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 2023? Largely, digital distribution services all achieve similar results…
They get your music on streaming services like Spotify. But, pricing, & features can differ vastly. In this article we’re going to cover the best online music distribution services in 2023, so you have a full overview of which is best for your DIY music marketing plan. We weighed up the pros & cons of each physical & digital distribution service, so you can make a decision with ease. We also made sure to include distribution services for all budgets, and all needs. So, whatever you require for music distribution, this article will have you covered.
From $14.99 /year
From $23.99 /year
From $22.99 /year
From $19 /year
The best overall. Has been around the longest, excellent reputation and support, best reporting overall. Only lacks marketing push like Spotify playlist plugs.
Best all-in-one. Perfect choice if you are looking for a one-stop-shop for distribution mastering, samples, plugins and courses.
The best music distributor if you're in a hurry. Fast distribution time, 0% commission, excellent customer service and marketing tools, and on Spotify's preferred distribution list.
One of the best distribution companies for label management. Fast distribution time, no hidden fees, excellent GUI.
Pros & Cons of The Best Distribution Companies
|Distribution Service||Pros||Cons||Distribution Fee||Commission?||Insta & TikTok?||Spotify Pre-save?||Payment Threshold||Soundcloud Money?||YouTube Money?||Accepts Covers?|
|Distrokid||✅ Cheap yearly subscription for unlimited digital distribution.|
✅ Keep 100% of your revenue from streams
✅ Spotify's preferred distributor
✅ Great customer service
✅ Automatic revenue share
✅ Best marketing tools & generators
✅ Exclusive Distrokid playlists & social media
|❗️Charge $0.99/year for every track you want on Shazam plus other extras|
❗️Don't have publishing partners that help collect your royalties
|$19.99/year (1 artists),|
$35.99/year (2 artists),
$79.99/year (5 artists),
$135.99/year (10 artists)
|Ditto||✅ Cheap yearly subscription for unlimited uploads. |
✅ Keep 100% of your streaming royalties
✅ Great analytics & marketing tools
✅ Exclusive Spotify playlist submissions
✅ Publishing arm to collect radio & TV royalties
✅ Best GUI & dashboard
✅ Revenue sharing
|❗️Not as fast digital distribution time|
❗️Sometimes email replies can be slow
❗️Doesn't support cover music videos, only originals, but supports audio covers
|$19/year (30 day free)|
£29/year (2 artists)£69/year (5 artists)
|Routenote||✅ Free music distribution to all stores|
✅ Transparent analytics & great marketing tools
✅ Free label distribution solutions
✅ Revenue sharing
✅ Fantastic customer service
|❗️Take 15% commission|
❗️Premium is pricey compared to others
❗️Slower distribution time & customer service replies
|$0 (Unlimited uploads, 15% commission)|
$45 (Album Ex)
|0% or 15%||yes||yes||$50||yes||yes||yes|
|Repost Network||✅Comes with SoundCloud Pro membership|
✅Monetise SoundCloud tracks
✅Clickable banners & cover art bonuses
✅Comprehensive playlist submission area
|❗️Expensive fee + commission |
❗️Slow distribution times
❗️No publishing admin team to collect royalties from radio play etc
|$10/month (SoundCloud Pro + Unlimited Releases)|
$30/year (Unlimited Releases)
|Tunecore||✅ Don't take commission on your music|
✅ Offer physical and digital distribution
✅ Have a publishing admin arm that track down all your streaming royalties
✅ Incredible analytics and marketing tools
✅ Opportunity to get artist advances
|❗️15% commission on free plan|
❗️ Additional artists on pro plan are £12.99 each
❗️ Label support isn't great
|$0 (Unlimited uploads, 15% commission, no release dates allowed) |
$12.99/year (Unlimited releases, no commission, revenue splits, verification marks & release scheduling)
$24.99/year (Everything in the above + cover art creator, use your own ISRC & store automator)
$39.99/year (Everything in above + promotional opportunities, label functionality, use your own UPC, exclusive partnerships & more)
|0% (paid plans)||yes||no||$0||yes||yes||yes|
|Landr||✅Free, digital music distribution if you're already a member|
✅Ability to master tracks for streaming using their AI
✅Artists keep 100% of streaming royalties on some plans
✅Can help get you on Spotify playlsits
✅Able to release covers
