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Here are the 12 best music distribution companies (updated 2021):
An essential part of releasing music in today’s industry, is finding a great distribution service, so how do you know how to pick the best for your music in 2021?
Largely, digital distribution services all achieve similar results…
They get your music on streaming services like Spotify.
(If you want to know how to supercharge your growth as an artist, check out our DIY music marketing guide)
But, pricing & features can differ vastly.
In this article we’ve done the comparison for you, and compiled a list of the best digital music distribution companies in 2021.
We also weighed up the pros & cons of each physical & digital distribution service, so you can make a decision with ease.
Table of Contents
The Pros & Cons of Each Music Distribution Service
The Best Music Distribution Companies Explained in More Detail
If you’re looking for a bit more information on the different services available, then this section of the article is for you.
Distrokid is top of our list, and for good reason. It’s a simple distribution service that’s fast, & really transparent about what it offers.
Having had personal experience with Distrokid, we can honestly say that this is true. They have great customer service, time to distribution is quick, & we haven’t had any problems with payments or tracks going on the wrong profiles.
You pay a fixed price per year for their premium plan, which allows you to upload unlimited music and get paid 100% of your streaming royalties.
One thing that makes Distrokid stand out from the other music distribution services on this list, is the ability to set up royalty splits that are automatic. This is super useful when working with multiple artists on a single project – everyone gets paid their share and easily too!
With Distrokid, you can also claim your very own verified Spotify for artists profile, which becomes incredibly useful when using the in depth analytics systems it provides.
On top of that, you also get pre-save links included, the option to make synced meme videos for promotion & a visualiser tool for the same, and you can also submit tracks to community driven Spotify playlists .
Distrokid has a pretty easy to navigate dashboard. It’s easy to see how much you’ve made for streams & where they’ve come from. But, one drawback is the detail it gives on revenue.
It’s not as good as other companies, & only shows the revenue made for the previous month, which is pretty annoying when you’re trying to work out which tracks or albums are performing best, & which need more marketing.
Distrokid costs $19.99 per year.
Ditto is our 2nd favourite digital distribution service & is pretty similar to Distrokid, but has a bit more to it.
By choosing digital distribution through Ditto artists keep 100% of your their earned streaming royalties (they don’t take commission), alongside also getting access to state of the art analytics systems that can help you really pinpoint and define your fan base.
On top of that, Ditto offer music video distribution and also provide you with the ability to create shareable pre-save links& also offer video distribution like Distrokid.
The user interface on Ditto is easier to use than Distrokid’s, & Ditto have much more in terms of marketing tools for your music. Additionally the analytics system is much more in-depth.
Ditto are extremely quick to distribute music, have their own Spotify playlists you can submit your music to & pay faster than most of the other digital music distribution companies on this list (they pay immediately & payment threshold is $25).
They also have their own publishing arm, which means they collect royalties from everywhere, including when your tracks get played on radio, TV, in shops etc. And allow you to upload covers through their service.
Ditto’s premium plan costs $19 per year and, for that, you get to upload unlimited music online in the form of singles or albums.
They also offer a service specifically for people looking to start a record label with a stress-free approach.
It’s definitely worth checking out if you want to go down that route in the music industry.
3. CD Baby
CD Baby is another contender for top slot.
They do both physical and digital distribution in one place, meaning that you’ll be able to get your music onto CD, Vinyl and all major streaming platforms.
CD Baby also have the longest track history in the music distribution game, & are one of Spotify’s preferred online music distributors, which means your tracks get approved a little faster than the other services listed here.
With CD Baby, you get paid 75% of your streaming royalties (they take a 15% commission).
They also charge $29 per album and $9.95 per single.
However, with that increase in price you get a load more tools, which can be used to generate more traction & to promote your music online.
CD Baby also offer some awesome discounts on extra music marketing tools that are great for indie artists such as:
These music marketing tools can be useful if you want to build a website or are just looking for places to get press articles.
Landr is an incredible solution to music distribution in 2020, and they’re not just a music distribution company.
If you’re looking for a service that can get you on all streaming platforms, like Spotify.
AND ensure that your master is fit for each streaming service, then Landr offer an all in one, simple solution to music distribution.
Making sure your master is fit for each streaming service can be tricky and each one has their own rules.
Landr take a huge chunk of the work out here by making your music the right level for each streaming platform, so you don’t run into penalties for a track that’s too loud.
If you do go over the recommended loudness levels, streaming services can apply penalties to your music.
On top of that, they’ll also run your music through a limiter, which can affect the clarity of your drums & overall mix.
Landr runs a subscription based service for their automated mastering, and if you’re a member, you get access to their music distribution services for free.
While offering all this, Landr also allows some great opportunities for your to promote your music online, by offering to help with landing placements in big streaming playlists.
5. Repost Network (The Soundcloud User’s Choice)
Repost Network is a digital music distribution service that is owned by SoundCloud, and comes as a part of SoundCloud Pro, which is $10/month.
