With so many different music distribution services available to independent artists, it can be a real headache to decide which one is right for you.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at two of the best budget music distribution services out there Amuse vs DistroKid – which is best?
We’ve tried and tested both music distributors extensively, and we’re going to look at how both services compare on value for money, distribution times, payment times, distribution territories, and more.
Amuse vs DistroKid- Which is Best? (Quick Verdict)
Amuse has a free tier which is ideal for musicians on a tight budget. However, this free plan has massive limitations, slow distribution times, and takes 15% commission on streaming royalties. DistroKid offers a far better service, and more features for more established artists, at a reasonable, yearly cost.
Amuse is a dark horse in the music distribution game and they set themselves apart with their innovative free tier and app – which allows you to upload and distribute your music from your phone as well as keep track of your progress.
Amuse’s unique features mean they offer DistroKid some competition in terms of simplicity, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness. However, DistroKid certainly still hold the upper hand in terms of features for artist development as well as better value for money in their paid tiers.
Amuse’s free tier draws users into their service and encourages them to become paying customers once they’re signed up. However, if you’re going to pay any money for releasing music, DistroKid is the better option.
Distrokid vs Amuse At A Glance
|Service||Price||Commission||Insta/TikTok?||YouTube Content ID?||SoundCloud Monetization?||Publishing Royalties?||Pre-Save Links?||Asian Distribution?||Accepts Covers?|
$35.99/year (Musician Plus),
$135.99/year (Label 10 artists)
|0%||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes – tenecent||Yes|
|15% free plan |
0% paid plan
|Yes (Boost and Pro only)||Yes (Boost and Pro only)||Yes (Boost and Pro only)||No||Yes (Boost and Pro only)||Yes – tenecent||Yes – but artists have to source their own cover licence|
DistroKid Pros & Cons
✅ Cheap yearly subscription for unlimited releases.
✅ Fast music distribution to all stores
✅ Keep 100% of your revenue from streams
✅ One of Spotify's preferred music distribution company
✅ Quick customer service
✅ Great artist development and marketing tools like pre-saves, video generators, playlist submission etc.
❌ Additional costs for extras like legacy features, Shazam, Instagram stories. YouTube Content ID, and ad revenue
❌ Don't have publishing partners that help collect your royalties
❌ Customer service is sometimes clueless
DistroKid is the best music distribution service for independent artists starting out in a music career. It's the quickest, and easiest music distribution service that pays the most per stream and offers the most in terms of artist development.
They offer everything you need to get started, including pre-save links, cover song licensing, monetization on YouTube, distribution to all stores + major streaming platforms like Spotify, including bonuses like playlisting, video generators, and more.
However, DistroKid does have some fairly hefty add-on costs for certain features. This is one of the reasons they can keep their subscription prices low.
Alongside this, one of the main critiques of DistroKid is their outdated user interface, which can put some users off and is very basic compared to other music distributors’ swankier analytics hubs.
Amuse Pros & Cons
✅ Free digital music distribution
✅ Good mobile app, with the ability to upload directly from your phone and a great user interface
✅ Offer a label deal if your music does well, and you can be scouted for artist advanced etc.
✅ Good marketing tools like pre-saves, analytics dashboards and earnings reports
✅ Help to get you on playlists if scouted
✅ Don't take commission on paid plans
❌ Slow customer service & slow upload times
❌ Costs for royalty splits and cover licenses
❌ 15% commission and only 12 releases a year on free plan
Amuse is one of the best free music distribution companies including unique artist development services such as artist advances and the chance to be signed to their in-house label.
Amuse operate a very artist-centered model which is designed to encourage artists to grow their music career through them, instead of simply using it as a music distribution service.
Amuse’s team keeps an eye on artists who use their service and they use algorithms to determine their popularity and potential success. If you're picked out by the Amuse team you can be eligible for an advance and maybe even a spot on their label.
That being said, there are a few features that set them back when compared to big players like DistroKid.
For example, to release cover songs on Amuse you have to find and source your own cover license unlike on DistroKid – where they obtain the license, renew it, and make sure it’s all legal for $12/year. Similarly, if you’re releasing music on the Amuse free plan, you have to concede 15% of your royalties if you want to split the royalties with song contributors.
In Amuse, the upload times and customer service response times are tiered depending on your subscription. This means that you have to pay more if you want customer service support or if you want your song to be released in under 4 weeks. This is a downside compared to DistroKid which offers the same support and distribution times to all users.
Which Is The Fastest To Distribute – Amuse or Distrokid?