|❗️Charge commission on free plan as well as charge per single/album ❗️Difficult to understand pricing ❗️No publishing admin team to collect royalties from radio play etc||Free (Lite) |
$20 per year (complete)
$89 per year (unlimited)
|0% (paid plans)||yes||yes||$0||yes||yes - originals||yes|
|CD Baby||✅ CD Baby offer physical and digital music distribution |
✅ Offer marketing tools for free
✅ Discounts on incredible tools for indie artists & DIY artists alike
✅ Publishing partners that help collect all streaming royalties
✅ Longest in the distribution game
|❗️CD Baby are pricey compared to other digital music distribution companies |
❗️Take 15% commission of streaming royalties
❗️Don't offer total monetisation unless you purchase pro
|$9.95 per single $29 per album||9%||yes||yes||set by you||no||optin||yes|
|AWAL||✅ Free digital music distribution if you get accepted|
✅ Get you in playlists
✅ Help with music marketing
|❗️Take 15% commission|
❗️You have to apply
|15% commission if accepted||15%||yes||yes||$30||you have to ask||optin||yes|
|STEM||✅ Free distribution if you get accepted|
✅ Amazing music marketing analytics for DIY artists
✅Direct rep assigned to you to help with music promotion.
|❗️Charge 5% commission|
❗️Not open to public
|5% commission||5%||yes||yes||$50||no||yes (10% cut)||you have to ask|
|Symphonic||✅Access to mailing list software|
✅Powerful music marketing tools for indie artists
✅Spotify promotion help & playlist pitching done for you
✅Great customer service
✅Physical music distribution & digital music distribution
✅Publishing admin that collect royalties
|❗️Have to be accepted|
❗️Take 30% of royalties
|30% commission||30%||yes||yes (have to pay)||$50||yes||optin||yes|
|Fresh Tunes||✅Completely free distribution |
✅Offer industry professional feedback for tunes
|❗️Haven't been around for as long as others||Free||0%||no||no||$25||select countries||yes||no|
|Amuse||✅Free digital music distribution|
✅Been around for a long time
✅Offer 50/50 label deal if your music does well
✅Get you on playlists
✅Don't take commission
|❗️Slow customer service||Free||0%||yes (pro only)||no||$10||no||yes (auto)||yes|
|Reverb Nation||✅Great marketing tools|
✅Ability to get on TV
✅Access to email tools
✅Can get scouted for live gigs
|❗️Not as great for electronic producers (can still use)|
❗️Don't offer publishing admin if not pro
|$12.95 per month (basic)|
$19.95 per month (premium)
What Are The Top Music Distribution Companies in 2023?
Here are the 12 top music distribution companies you can distribute your music with:
- CD Baby
- Fresh Tunes
- Reverb Nation
- Repost Network
One thing I really want to stress is that by no means am I here to sway you into choosing a specific company over the other because at the end of the day there is no cookie cutter solution.
Every artists situation is unique meaning that you will have different needs that will have to be met. Even little nuances such as personal preferences will play a role in determining which distributor you decide to go with.
At the end of the day all of these companies do one thing for sure and that is distribute your music to the major stores and platforms out there.
No different than buying a car. Every dealership out there can essentially get you into a car. However, when you begin to understand what kind of car you want and what your uses for that car might be, then you begin to have a better idea of where you should be shopping.
Now I’m not sure if you’re a Honda or Mercedes kind of person but let’s go find you the vehicle that will get you on your way to success with music distribution.
1. Tunecore: Best Music Distributor Overall
The best overall. Has been around the longest, excellent reputation and support, best reporting overall. Only lacks marketing push like Spotify playlist plugs.
- 0% Commission – keep all royalties
- Best reporting by far
- Education and rewards program
- Store automator
- iTunes pre-release solutions
- Offer physical and digital distribution
- Have a publishing admin arm that track down all your streaming royalties
- Incredible analytics and marketing tools
- Artist advances! (based on historical data)
- Splitting royalties with co-creators (finally)! - need all parties to be on Tunecore
- Label support isn't great
- Can't add recoupments before splits
- 20% YouTube commission
- Lacks strong marketing support like playlist plugging
You’ve probably heard of Tunecore from their SoundCloud advertisements.