For that $10/month, you’ll get access to all of the SoundCloud Pro benefits (which, if you’re an avid SoundCloud user are definitely worth investing in).
You’ll also get distribution to all digital streaming services, pre-save links, official playlist submission areas (for SoundCloud & Spotify), SoundCloud & Spotify scheduling tools (SCPlanner) & cool things like clickable banner art + track art bonuses.
SCPlanner is especially useful when trying to increase your SoundCloud plays & fans. We use it in our how to get more SoundCloud plays guide.
It’s one of the few distribution companies that allows you to monetise your SoundCloud releases, & makes the process easy. Also, we found that (from our own data), SoundCloud pays out slightly more/stream $0.0034 vs the $0.0025 of other services like Spotify.
They do however take 15% commission of all revenue made from Spotify & Apple Music streams, which is one big drawback considering the price you pay a month & year for the service.
If you already pay for SoundCloud Pro, Repost Network is an absolute no brainer – but if you’re not on SoundCloud we’d recommend choosing something like Ditto or Distrokid.
Repost Network comes with SoundCloud Pro, or you can purchase it separately for $30/year.
AWAL stands for, artists without a label & they’re great for all indie artists looking to become established artists.
They’re a really good service if you’re looking to try and expand your music’s potential as they can help you get on Spotify playlists.
AWAL also have their very own A&R team that monitor everything and can upstream artists who they think have real talent or are destined for success.
AWAL don’t charge directly for releases either! However they do take a 15% commission of the streaming royalties that your digital music earns.
When submitting music to AWAL, you have to apply through their website to get accepted.
They offer some of the best analytical tools of any of the distribution platforms going, which you can use to promote your music.
Stem is a completely new music distribution service in the music industry & they’re relatively cheap if you’re looking to release your music independently.
They charge 5% commission on your tracks and actually don’t have an upfront charge, which means more streaming royalties for you!
When you pass the application form, you get access to a direct representative that can help you promote your music to more fans and generate more of a hype around you as an artist.
At the moment, Stem is currently closed to the public, so you have to get an invite to their website in order to get access.
Symphonic are more of a music marketing choice for distribution.
They offer some great extras as part of their packages that can generate you more plays and give you the knowledge to perform better within the industry.
They also offer music video distribution services that allow you to get on VEVO, TIDAL and more.
Symphonic offer their packages to both English speaking countries and Spanish, so if you’re Spanish using this service could be beneficial.
9. Fresh Tunes (best free distribution)
Fresh Tunes is your solution to completely free music distribution!
That’s right, you heard us… no fees or commission to release your tracks.
They also offer something most other platforms don’t, which is distribution to Chinese streaming platforms.
You’re probably asking, “how do they make money if it’s free”?
When putting your track on Fresh Tunes you get the ability to get some feedback from industry professionals, so you can see how they view your tracks and where you can improve.
Amuse is another music distribution company that offers free music distribution.
They offer their music distribution for free upon the deal that, if your tracks do well, they can offer you a 50/50 split record label deal.
It can be good to submit to Amuse distribution to see if your music is label material as it can often be difficult as an artist having to make music and market it yourself.
Labels do the hard work and get your name out for a split, so it might be worth checking to see if you’ve got what it takes.
Reverbnation is a service that is great if you’re a band, rather than a solo musician or a music producer (but you can still use it whatever you are).
It’s a bit of a powerhouse when it comes to marketing in music and they offer some great packages for $20/month that can get you access to e-mail tools (you can use to mail your list with), some awesome distribution services and a great analytics tool.
Reverbnation also offer the ability to get TV placements, your music sent to labels and live gigs at major festivals.
As well as all of this, Reverbnation acts as a kind of social media for artists and gives you loads of tools that can promote your music & get it heard.
You’ve probably heard of these guys from their SoundCloud advertisements.
TuneCore is a great choice if you’re looking to get all your music across all streaming platforms in a stress-free way.
They mostly offer the same features as the other music distribution companies on this list, but charge for each single and album.
They don’t charge anything on commission, so your streaming royalties are yours to keep, and they also collect your song royalties worldwide which is great if your music is popular elsewhere.
TuneCore costs $29.99/album and $9.99/single
Which is The Best Digital Distribution Service for Me?
Most distribution companies you encounter online will get you what you need, but it’s important to know the difference between each service and how they can benefit your career before you make a choice.
Some will be able to offer full commission, and others can offer some incredible marketing tools + bonuses. But, at the end of it all, it comes down to what’s best for your music & career.
We’ve provided some guidelines, so you can make an informed choice.
If you’re looking for the best value service, with the best analytics and DIY tools then Ditto is what we recommend.
If you’re looking for fast distribution, & great customer service, then Distrokid is the way to go.
If you’re a SoundCloud user, then go with Repost Network and so on.
As a recap, the 12 best digital music distribution companies in this article are:
That’s it for today, so thanks for reading this far and we hope we’ve helped in some way.
Be sure to bookmark this page for future reference as we’ll be updating it with each change as and when the distribution companies change their prices etc.
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