It takes 2-5 days to get your music uploaded to streaming services using DistroKid. With Amuse, music distribution time is determined by your subscription – 4 weeks with ‘Start', 2 weeks with ‘Boost', and 10 days with ‘Pro'.
Here are the waiting times for DistroKid when uploading music:
- Spotify: 2-5 days
- Apple Music/iTunes: 1-7 days
- Amazon: 1-2 days
- YouTube Music: 1-2 days
- Deezer: 1-2 days
- Tidal: 1-2 days
- Facebook/Instagram: 1-2 weeks
- TikTok: 1-3 weeks
In my experience with DistroKid, uploads can take as little as 3 days. However, this may take longer if your track, album art, and description do not meet DistroKid’s requirements. If this happens your track may be flagged for manual review, which can take up to 2 weeks.
Amuse takes much longer and even if you’re paying Pro prices, your uploads take longer than DistroKid’s (even on DistroKid's most basic plan).
During the upload and review process, Amuse keep you updated on their app. This is a useful and transparent tool that really puts your worries to rest if you’re waiting for a song to be uploaded.
DistroKid offers a similar service over email. Their emails are useful but the great thing about the Amuse app is you get all this information in one place.
Even though Amuse takes longer than DistroKid to release music, this isn’t necessarily a problem.
The best practice, when releasing your music is to set a custom release date for at least three weeks after your initial submission. This means that your music will be released on all stores at the same time. This allows for a much more effective release and fans will be able to engage with your music at the same time as soon as it is released and you can build a release plan to promote this date. This will massively improve your numbers on the first day and push your algorithmic performance as well as allowing you to submit your music to playlisters like Spotify’s own editorial selection.
Obviously, DistroKid wins in the fastest distribution category. That being said, often times it’s best to be strategic and considered when you upload your music and Amuse’s distribution times aren’t necessarily a deal breaker.
Payment Times & Payout Fees – Distrokid vs Amuse
When you request to withdraw money from DistroKid or Amuse, you’re being paid for streams from 2-3 months ago. Once the major streaming platforms process and report your fees it takes DistroKid 1-14 days to process your payment and it takes Amuse 1-3 days.
For both music distributors, payment time is determined by your chosen pay-out method and your location.
On DistroKid, the fastest pay-out option is PayPal, which often takes 48hrs. On Amuse, PayPal is also the faster and cheaper method but it only takes them 30 minutes to pay you.
PayPal is DistroKid’s default payout option but here’s more information on all the choices they give you:
- PayPal – One of the fastest methods, funds should arrive within 48 hours. Fees are $1 plus 2% of the payment amount with a total ceiling of $2 in the U.S. Amounts over $10,000 will be split into separate payments.
- Wire – Most expensive fees per payment ($15 in the US, $20 international in local currency, and $26 International in USD). Arrives in your account instantly.
- eCheck – Can take 3-5 days to process. Takes a $1.50 per payment fee from U.S. customers and $5.00 from international customers.
- Check – Processes in up to 5 working days. $3 delivery fee.
- ACH (US only) – Also known as ‘Direct Deposit'. The money goes straight into your bank account. Takes a $1 Fee per payment.
DistroKid process all their payments through their partner Tipalti. Amuse handles all their payments themselves within the ‘Wallet’ section of their app. This is the main reason their payment times are so much faster.
Amuse offer different payment methods depending on where you live but the main ones are PayPal and Bank Transfer.
We’d recommend using PayPal over Bank Transfer if you live anywhere outside of the US.
PayPal has a withdrawal fee of $1 and the payment usually takes around 30 minutes. If you’re using the bank transfer option then it costs more to withdraw your earnings and it usually takes 1-2 business days. The time and cost of withdrawals depends on where you live and it can cost up to $15 dollars when converting from US dollars to your local currency.
Amuse also offers to fast-forward early withdrawals, which is an advance on your royalties. Amuse determine whether you’re eligible for this service by forecasting your future earnings using your previous data. This means you’re essentially being paid your royalties before you’ve earned them.
This is obviously the quickest payment time possible, however, this is basically a loan and you will have to pay this back out of your account balance. Additionally, if your earnings are not forecasted correctly, you will have to pay them back.
The Amuse app and their wallet system mean that they have the edge over DistroKid in payment times, withdrawal fees, and general convenience.
What About Publishing Royalties?
DistroKid and Amuse do not pay out publishing royalties. Distrokid is planning on creating a publishing team that will collect publishing royalties in the future. However, for now, it's best to sign up for a service that collects royalties for you such as BMI, ASCAP, or PRS.