Tunecore is a music distribution company that has recently overhauled its pricing and what it offers in order to be competitive with the other choices.
Before, they had a pretty bad reputation in the community and had some terrible reviews floating around, but since then they have improved a great deal to become one of the most competitively priced music distribution services out there – with incredible features that a lot of services don’t include.
Tunecore doesn’t charges 0% commission on their paid plans, and you get unlimited uploads for a fixed price. The free plan also allows unlimited uploads, but you are charged a commission for this of 15%.
They have the best analytical dashboard out of all the distribution services and provide one of the highest payouts per stream in the UK and US, but are slightly worse for other countries. Additionally they have a publishing team that collect all your royalties.
With Tunecore you’ll be distributed across 150+ platforms, have the ability to license covers, be able to access artist advances and have a wide array of great marketing tools to use for your music.
They offer licensing for covers, music video support and YouTube monetisation. The distribution is extremely fast and their payment times are too. Tunecore is rapidly becoming one of the best distribution companies out there.
In terms of artist development Tunecore features:
- An exclusive graphic design app for album covers
- Access to artist advances
- Tunecore rewards – gives you opportunities based on a point system (the more you use Tunecore, the more benefits you get)
- Playlisting opportunities
- & more!
TuneCore has 4 pricing plans:
- New Artist (FREE) – Unlimited releases, sales reports, no release date scheduling, 15% commission
- Rising Artist (£12.99/year) – Unlimited releases, no commission, release date scheduling, artist splits, streaming store verification (blue check mark)
- Breakout Artist (£24.99/year) – Everything in “Rising Artist” + cover art creator, use your own ISRC & store automator
- Professional (£39.99/year) – Everything in “Breakout Artist” + promotional opportunities, label functionality, use your own UPC, exclusive partnerships & more
Read our full Tunecore review here: Tunecore Review – The Honest Truth.
2. Landr: Best All-in-One (Beyond Just Distribution)
An excellent choice if you are looking for one-stop-shop for distribution mastering, samples, plugins and courses. Distribution standalone is good, but a bit behind Tunecore and Distrokid for all the additional features.
- No Commission
- Access to a Large Number of Digital Channels
- Speed to stores
- Good Support and Customer Service
- Mastering Options
- Collaboration and Shared Workspaces to Work on Music as a Team
- Ability To Get Samples From Other Producers
- Playlist Pluggers
- Desktop App
- ASCAP Member Benefits
- Confusing pricing
- Monthly/yearly fees
- Push You To Try Mastering Services
- No Publishing Administration
- No Seamless Cover Song Licenses
- Not the easiest platform to learn
Landr is an incredible solution to music distribution in 2023, 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.
Read our full Landr review here: Landr Distribution Review – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
2. Distrokid: Fastest Music Distributor
The best music distributor if you're in a hurry. Fast distribution time, 0% commission, Good customer service, and on Spotify's preferred distribution list. Marketing tools are fantastic, with pre-save links, video generators, playlist submissions & more. But extras can add up very fast.
- Cheap yearly subscription for unlimited digital distribution
- Keep 100% of your revenue from streams
- Spotify's preferred distributor
- Great customer service
- Automatic revenue split share
- Best marketing tools & generators
- Exclusive Distrokid playlists & social media
- Lots of extra charges that add up fast! E.g. $0.99/year for every track you want on Shazam
- No publishing partners that help collect your royalties
- Dated dashboard
Distrokid is the best music distribution platform, and for good reason. It’s a simple distribution service that’s fast, & really transparent about what it offers.
It’s one of the most recommended companies by other musicians, & is constantly mentioned as the best online music distribution service on forums like Reddit.
With personal experience using Distrokid for many years, I can say this is completely true. The customer service is quick, payments are fast and always on time, and the distribution is rapid.
