There are dozens of distributors and making a choice has become increasingly difficult. But before going straight into the subject, let's take a look at what a music distributor is and what it's all about.
Before the Internet age, if you wanted to sell your music, it was necessary to be on a physical medium: vinyl, cassette or CD and then distribute them in many stores at the local and international level, this was the job of distributor.
Nowadays with internet, streaming, Youtube and Itunes, it is no longer necessary to have your music on a CD to sell it, you can use a "digital distributor" who will generally take care of:
To summarize, the business of the distributor is:
"Distribute your music to as many online platforms as they can and recover your royalties."
The answer is yes and no.
Yes, because you can't add music to the platforms yourself, and even if you did, it would take a lot of time. Then, as an artist, managing the streaming and sales reports of each platform is extremely complex.
Your distributor deals with this and it is in their interests that you get the maximum royalties because they take (often) a share.
However, the answer can also be no, because if you work with a record label, they are already managing the relationship with the distributor and in this case you do not have to worry about it.
I want to distribute my music without a label?
If you want to distribute your music here is the list of major distributors.
There are more and more distributors and the choice is therefore complicated. Spoiler: There is no better distributor, they all have specificities and different business models.
|Distributors||Register / Apply||Subscription||Price per single||Price per album||Commision on Streaming and Sales||Since||Advantages||Famous Artists||Headquarter|
|Awal||Apply||0||0||0||15%||1997||Slick interface and 30 day rolling term||Lauv, Madison Beer, Little Simz, deadmau5||United Kingdom|
|Believe Digital||Apply||0||0||0||Around 30%||2005||Good support and can pitch the release to platforms, better pay by play on Spotify||FKJ, Parcels,||France|
|CD Baby||Register||0||$9 to $34||$29 to $49||0%||1998||CD and Vinyl possibility and Publishing option||USA|
|DistroKid||Register||$19,99 / year||0||0||0%||2013||Unlimited release and good marketing tools||Ludacris, Megan Devies, Dweezil Zappa||USA|
|Ditto Music||Register||€19 / year||0||0||0%||2005||Ed Sheeran, Dodie Clark, Sam Smith,||United Kingdom|
|Landr||Register||By release or unlimited at $48 / year||$1 / month||0%||2014||Online Mastering option||A$AP ANT, Luke Rathborne, Prime||Canada|
|Octiive||Register||By release or Unlimited for $ 27.99 / year||7.99 / year||17.99 / year||0% - 8%||2011||First single for free||Chaka Khan, Chief Keef, Master P, Kaya Jones||USA|
|Record Union||Register||0||$7-15 / year||$13 - 25 / year||7,5 - 15%||2008||Exclusive opportunities for artists and A&R program||Sweden|
|Reverb Nation||Register||$9.95 to 19,99 per year||$1 / year||$9 / year||0%||2006||Many marketing tools for Artists||USA|
|Tunecore||Register||0||€ 9,99 / year||€49,99 / year||0%||2005||Publishing option||M. Maggie, Devvon Terrel, The Undercover Dream Lovers||USA|
There are two types of distributors, those open to everyone and those who make a selection (Awal and Believe Digital). The last two have a reputation for being more engaged in promoting artists and we can see that they don't charge anything but take a major commission on royalties.
On the other hand, we can see a real difference with distributors like DistroKid, Ditto, Tunecore or Record Union who charge a fee per release per year or a subscription.
There is not necessarily a better choice, it's up to you to judge but a tip that can be important is the location of the distributor. Indeed, if you are a French artist the choice of Believe Digital who headquarter in France can certainly help you.
To conclude, the cheapest ones are:
Those with the best support and the best help to speed up the artists carreers are:
I hope you liked this article, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.