If you don't, you will only be able to collect your streaming royalties, which is what Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services collect.
To ensure you make the most money out of your music, get started with a service that will collect them for you – we’d recommend using Songtrust to collect your mechanical royalties. Some distributors offer this service as part of their yearly subscription.
Ditto, TuneCore, and CD Baby all offer publishing services.
Is Payment Splitting Included?
Both DistroKid and Amuse offer an automatic royalty splitting option. With DistroKid this feature is free and with Amuse it is free unless you are using the Amuse free plan. If you use the free version there is a 15% commission taken from your royalties.
Payment splitting is incredibly useful when you collaborate with other artists. All you have to do is set the percentage split and Amuse or Distrokid will pay each collaborator their share automatically!
You can set up splits between co-writers, producers, or bandmates, and the revenue will automatically be paid to them at the agreed percentage.
When you’re working with many different people on a song or album it saves a lot of time and also removes any conflict within the group when revenue is split automatically.
Payment splitting can get messy and keeping track with spreadsheets can be a nightmare. This is why DistroKid and Amuse’s automatic royalty splits are a big plus.
Who Distributes To The Most Stores & Territories?
DistroKid distributes to more stores than Amuse. However, they both distribute to stores that are available in almost every territory, so their global reach is quite similar.
DistroKid distributes to these stores:
- Apple Music
- Instagram & Facebook
- TikTok, Resso & Luna
- YouTube Music
- Soundtrack by Twitch
- Tencent – which includes the following services:
- Yandex Music
- Kuack Media Group
- Plus many smaller outlets through MediaNet, such as Dubset
Amuse distributes to all the major stores and streaming platforms, including:
- Apple Music
- Claro Música
- Amazon Music
- iHeart Radio
- Google Music
- YouTube Music
- YouTube Content ID
- For Amuse Pro and Boost users, Amuse also distribute to Soundcloud, Anghami, Nuuday, YouTube Content ID, Soundtrack by Twitch, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
Most uploads submitted to Amuse or DistroKid will appear worldwide – or at least in every country with access to streaming services.
According to DistroKid some releases may not be distributed to all countries based on language, explicit content, licensing, and other various issues that are outside of DistroKid's control. But, the vast majority of releases will be available in the vast majority of countries.
It's also important to note that both Amuse and DistroKid distribute to Tencent, KKBOX, Boomplay, Claro Música, and Anghami.
Tenecent and KKBOX are responsible for the majority of streaming in Asia, Boomplay is the biggest music streaming service in Africa. Claro Música is a music streaming platform available in South America, Central America and Mexico. And Anghami is the first and largest legal streaming platform in the Arab world.
In terms of stores, DistroKid has the advantage because they offer slightly more than Amuse.
However, both of them distribute to all the major stores as well as the largest streaming services on all continents. If you use either DistroKid or Amuse, your music will be available all over the world, and choosing Amuse won’t limit the growth of your international fanbase.
What About Artist Development Tools & Marketing?
DistroKid and Amuse both offer useful tools for independent artists to grow and develop their careers. DistroKid offers a few more marketing and development tools than Amuse. Both offer great spotlighting for artists on social media and playlists, however, Amuse has the edge with their artist-friendly record label.
Perhaps DistoKid’s most useful tool for artists, HyperFollow provides artists with one easy link to promote your music.
Your HyperFollow page takes fans directly to your music on all DSPs and has the option for them to automatically follow you on Spotify and save your release.
HyperFollow also includes high-powered analytical tools so you can monitor the demographics of your fans and see how they listen and engage with your release.
In an age where social media engagement is key to gaining streams, DistroKid’s mini videos help you get noticed online. They offer free, short, customised videos which you can post straight onto your social media to promote your release. These can be themed backgrounds to post on your IG story, or customised meme videos like Marcel the monkey from Friends.
DistroKid offers many free, instantly customisable images to promote releases online too, which can be used for social media posts to let your fans know about upcoming releases!
As a DistroKid user you can submit your songs to the DistroKid genre playlists and be voted for by listeners. This is a useful feature because it can get you in some pretty big monthly listener playlists and help to increase your exposure and earnings.
Wheel of Playlist
This is a novelty tool where you can spin the wheel and determine your placement in the DistroKid playlists. For example, if you spin the number 158, your track is placed at 158 on the playlist.
DistroKid additionally allows you to add lyrics to your songs, which are made available on streaming services and search engines.