As other services get better and better, the time to distribute between each platform is getting much smaller and is barely noticeable anymore. However, Distrokid still takes the crown for fast distribution times.
This is a track I personally distributed with Distrokid, and it was released to all platforms in 2 days.
Compare that to Ditto, Repost Network, or Routenote and the difference in distribution time is 1-3 days in my personal experience using all three services.
You pay a fixed price per year of S19.99 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, & when comparing Ditto vs Distrokid, Ditto wins here. Distrokid 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. However, it’s not much of a problem if you have a little patience.
One thing to note about Distrokid is that it can get pretty expensive with extras, and you may need some of the extras. These add on to the $19.99/year, for every track that you have extras on.
Here’s a list of a few extras and how they’re priced:
- Shazam($0.99 per track/year)
- allows your tracks to be Shazam’d by people using Siri, Snapchat etc.
- Store Maximizer($7.95 per album/year)
- automatically adds your songs to new stores as they come out.
- YouTube Content ID($4.95 per track/year, $14.95 per album/year, 20% of revenue)
- allows your music to be monetised on Youtube and collect revenue from music video views/track plays
If you’d like to see the full list of extras, follow this link.
As you can see, it can get pretty pricey, including the $19.99/year, and the extras on top of it, so it could be useful to go for a distribution service like Ditto, who already include all of this, and even have a publishing arm to collect your royalties from radio etc.
4. Ditto – Best Music Distribution For Independent Labels
One of the best distribution companies for label management. Fast distribution time, no hidden fees, excellent GUI.
- Cheap yearly subscription for unlimited uploads.
- Free trial
- Fastest payment
- Great analytics & marketing tools
- Exclusive Spotify playlist submissions
- Publishing arm to collect radio & TV royalties
- Best GUI & dashboard
- Revenue sharing
- No opportunity to get an artist deal or an artist advance.
- No data on payout per stream, making it hard to tell whether you're getting as much as you would with Distrokid or TuneCore.
- Bad online reputation with tarnishing reviews
- Not the fastest distribution time
- Slow email support (>1 week)
- Doesn't support cover music videos, only originals (but supports audio covers)
Ditto is one of the best distribution platformm & for very good reason!
By choosing digital distribution through Ditto artists keep 100% of 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 provides you with the ability to create shareable pre-save links & also offers video distribution like Distrokid.
The user interface on Ditto is easier to use than Distrokid’s, & Ditto has much more in terms of marketing tools for your music. Additionally, the analytics system is much more in-depth.
Ditto have extremely fast music distribution, 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.
Our writer, Toms personally uses Ditto to distribute music and prefers Ditto over Distrokid, because of the inclusion of the IRSC codes and release date scheduling. These are not included with Distrokid unless you pay the $35.99, whereas with Ditto they come with the $19/year plan.
Here is a track he personally used Ditto to distribute:
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 and is one of the best distribution companies for label management.
5. Routenote: Best Free Music Distribution Platform
Best free plan distributor overall. Lacks some of the high-end features of larger distribution companies, but they make up for this with the flexibility that they provide in their plan options.
- Best free plan of all competition
- Switch between Free and Premium plans at any time
- Distribution to Asia
- Sell music directly to fans with RouteNote Direct
- Get upgraded to SoundCloud Unlimited at no additional cost
- Payment Splitting
- Releases can take up to 3-4 weeks to go live
- Premium is one of the most expensive (per release pricing)
- No cover song licensing
- No help with publishing and sync licensing (however publishing administration is coming soon!)
- 45-day delay getting paid
Routenote is the best music distributor that offers free distribution for unlimited artists and labels at a rate of 15% commission.
If you are a beginner and don’t want to invest money, they offer the most feature-rich free distribution platform out of all the options you could choose. Many people are a bit put off by Routenote because it doesn’t have much of a name. But, after trying and testing Routenote with a fake alias, we can confirm it is legit.
The customer service is fantastic with decent response times for a free service. And, they have really fast music distribution, considering one of your other free options is Amuse, and they take 4 weeks to distribute.
You can expect Routenote to distribute your music in 4-7 days if it’s quick and, 5-10 days if it’s slow.
