The onset of digital distribution companies has revolutionized options for indie musicians, making it so much easier to acquire new fans and earn royalties. Ever since the first mp3-player discovered the light of the world, music has moved more and more to the digital arena. With hundreds of streaming outlets out there, you only need to find the right one among yet another plethora of digital distribution companies. To keep an eye on current developments, it’s always worth it to check out aristake.com. Before you lose yourself in your search for your perfect music distribution companies, take a look at this top 10 and take your own conclusions.
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1. CD Baby
CD Baby has been one of the first digital distribution companies that were founded in the UK in 1998. But it’s not just the long years they’ve been around which highlights their services. At present, they are the only music distribution company that offers digital distribution as well as physical distribution of your music. Since they were acquired by Downtown Music in 2019, they’ve unfortunately turned in a little conglomerate. They distribute your single for a one-time fee of $ 9.99 or album for $ 29.99 to more than 150 streaming outlets and take 0% commission without annual or sign-up fees.
Distrokid evolved out of a musician’s networking platform in 2013 and was officially founded in 2015. With an annual fee of $ 19.99 per artist/band or more depending on how many artists/bands you want to distribute your music with, your music is also available to more than 150 streaming platforms. DistroKid neither deducts any commission from your royalties, though they collect royalty payments via another company and not directly from the outlets. Thus, the payment party deducts its part, but otherwise, all royalties go into your pocket.
Tunecore was the second of all digital distribution companies entering the scene in 2005. While Tunecore asks for an annual fee of $ 9.99 per single and $ 29.99 per album, they take 0 % commission. Contrary to DistroKid they collect your royalties directly from 150 + streaming services. You also have to invest with a sign-up fee to use their services.
LANDR was only founded rather recently in 2017 and is often chosen for its convenience. They don’t ask for fees per artist/band or even per single and album. Instead, they ask you an annual fee of $ 89 to distribute your songs to about 75 streaming outlets. The huge advantage that sets them apart from other digital distribution companies is unlimited releases. You can release as many songs or albums with them as you desire. They don’t take any commission with that plan. If you opted for a cheaper annual distribution fee, they will ask for a commission fee per single and album.
Established in 2012, ONEprm is one of the few digital distribution companies that ask for no distribution fees at all. There’s no sign-up or annual fee, but they do take a 15 % commission from your royalties. With ONErpm you don’t have to be wary of hidden fees either. The best thing about ONErpm is, you may get offered a record deal with them. Of course, you can expect a lot more services if you sign their record deal. But the more services you get, the more fees will eventually be slapped onto the deal.
RouteNote has been around since 2008 and asks for distribution fees according to the number of songs you wish them to distribute as part of a premium package. With a premium plan, they don’t ask for any commission. However, they happily also distribute your music for free, if you accept them to keep 15 % as commission. They’ve partnered with SoundCloud and can monitor the data. If your song catches on, they like to target playlist editors and tastemakers. Thus, RouteNote can push you without you even knowing. Their revenue reports are clear and there are no hidden fees with RouteNote either.
Since Songtradr joined the row of digital distribution companies in 2018, they distribute your music via a partner to about 100 outlets. Similar to RouteNote they offer a free distribution of your music. If you opt for the free plan, they ask for a 10 % commission. With an annual fee of just $ 20 per artist/band and additional subscriptions for more artists/bands, they don’t ask for a commission. Your royalties stay with you, while also your lyrics get distributed.
FreshTunes joined the family of digital distribution companies in 2016. They directly distribute your music to 25 outlets (except for three regions) for free. They ask for no distribution fee, sign-up fee, or even a commission. However, they do have some hidden fees and their revenue reports aren’t very transparent. For additional fees, they will promote your music and also take care of your cover artwork.
Similar to FreshTunes, 2011 founded AWAL doesn’t ask for either distribution fees or annual fees. Since they also need to keep their company going, they take a commission of 15 % from your royalties. They additionally offer label services to their best-performing artists. AWAL is a good choice for anyone who already has some traction and would like to distribute to more than 200 outlets.
10. Horus Music
Horus Music has also been around for quite a while, like others of the top digital distribution companies. They offer to distribute your music to more than 200 outlets and only ask for an annual fee. For a solo artist/band it’s as low as $ 20 per year and they neither take a commission. If you opt for label services from Horus Music they ask for a commission of 20 % though. They basically are open for all while they offer a series of mechanisms to support your marketing and promotion efforts. That does come with a fee, though. Other than that, their revenue reports are very clear and transparent.
Parting Words On 10 Digital Distribution Companies For Indie Artists
So now it’s your turn, take your time, and do the proper research on many, if not all of the companies mentioned above. A business partnership is no joke, so don’t take this task lightly. As an indie artist, make sure that business is taken care of so you can focus 100% on the creative side. That being said, get out there and make some music!