This is a great tool if someone’s heard a lyric in your song and wants to find it again. You can also add time synced lyrics to your music which so listeners using Instagram (as well as Spotify and Apple Music) can really engage with and share your song.
Amuse Record Label
Amuse has created its own unique record label which offers artist friendly deals to help independent artists grow their careers. They use data gathered from artists who release music with Amuse and determine whether artists have good potential as rising talents.
If Amuse spot and sign an artist they are then eligible for services such as marketing, financial support, music business and career guidance, branding, and PR consultancy. If your music is picked up by Amuse then these services can go a long way in growing your streams and your fanbase and help to turn you into an established artist in the music business.
These deals, unlike traditional contracts with record labels, are short term and mainly centred around helping artists to grow. This means that after the record deal is over, artists get to keep 100% of their rights and ownership and they aren’t trapped into long term exploitative deals.
This is a great feature for artist development and goes above and beyond any support offered to artists from DistroKid. This isn’t available to all Amuse users, but it definitely benefits those who are deemed as eligible.
Selected by Amuse
Amuse give every artist who distributes through them the opportunity to be spotlighted in their Spotify and Apple Music playlists as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. It doesn’t matter how many followers, streams, or listeners you have, if you release music with Amuse you’re eligible for selection.
To be selected you need to follow Amuse on Instagram, follow their “Selected by amuse 💛” playlists, and then submit your music here.
Amuse choose five songs each week, which are then added to their playlists. They also post them on the Amuse social media pages and tag the artists for extra exposure.
This is a great tool for growing your fanbase and is definitely as good as DistroKid’s wheel of playlist, if not better.
Amuse Fast Forward
Amuse fast forward is a royalty advance service, where Amuse pay artists in expectation of royalties they will earn later. Amuse monitor artists streaming numbers and, if they’re eligible, offer artists the option of withdrawing money and paying it back later from their account balance.
Artists can invest this money in their music career and use it to improve their marketing, fanbase growth, or recording quality. This can ultimately lead to more royalty payments down the line, which can then be used to pay off the advance.
We do advise some caution with this system as it is essentially a loan. But, if this money is invested correctly in your career, then it can be a really useful tool for artist development.
Who Wins on Price – DistroKid or Amuse?
Amuse offer the cheapest distribution because of their free tier. However, this tier offers very limited features and a slow-release time. If you’re going to pay for distribution, then DistroKid is the clear winner on price.
Click to enlarge the images below:
If you’re looking to start releasing your music, but you’re not too sure what to do and haven’t got any money to put towards it, then Amuse’s free offering is great. They offer distribution to all the major stores, for a 15% commission.
However, you can only release 12 tracks a year, you have to wait 4 weeks for distribution, you can’t use the custom release date feature, you don’t get access to pre-save, you have to give 15% commission for royalty splits, and you get pretty rubbish customer support.
These limitations are clearly intentional because Amuse wants you to upgrade and pay for your subscription. Making DistroKid’s subscriptions much better valued when compared.
The lowest DistroKid tier gives you everything Amuse’s free tier has, but better. You get unlimited releases to all streaming services, unlimited lyrics, instant Spotify verification, better customer support, and free royalty splits. This is all for under $20 a year.
It can be tricky to determine and compare which service is better for you based on price. This is because Amuse and DistroKid offer different features at different price points.
For example, with DistroKid’s Musician Plus you get a customizable record label name and multiple artists accounts for $35.99/year.
To get these features with Amuse you need to get Amuse Pro for $59.99/year. However, to schedule your custom release date with Amuse you need Amuse Boost ($24.99/year) which is cheaper than DistroKid’s Musician Plus.
While DistroKid offers one of the lowest prices for distribution compared to other major music distribution services, they offer lots of extras at a high premium which is important to note.
DistroKid Extras pricing:
- Shazam & iPhone Siri– $0.99/year/song.
- Store Maximizer – $7.95/album/year (automatically delivers songs to new stores).
- YouTube Content ID – $4.95/single/year.
- Cover Song Licensing – $12/cover song.
- Leave a legacy – $29/single/year or, $49/album/year (keep tracks up for life)
- Tidal Master – $8.99/single or, $17.99/album (displays master badge on Tidal)
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because this is how they offer such a low price and none of these things is essential for a successful release.
However, it’s worth keeping an eye on costs and working out if any other music distribution service might be cheaper, as these costs can pile up quickly.
What About Customer Service? Who Wins – Distrokid or Amuse?
DistroKid and Amuse generally offer great customer service support to artists. However, there are sometimes issues that aren’t always fully understood or where copy and paste FAQ answers are sent back. You will pay more for customer service on Amuse than you will with Distrokid.