From my personal experience, it took 24-48 hours to distribute to Spotify and other music streaming platforms. I used a burner account and a burner song to test the distribution times of Routnote specifically for this article.
Here is the track I distributed:
If you are a music producer who doesn’t have much of a budget for distribution, Routenote is 100% the best platform. If I was to start production from scratch again, this is the distributor I would use.
They have a great GUI & dashboard, something which is amiss in most paid distribution platforms and they offer YouTube monetization and SoundCloud monetization as well as accepting covers!
You also get access to pre-save links and automatic revenue splits for collaborations you’ve done with other artists. The marketing tools are stripped back and there isn’t much else to see with Routenote. Unlike Distrokid and Ditto, you don’t get exclusive playlists, social media and other opportunities like Distrokid’s “spin the wheel” to win extra promotions.
Routenote is a great tool to choose if you’re low on budget. It’s especially good for labels, offering unlimited uploads of multiple artists for a 15% commission on streams!
The pricing is also very expensive if you choose to go pro, with singles costing $10, EP’s $20, Albums $30 and Extended Albums $45.
When compared to CD Baby this is fairly cheap, but still on the expensive side considering you don’t get the same high pay-per-stream CD Baby offers, or the marketing tools and great analytics they provide.
6. CD Baby: Physical and Digital Music Distribution In One Place
Both physical and digital distribution in one place, with the longest track history in the music distribution game. But one of the most expensive distribution options.
- Opt-in to sync licensing (Standard and Pro)
- Comprehensive publishing admin services
- Rich physical distribution options
- Weekly payouts, only $10 threshold
- Artists keep 91% of earnings from sales on CD Baby’s music store
- Extensive learning resources
- Expensive submission fees
- Cover song licensing only available for singles
- Barcodes are not free
- No payment splitting
- 30% YouTube commission
- 40% sync licensing commission
- Territory opt-out has to be requested manually
CD Baby may be 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.
They are the best music distributor to use for physical distribution.
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.
Excellent choice for artists who are already somewhat established and have a track record of consistent quality.
- No upfront fees, they only get paid when you earn.
- Excellent app with helpful analytics.
- Label-like services for high performing artists.
- Possibility of advances for top tier artists.
- Submission platform can provide more hands on support depending on the artist
- 15% commission
- Submission Based and not available to everyone
- Customer support is often cited as slow. Some artists have reported that support is delayed unless you are a high performing artist.
- No payment splitting.
- No admin publishing unless you are signed to Kobalt.
- One of the longest distribution delay (4 weeks)
AWAL stands for, artists without a label. They are the best music distributor for artists that already have a following and need help with marketing.
They’re a good service if you’re looking to try and expand your music’s potential and can help you get on Spotify playlists and they offer marketing for your music.
They do take a 15% commission, but the reach that you’ll get as a result of their marketing efforts could be worth the payoff.
They also have some of the highest payout per stream rates on Spotify and Apple Music in the industry.
AWAL also have their very own A&R team that monitors everything and can upstream artists who they think have real talent or are destined for success.
When submitting music to AWAL, you have to apply through their website to get accepted. They will only accept you if they think you have potential.
They offer some of the best analytical tools of any of the distribution platforms going, which you can use to promote your music.
We’ve placed AWAL lower than they should be because they’re an invite only platform and not accessible to everyone. They are not for newcomers to music!
Invite-only platform that will give you access to your own artist manager.
- Only 5% Commission Taken
- No additional fees
- Top-of-the-line payment splitting setup
- Very good analytics & reports
- YouTube & SoundCloud monetization built-in with super-low commission
- Playlist pitching offered in-house
- Cover song licensing integrated with Loudr
- Free barcodes
- Very limited distribution reach – only 12 store and platforms
- No pre-order option
- No daily trending reports
- Payout threshold is $50 and only available monthly
Stem is a newer music distribution service and they’re very similar to AWAL.
They’re an invite-only platform that will give you access to your own artist manager if you get accepted.
This means they’ll market your music to a wider audience and use their industry knowledge to help you grow as an artist.
Unlike AWAL, they charge a much smaller fee of 5% commission to do this, which means more streaming royalties for you!
