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  • Writer's pictureAmit Sher

Top 8 Best Digital Distribution Services

(Digital Distribution Platform Comparison)




Best music distribution services:

  1. CD Baby

  2. TuneCore

  3. DistroKid

  4. AWAL

  5. Ditto Music

  6. Amuse

  7. LANDR

  8. ONErpm


Digital music distributors have made placing your music on streaming platforms as simple as possible. Digital distributors, such as CD Baby, TuneCore, and DistroKid for example have provided music artists with the opportunity to get their music placed on major streaming services such as iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, Deezer, TikTok, Shazam and much more. This can save you loads of time since you don’t have to upload your song individually to each platform.


Music distribution companies help get your music out to the public for listening and purchasing. Before the transition to online music distribution, a music distribution company was seen as the intermediary between an artist and a music store. This middleman would assist the artist in promoting their music, get people to purchase albums, and then take a percentage of the profits earned.


Thanks to the fast internet revolution, the music industry adapted and became more available to independent artists, which led to music distribution becoming digital. This has made the process of distributing music much simpler than ever before.


You’re probably wondering, How do digital music distribution companies differ from each other? How is an artist supposed to choose which platform to use?


Well, to find the answer to these questions, you have come to the right place. We have selected the top 8 distribution services in 2023, currently they are the most popular digital distribution platforms worldwide, and have compared each of them based on certain criteria, including pricing, fees, commission, and distribution options. Some of them are free music distribution services, others are paid services, every music distribution service works differently. All of them distribute your music online to the music stores and major streaming platforms.

By looking into these music digital distribution companies, we will be able to identify which platform is best for you to use to distribute your music.

Comparison summary of the music distribution companies listed below:




Here are the best music distribution services:

Cdbaby Logo
Cdbaby

1. CD Baby


Topping our list of the best music distribution companies is CD Baby. The largest and oldest digital distribution company. Established in 1998, the platform offers physical and digital distribution for artists but also offers physical distribution as well. They review all artists' music submissions and have partnerships with streaming giants Spotify and Apple Music. They also provide the option for physical distribution of music, as they have partnered with over 15,000 record stores. They are also seen as the preferred music provider for Apple Music, so they can make songs available to listeners in just a couple of days.


CD Baby collects all the performance royalties you’re owed worldwide as well as all your mechanical royalties for international downloads and streams that PRO’s do not collect (Performing Rights Organizations).

CD Baby charges a one-time fee per song release with no annual fees, they, however, keep 9% of your total digital distribution revenue.

They are a well respected music distribution service that any artist should look into.


Pricing:

  • $9.95 Dollars - Single

  • $29 Dollars - Album


Commission:

  • 9% of total streaming royalties

Pros:

  • One time fee

  • 150+ streaming and download services worldwide

  • Distributes to China as well as TikTok

  • They will collect all of the performance royalties you’re owed worldwide.

Cons:

  • No lyrics distribution

  • Optional additional fees

  • Take commissions from your royalties.


TuneCore Logo
TuneCore

2. TuneCore


TuneCore is a New York based music distribution company that was founded in 2005. TuneCore represents roughly 10% of the 20 million songs on iTunes.

In June 2022, TuneCore made some major changes to their pricing model in order to compete with other music distribution companies such as DistroKid and CD Baby. TuneCore now offers a variety of annual subscription services to choose from. All plans, however, still allow you to keep 100% of your royalties from digital service providers.

It is important to note that Tunecore keeps 20% of your revenue earned from social media platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

The annual fee to distribute one album on TuneCore is more expensive than DistroKid’s entire annual fee, which provides unlimited releases! The cost can add up over time if you decide to distribute multiple albums. That being said, if you’re the type of artist who likes to keep 100% of their revenue and leans more towards quality over quantity, then TuneCore might be better suited for you, especially if your music releases are already receiving a lot of streams.

Pricing:

  • $14.99–49.99 (annually) for unlimited releases.

Commission:

  • 15%–20% (only from revenue earned through social media platforms)

Pros:

  • Lyrics distribution

  • Extra services like music publishing

  • You keep 100% of your royalties from DSP’s

Cons:

  • You have to pay an annual fee and take a commission.

  • There is no official payment splitting option.


DistroKid Logo
DistroKid

3. DistroKid:


DistroKid was founded in 2013, they have become one of the more preferred choices amongst independent artists wanting to distribute music, due to their rapid rate of distribution.