Judging by reviews on sites like Trust Pilot and Reddit people are generally impressed by the support they receive from both distributors.
The support we've had using both has been pretty decent and lines up with what others say, but we need to mention – it's quite difficult to get someone who understands your problem fully and doesn't just send copy-paste responses back.
Customer service with Amuse is staggered depending on which package you’re subscribed to. With the free plan, there’s no guaranteed response time, with ‘Boost’ you’re guaranteed to hear back within 72 hours, and with ‘Pro’ it’s 24 hours.
DistroKid offers a high level of customer service to all users whereas with Amuse it depends on how much you’re paying.
What Others Are Saying About Distrokid vs Amuse
DistroKid seems to be a favorite for most people in the music industry. On Trust Pilot, they have a 4.7-star rating which is pretty impressive. Amuse is also favorably received and they aren’t far behind with a 4.3-star rating. On Reddit and other forums, both have a good reputation, but DistroKid appears to win overall.
Online forums and articles generally seem to agree that both DistroKid and Amuse offer an easy-to-use service with great customer support.
The main praise of DistroKid is its value for money and the simplicity of its service. People do point out that DistroKid’s user interface is quite simplistic and outdated compared to Amuse’s, however, this is partly the reason that DistroKid is so reliable and easy to use.
Amuse’s app and free tier are definitely a winner among users. The main benefit of the app is that you have everything laid out in one place, all at your fingertips. This is quite a unique feature, and it seems to impress a lot of users who only came for free distribution.
The app makes the user experience so much better and it's really nice to use compared to DistroKid's dated platform.
Distrokid vs Amuse – Which is Best? (Full Verdict)
You should use Amuse if:
- You are an artist who wants to be signed to a label or are looking to be scouted
- You want to try releasing music before committing to a paid subscription
- You need an advance on royalty payments to fund your music career
You should use DistroKid if:
- You want great value distribution with 100% of your streaming royalties
- You want fast and wide global distribution with good customer support
- You want to distribute for multiple artists & have playlisting opportunities
DistroKid is the best music distributor when compared to Amuse. They offer 0% commission, unlimited releases, and a plethora of artist development tools for $19/year. Amuse is stripped back and costs you more when paid. They offer artist advances, scouting, and other features that DistroKid don't. Their free plan isn't worth it.
DistroKid is the quickest, and easiest music distribution service that pays the most per stream and offers the most in terms of artist development. Because of DistroKid’s cheap cost and the many features they offer, they make it easy for musicians to upload music quickly and get listeners engaged.
You get a quick upload time, know what you’re being paid and when you’ll get it. If there are any issues, DistroKid has a good customer service system to guide you through the minefield that is digital music distribution.
Amuse is a great option and their free tier, in-house label, and mobile app make them tough competition for DistroKid too. However, their free distribution plan takes too long to upload (4 weeks) and you only get 12 releases a year.
If you're going with Amuse, you'll likely end up paying for a plan, which end up being more expensive than DistroKid's plans. But, if you're an artist who is performing well already, you could make use of Amuse's scouting and label signing features.
Additionally, you may be able to get artist advances. All of these are not features you'll find on DistroKid.
Distrokid vs The Competition
There is a huge amount of competition for Distrokid and you might be choosing between many different services. Using our team of producers who have tried and tested each platform, we've written incredibly in-depth reviews for you, so you can find out the facts and decide which is best.
Check out some of our other vs articles here:
Does Distrokid Pay More Than Amuse?
DistroKid pays more than Amuse per stream. They are more established than Amuse and have more favorable deals with DSPs, meaning they can pay their artists more per stream when compared to Amuse.
Can I Use DistroKid & Amuse At The Same Time?
Yes. You can distribute music to the same artist profile on DSPs, using different distributors – as long as it is not the same song.
If you attempt to upload the same song using different distributors then it could be taken down for copyright and streaming fraud and you could be banned.
What Happens When I Cancel Distrokid? Where Does My Music Go?
If you cancel DistroKid, then your music will be removed from streaming services unless you change to a different music distributor before canceling. However, DistroKid has a legacy option that keeps your tracks up for life. This costs extra though.
Is Amuse Actually Free?
Amuse’s ‘Start’ plan is 100% free and allows you to distribute your music to all major stores and keep 75% of your royalties. There are some limitations to be aware of, but they will not charge you at all when distributing on the free plan.
Joe is an Indie artist/producer based in Brighton.