However, there’s no data on which company pays more per stream and it’s also unknown which has a better marketing team at its disposal. You can also get advances with Stem, as you can with Amuse and AWAL.
They offer some of the most user-friendly dashboards, best analytical tools and marketing services in the music industry. Amuse & AWAL also offer this. So, if you’re a big artist, it might be worth checking all of them to see who can provide the best deal for you.
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.
We’ve placed Stem lower than they should be because they’re an invite-only platform and not accessible to everyone. They are not for newcomers to music!
9. Fresh Tunes (Free Music Distribution Runner Up)
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.
If you’re good enough they’ll offer you a promotion deal that you can pay for to get extra reach for your music. This is how they make their money.
Amuse is another music distribution company that offers free music distribution, for a cut of 15%. The customer service is non-existent for free users and the time it takes to distribute is a whopping 4 weeks.
You can also purchase pro options:
- Boost ($24.99/year) – Unlimited uploads, 1 artist, priority customer support 72hrs wait time.
- Pro ($59.99/year) – Unlimited uploads, multiple artists, custom label, priority support 24hrs wait time.
Amuse is a great distribution service for labels looking to start distributing multiple artists for a low price. They offer the lowest price for custom label accounts and multiple artists for unlimited uploads.
There are great marketing tools, analytics and Amuse gives you the potential access to advance funding and marketing campaigns constructed by them. If your music is doing well, releasing it through Amuse could give you access to a label deal with them, where they’ll heavily market your music to gather more fans.
This comes at a trade-off of a 50/50 split and you may have to pay advances back. However, it could be worth it if the extra exposure and marketing efforts propel your career forward.
We would be wary of accepting advances if you don’t think you can pay them back. They’re essentially a loan and will need to be paid back eventually (just like a loan from the bank).
We’ve placed Amuse lower than they should be because the artist advances and marketing aren’t accessible to everyone. Although their priced plans are, they’re not as good as Distrokid, Ditto or Routenote and should really only be considered for marketing purposes.
11. Reverbnation – Full Bundle With Band Website And Social Media
Good bundled solution if you want website management, fan management, social, email and distribution all in one place. However, a lot of their offering relies on the average music listener coming to Reverbnation to enjoy your music.
- Good web presence bundle with site builder, full social media & email management
- Festival, label, playlist, radio and audition submission opportunities
- 100% of commissions
- Great artist community
- No publishing admin
- Distribution is priced per release if you go without the premium plan
Reverbnation is the best music distributor for bands, 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 offers 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.
12. SoundCloud for Artists (Formerly Repost Network) – Best Music Distributor For SoundCloud Users
Repost Network is a digital music distribution service that’s run 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).
With SoundCloud Repost Network, you get access to:
- Distribution to all digital streaming services
- Pre-Save links
- Official playlist submission areas for Spotify
- Exclusive SoundCloud playlist submissions
- SoundCloud & Spotify scheduling tool: SC Planner (for uploads, reposts, playlist sharing etc)
- Clickable banner art (on SoundCloud platform only)
- Full track art banner (on SoundCloud only)
SCPlanner is especially useful when trying to increase your SoundCloud plays & fans, you can share reposts with other artists, and piggyback off their audiences, and you can also do cool stuff like auto-add tracks to Spotify playlists for a certain time.
We run through exactly how to use it in our how to get more SoundCloud plays guide.
I personally use Repost Network for all my new releases because I love how it integrates with SoundCloud (which is my main platform). The distribution is quick and the perks, like playlisting opportunities and SCPlanner reposting, can massively help your marketing campaign.
For this track, I used SCPlanner reposting and Repost Network to release the track. It resulted in the largest number of plays I’ve ever had using Spotify and is one of my most popular tracks on SoundCloud.
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 ($10/month), or you can purchase it separately for $30/year.
Oh… we almost forgot! Repost Network has really fast music distribution times.
How to Choose Your Music Distribution Service
In my opinion, if we are looking at things from a business perspective we either want to make sure we are keeping costs very low or that we are maximizing profits. This is where being aware of your current situation is very important.