DistroKid’s inexpensive and effective service can get your songs distributed in under 48 hours. Their basic plan only costs an annual fee of $19.99. This is relatively affordable compared to other distribution services. This inexpensive plan provides unlimited uploads and distribution for up and coming artists.

The downside to Distrokid is that if you don't keep paying for your annual subscription, your songs may be removed/taken down. You will also need to pay extra for features that are not included in the basic plan, such as a custom release date and a custom label name.

DistroKid collects and keeps track of the revenue generated, and takes a 0% commission from your earnings (minus taxes/fees).

DistroKid has provided a helpful payment splitting option for artists, where they can split earnings from any song/album and automatically send them out to collaborators they worked with. Collaborators will only be able to see their own earnings. Artists can also adjust revenue splits at any time and add an unlimited number of collaborators.

Pricing:

  • $19.99 annually for one artist

Commission:

  • No commission, artist keeps 100% of all earnings (minus fees).

Pros:

  • Affordable and quick releases

  • 100% royalties

  • Payment splitting option

Cons:

  • Optional additional fees

  • Pay extra for the custom release date, label name, and additional artist.




Awal Logo
Awal

4. AWAL


AWAL works slightly differently from the other distributors mentioned above. AWAL is a free music distribution service; however, you have to go through a review process in order to join their platform. Artists can join AWAL either through a direct referral of someone they trust or through their online A&R submission process. You will need to submit your portfolio to them to be reviewed, and if they like your music, you may be selected to join their platform.

AWAL insists that independent artists own their work from start to finish and keep creative control over their work, as well as keep 85% of the revenue earned. AWAL states that they enjoy working with artists who are already gaining a decent amount of streams. This can definitely have a positive impact on your royalty earnings.

AWAL distributes music to over 200 territories, platforms, and digital stores worldwide. Artists also have the freedom to leave the platform at any time.

Price:

  • Free (submit portfolio for review)

Commission:

  • 15% commission

Pros:

  • Free to join

  • No upfront fees

  • Lyric and credit distribution

Cons:

  • Takes commission

  • Need to be reviewed and accepted to join.

Ditto Logo
Ditto

5. Ditto Music


Founded in 2005, Ditto Music is another popular digital distributor for independent musicians. Their pricing is almost the same as Distrokid, as Ditto also charges a $19 annual fee, and you can release an unlimited number of songs.

Ditto Music is also well known for having a few extra services that most distributors do not offer. These services include Vevo channel management as well as assistance in music chart registration. The only downside to this is that these extra services come at an additional cost. Most additional services that Ditto offers are not included in any of their plans. You will need to pay separately for them after creating your artist account.

Even though there have been a few complaints from artists regarding Ditto’s lack of customer service. Ditto has also provided artists with the option to split royalty payments with anyone who deserves a slice of the pie, e.g., band members.

Price:

  • $19 (annual fee, one artist)

Commission:

  • No commission

Pros:

  • Inexpensive service

  • Artists keep 100% of royalties.

  • Distributes to China and TikTok

Cons:

  • Pay extra for certain services.

  • Some upfront fees


Amuse Logo
Amuse

6. Amuse


Amuse is a digital distribution service that has both free and paid plans for artists to choose from. It is well-known for its free plan, under which artists keep 100% of their royalties. The free plan allows musicians to upload a maximum of 12 releases each year, with 100% of revenues going to the artist. If you wish to post more than 12 songs to Amuse in a year, you must pay for one of the two subscription plans they provide.

One disadvantage of the free plan is that it has a four-week evaluation period. That is, you must post your music release at least a month before the targeted release date. Amuse also does not allow independent musicians to use the free plan to distribute their music on social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook.

Amuse, as previously noted, offers two priced options. The Boost Plan and the Pro Plan are also available. The Boost plan is $24.99 per year, while the Pro plan is $59.99 per year. The Boost plan is best suited for independent musicians that wish to release more than 12 songs each year and reach a larger audience on social media sites such as Tik Tok and Instagram, among others. The Pro plan, on the other hand, is designed for more professional artists who work as part of a team or who manage numerous artists.

If you compare the services of Amuse to DistroKid, for example, DistroKid is by far more popular as they distribute more music than Amuse. That being said, Amuse has the option of a free plan, whereas DistroKid does not. Amuse also does not have any additional fees like DistroKid does.

