to get your music on Spotify, then you might want to consider RouteNote - but remember they take a cut if you distribute there for free.
So all in all, Tunecore is your best bet.
What to Consider When Picking a Music Distribution Platform
When you're trying to choose who to use to distribute your music to streaming services and digital stores, there are a few different factors to keep in mind.
These are the most important things you need to be concerned with when comparing music distributors.
Pricing and Royalties
The first and most important consideration should be:
- How much you have to pay to distribute music
- How much the company pays you for streaming royalties and sales
Those are the main factors that you need to consider. Most places will have similar structures in terms of pricing, but that's not always the case.
Unlimited distribution is a thing now, so look out for companies that charge you per release. And further, look out for companies that will take a cut of your payouts - sometimes in sneaky ways. The best music distribution companies offer you 100% of the payouts you music generates.
Which music stores and streaming services a company gets your songs on is another big consideration. Again, the best companies and services will have a wide reach and hit all of the major platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Tidal, Pandora, Deezer and more.
Also pay attention to which companies distribute to the Chinese and Indian markets, because they are fast becoming the top consumers of music and a growing demographic.
The best music distribution services have a reach of more than 150 stores across the world.
Rights and Ownership
If any music distributor wants to take a portion of your rights and ownership, turn around and run the other way. Enough said.
Additional Features and Services
Your main concern should be a platform that releases music widely and reliably and pays out all your earnings. But you can also take into consideration additional features and extras they may offer.
But consider these "nice-to-haves" and not something that is absolutely essential to your choice of best distributor.
Statistics and Analytics
Another thing to look out for is the amount of stats and analytics you'll have access to in the back end of the platform.
You need to be able to keep track of how your music and brand are performing online. The more robust of a analytics platform a company has, the better off you'll be.
Finally, a big consideration of who you choose to distribute your music with is customer support. And this isn't just people that can help answer your questions if something is confusing or goes wrong.
It also means pay attention to what the company does for the artists it works with - does it offer opportunities, education and resources to help you build your music career? The better companies out there (like Tunecore - our #1 pick) do offer these things.
What Is Music Distribution?
Music distribution refers to the process of making music available to the public by ensuring its availability on various platforms and channels. It involves the dissemination and delivery of music recordings to retailers, streaming services, radio stations, and other platforms that offer music to consumers.
Music distribution can be done through physical formats such as CDs and vinyl records, as well as through digital formats like streaming platforms and online stores. It also involves the licensing and copyright clearance necessary for the legal distribution of music.
Can I Distribute My Own Music Online?
No, unfortunately the major music platforms online like Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music don't work directly with artists. Further, they don't allow self-uploading for independent artists like other platforms such as Soundcloud.
The only way to get your music on these premium streaming platforms and music stores is to work with a digital music distribution company like Tunecore or Distrokid. They work with partner companies or directly with the music platforms to get music placed on them.
What Platforms Should I Distribute My Music to Online?
You can distribute your music wherever you'd like - there are thousands of different places people discover and consume music online.
The most important platforms to be on today are Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Pandora, iTunes, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Deezer, TikTok and Instagram.
Self-upload platforms like Soundcloud, Bandcamp and other social media sites are also very useful to an overall music distribution campaign.
How Does Digital Music Distribution Work?
Digital music distribution works today through various online platforms and services that allow musicians and record labels to distribute their music to a wide audience. Artists can upload their music to these platforms, which then make it available for streaming or downloading by users.
These platforms also handle the licensing and copyright issues, ensuring that artists receive proper royalties for their work.
An artist simply creates an account with a distribution company, and uploads their music (along with all relevant data and artwork) to their platform. The company then sends the music out to all of the different services that the artist chooses.
The release usually goes live anywhere between a few days to several weeks after submission. Every platform is different, unfortunately. Once released, however, the songs are available to stream and download worldwide.
Conclusion on the Best Digital Music Distribution Service Online
The most important thing an independent music artist can do is making sure their music is widely available to consume/listen all over the internet.
The only way to do this is through working with a platform to get your music out there. It's important to choose wisely, however. There are many options for you to choose from, but only a couple of the best music distribution services are worth looking into.
You can get started with one of the most trusted music distributors for free , and quickly get your music out there for the world to hear. Now, go make and release some music!
Disclaimer: The above is a sponsored post, the views expressed are those of the sponsor/author and do not represent the stand and views of Outlook Editorial.