If you are sure you will be making a lot of money from your music then this will impact how you approach the question of which distributor to use.
I personally respect what these distributors do for artists, and do believe that they are providing a service that requires work on their end. For them as a business, the fact remains that they need to keep the lights on.
However I also think that you work very hard on your music and as you grow the more people will come looking for their piece of the pie.
Commissions are great if you are not making much money. At the end of the day 20% of $0 is nothing to write home about. However 20% can start to add up in no time when that $0 starts to climb in value.
In which case, going for a company that simply charges a fee would be my suggestion. However, with the fierce competition within the music distribution industry, you now have companies introducing models that charge no fees and take zero commissions.
Which Music Distributor is Fastest?
Distrokid has the fastest music distribution times out of all the music distribution companies. They push your music to stores 10-20 times faster than any other distributor.
They are also listed as preferred distributors by Spotify, so you can expect times to be faster.
Ditto, Landr & CD Baby are all extremely fast too, and there isn’t much of a difference between them and Distrokid in terms of speed, but if you need fast music distribution to release your music, Distrokid will be the most reliable service for you.
Having used Ditto, Repost Network & Distrokid, Distrokid is 100% the fastest, best, online music distribution company on the market.
What Percentage Do Music Distributors Take?
The average cut is 15% of streaming royalties, but this varies depending on the distributor you choose. Some don’t charge anything but will charge a yearly fee to keep your music in stores.
For instance, if you go with Distrokid, Ditto, or Landr, they don’t take a cut. Instead, they charge a yearly fee to keep your music in stores, which means you will get to keep all the streaming royalties your tracks made.
|Distribution Company||Percentage of Royalties Taken|
Which Distributor Pays The Most Per Stream?
Each distribution service will offer a different pay rate per stream, for Spotify and other all streaming services. This means that on the same distribution service, you may earn more in the UK on Spotify, but less on Apple Music in the UK. This is due to the deals each service can negotiate with its digital service provider.
The commission rate a distribution service takes doesn’t always accurately reflect how much you will earn with a service.
The payout per stream may also vary massively between different distributors, depending on the country the bulk of your listeners is located in.
You will simply earn less if most of your audience is located in a 2nd or 3rd world country, because there are fewer premium subscriptions and, due to the cost of living, those premium subscriptions are lower in cost.
Additionally, advertisers won’t pay as much to advertise to continents like Asia, South America, Africa etc. compared to continents like Europe, North America, Australia etc. This is simply because the inhabitants of those countries are more wealthy, meaning they have more money to spend and are more likely to buy from adverts.
However, there’s a caveat to all of this.
If you are a Brazillian producer who gets most of their plays from Brazillian people – you will actually be better off distributing with Tunecore or Horus Music.
If you are Indian, with an Indian audience, you will be better off distributing with Symphonic or AWAL.
Distrokid, CD Baby, Tunecore, Symphonic seem to perform better in Spotify US & UK, with some not being as profitable on Apple Music. Really interesting information that will make a huge difference if you’ve already got a fairly big audience.
If you don’t have a big audience it’s nothing to really worry about until you do.
Is Ditto Better Than Distrokid?
Ditto vs Distrokid – Which is best? Here’s our quick answer:
Distrokid is a faster distributor & is on Spotify’s preferred distributors list. Ditto isn’t, but includes a lot more, for a lot less. They both take 0% commission, but with Ditto you don’t have to pay for extras, and you get access to a publishing arm that will collect your radio royalties. You also don’t have to pay extra for covers, or YouTube monetisation on Ditto – with Distrokid you will.
Distrokid has a much better community reputation and far better customer support. However this has only been in past years. Ditto have listened to the community and really done a lot to ensure great customer service with their distribution services now.
While it might have been said that Distrokid was better than Ditto in previous years, in 2023 this isn’t the case. On the whole they’re pretty neck & neck, but Ditto takes the cake due to its larger range of features, and lower prices when considering extras payments.
Is Distrokid Better Than TuneCore?
Both services don’t charge any commission on your releases, and charge a yearly fee. However, Distrokid is much faster to distribute your music than TuneCore is.