If you're just starting out or if you are already gaining some serious streams, Amuse is a decent option for every type of music artist.

Price:

  • Free

  • $24.99 (Boost Plan: Annually)

  • $59.99 (Pro Plan: Annually)

Commission:

  • No commission

Pros:

  • Artists keep 100% of royalties.

  • Payment splitting option

  • A free plan is available.

  • There is no need to continue a paid plan to keep the songs live.

Cons:

  • Long review time on the free plan

  • Some hidden fees

  • Does not distribute to China

  • There is no option for lyrics distribution.


LANDR LOGO
LANDR

7. LANDR


LANDR is a convenient and well known music distribution company and is a popular choice amongst independent music artists. This creative digital distribution platform built for musicians is famous for the multiple services available to artists, such as music distribution, AI mastering, plugin subscriptions, and sample packs.

LANDR has come out with an all-in-one subscription service, where artists can access all of their services in one plan. The yearly subscription costs $12.50 per month. If you, however, decide that you want to only use one of their many services, e.g., the mastering service, you will have to purchase a plan just for that specific service, as LANDR has different plans for the different services they offer.

Regarding music distribution, LANDR has 3 different pricing plans available: pay-as-you go, complete, and unlimited.

Their basic ‘pay as you go’ plan is priced at $9 per single release and $29 per album or EP. Unfortunately, there is a 15% commission on royalties earned if you select this plan.

LANDR also provides artists the opportunity to split royalty payments automatically and has promised to never take your music releases down, Even if you decide to cancel your plan, you will still keep earning 85% of your streaming royalties.

Pricing: (Distribution)

  • Pay as you go (no annual fee)

  • Complete: $20 per year

  • Unlimited: $89 per year

Commission:

  • 15% commission on the ‘Pay as you go’ plan.

  • There is no commission on the Complete and Unlimited plans.

Pros:

  • Split royalty payments option

  • Continue earning royalties even after canceling a plan.

  • Access to other services

  • Able to release music in 2 days

Cons:

  • Takes commission

  • Upfront fees

  • No free plans


One RPM LOGO
One RPM

8. ONErpm


ONErpm is one of the very few music distribution companies that charges no fees at all! They do, however, take a 15% commission, but if that doesn't bother you so much, then this platform could be for you. There are also no registration, subscription, or distribution fees when using their service.

The self-service platform provides artists with the opportunity to upload and distribute an unlimited amount of music and videos without spending a dime. The DIY music distribution company is also a fully established record label.

ONErpm also provides additional services to artists, such as promotional, accounting, marketing, and analytical tools. They want artists to have full control over the distribution of their own music.

Pricing:

  • Free (no fees)

Commission:

  • 15% commission as an unsigned artist

Pros:

  • It’s free!

  • No hidden or upfront fees

  • Payment splitting option

  • Lyric distribution

  • Additional free tools and services

Cons:

  • It takes a 15% commission.

  • No customer support via live chat Conclusion:


Spotify player
Music Distribution



So what is the best music distribution company, you may ask?

Overall, each digital distributor has its own pros and cons compared to others. The only way you will know which music distribution company is best for you is by looking at your own current situation as an artist, and trying to figure out which distributor can provide you with services that can help grow your career.

If you are on a tight budget, and royalty cuts don’t matter to you at this point, then platforms with free services such as ONErpm, Amuse, or AWAL may be the best music distribution service for you. If you are, however, an already established artist that is already gaining a decent amount of streams, and decide you might want a music distribution service that also has additional services available for artists, then DistroKid or LANDR may be better suited to you.

It all really comes down to which music distribution service best fits your needs as an artist. If you are the kind of artist that already generates lots of streams, then you might consider working with a music distribution company that takes a one time fee and lets you (the artist) keep all the rights.




Different Music Genres
Music distribution services


What's Next?


Once you have selected a music distribution service, you can now use a music submission platform like One Submit to expose and promote your music. We help artists submit music to Spotify playlists as well as help artists send music to radio stations, YouTube channels, music blogs, TikTok Influencers and even labels!

Every song submitted receives a review by a curator in the same genre as your music. If they like your music, they will add it to their playlist, channel, blog etc.

It really is as simple as that!



Keywords:
streaming service, major music stores, universal music group, other music distribution services, new music, music distribution company, record labels, music promotion, free distribution, music distribution platform, hidden fees, streaming revenue, music discovery, digital releases.




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