TuneCore has recently updated their pricing to become more competitive though, offering many more features than Distrokid for the same price and a plan that’s even cheaper.
You’ll get a publishing arm to collect your royalties, better artist development tools and potential access to artist advancements.
However, TuneCore has had a rocky past with an awful customer track record and some blazingly terrible reviews in the press.
Distrokid is also much more user-friendly, offering easy automatic split payments, instant Spotify verification, faster distribution times & some extras like promo video generators, and a new social network for musicians!
What Are The Best Music Distribution Services for Independent Artists?
Here’s the complete list of the best music distribution for independent artists:
- Repost Network
- CD Baby
- Fresh Tunes
- Reverb Nation
Any of the picks on this list are great for independent artists. Each will give you control over your revenue and help you to market your music effectively.
Who Can I Release Covers With & What Do I Need To Know?
Before you release covers using a digital distributor, you must check if they have a blanket mechanical license and what countries that license covers. The cover must also be completely original and contain no samples from the song you are covering.
If you are covering a song in the public domain, you may not need a license. However, most covers will need one if the distributor or streaming service you’re using doesn’t provide it.
The countries, stores and services that already have mechanical licenses are as follows:
- All stores excluding: USA, Canada, Mexico, Pakistan, and India
- All countries for these services: Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Saavn, Nuuday, Anghami, Tidal, and KKBox
If you do not have a mechanical license, you must get one in order to release your covers. Services like Ditto and TuneCore offer advice on these
The digital music distribution companies that allow covers are:
Can I Monetize Cover Songs With Music Distributors?
Yes. You can monetise cover songs using music distribution services. However, when you record a cover of an existing song, you are using someone’s copyrighted work. You have to compensate them for this. You can do this by getting a mechanical license. Some music distributors offer this, but with others you’ll have to get one yourself.
You can monetise cover songs more easily on platforms like YouTube, because they already own licenses for particular songs. With services like Spotify and Apple Music, this is less likely.
You can get mechanical licenses for covers from these 3 places:
Which Streaming Service Pays The Most?
Napster pays the most per stream, with Tidal coming in 2nd, and Amazon Unlimited 3rd. Apple Music comes in at 4th and Spotify at 8th. However, even though Napster and Tidal pay the most on paper, it does not mean you will make the most from them.
Spotify has the largest market share and the most amount of subscribers with 180 million paid subscriptions and 48.3% of the music streaming market share.
To put that in perspective, Apple Music has 24.97% of the market share, Tidal has 0.98% and Napster 0.8%.
Even if you were to release all your music through Napster, you wouldn’t generate the same amount of revenue, simply because they have a much smaller audience. It’s most likely that the large portion of your streaming revenue will either come from Apple Music or Spotify.
Here’s a table showing the average payout per stream of each streaming platform:
|Streaming Service||Payout Per Stream in 2022 ($)|
|Amazon Digital Services||0.00402|
|Others (Yandex, Peloton, iHeartRadio etc)||0.012663|
What About Music Distribution for Asia? Who Are The Best Distribution Companies?
Not all digital music distributors cover all of Asia, so if you want to release your music in India, or Thailand etc. you’ll need to go with a distributor that covers these territories.
Tencent will cover China (which is a huge market), but exclude Japan, India, Taiwan and many other Asian countries. Make sure you check the territories each distribution company releases to before purchasing a plan
Here’s a list of distribution services that focus more on Asian distribution:
Where Can I Get Smart Links (Pre-Saves)?
What Are The Best Free Music Distribution Companies?
There are a number of different free music distribution services out there that you could choose to distribute your music.
All you need to do is sign up with an account, wait for verification, then submit your music for distribution.
The best free music distribution services are:
What Is The Best Online Music Distribution Company?
As a recap, the 12 top music distribution companies in this article are:
- CD Baby
- Fresh Tunes
- Reverb Nation
- Repost Network
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 music distribution service, with the best analytics and DIY tools then Ditto is what we recommend.
If you’re looking for fast distribution times, & great customer service, then Distrokid is the way to go.
If you’re a SoundCloud user, then go with Repost Network.
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. Also, if this article helped you in any way and you know someone who could benefit from it, hit that share button!