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Updated by Millennial Mind Sync on Feb 14, 2020
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Top 20 Digital Distribution Services for Independent Musicians

Getting music onto streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music has never been easier for independent musicians. These are the top 20 digital distribution services for independent musicians.

Ditto Music

Ditto Music is an extremely user-friendly platform that caters to the needs of independent artists, bands, and even beatmakers. Global sensations Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith actually started out distributing their music through Ditto. We also recently did a feature on Chance The Rapper and why he uses Ditto as his digital distribution platform. First and foremost, you own 100% of your music and retain the rights when you distribute through Ditto. They use a subscription-based model and 1 artist gets unlimited releases for the low price of $19/year. The price per artist is reduced if you're distributing music for multiple artists. Ditto will distribute your music to all major stores (e.g. Spotify, Apple Music, etc.), social platforms (e.g. TikTok and Instagram), and other global outlets. They do take a 10% cut on YouTube monetization, but this significantly lower than some of the competition. The speed of their distribution to these stores is also very fast. We've seen artists get 1-day turnaround to Spotify. They also have a full team dedicated to pushing artists on playlists which is just an important and nice bonus. Free ISRC and UPC codes for all your unlimited releases, smartlinks with pre-save functionality, awesome reporting and visual dashboards. And just brilliant customer support. We're super pumped about Ditto Music and their amazing digital distribution platform.

DistroKid

DistroKid was a really close second for us as the top digital distribution platform. Just like Ditto, DistroKid takes 0% commission. You keep 100% of the revenue your music generates - the way it should be. They also run a subscription-based model with unlimited releases for 1 artist or band running in at $19.99/year. When choosing DistroKid as your digital distribution platform, your releases will appear on all major streaming services and social media apps. There are, however, some additional fees to make note of. The first (optional) fee is an automated service to get all your releases on any additional outlets that come around after your release is out. This runs at $7.95 a release where this is a free service provided by Ditto. You do have the option to manually add your music to these newer outlets. The next fee centers around YouTube monetization. It's $4.95 per single, and $14.95 for your releases of two or more songs per year. They also don't have an in-house playlist service. UPC and ISRC Fees do come free and our experiences with their customer support have also been pleasant. We do have to give them a hit on the UI/UX of their reporting. Overall, DistroKid is really good and if you decide to go with them, you're getting great value.

Routenote

Routenote is a very unique digital distribution platform and one that deserves the attention of independent musicians around the globe. With Routenote, you can literally get your music distributed on all major platforms for absolutely FREE. Now with the FREE option, Routenote will keep 15% of what you earn from your music, but you have the option to scale to the Premium version at any time. You keep 100% of your earnings through the Premium option. The premium version costs $9.99/year, but each release has additional fees: 1 track is $10; 2-6 tracks (EP) is $20; 7-18 tracks (LP) is $30; 18+ songs is $45. There's both YouTube and Soundcloud monetization included (even with the FREE plan) and they take out 15% or 0% depending on what you're currently working with. They also have really easy to consume reporting and analytics. If you're an independent musician and you're not fully ready to go all-in with your music, Routenote's FREE plan just might be what's right for you.

Tunecore

Tunecore is one of the OG's of the digital distribution game. And like the two platforms mentioned previously, they also take 0% commission. As an artist or band, you will keep 100% of your earnings. The pricing model is where things start to change for Tunecore vs. Ditto and DistroKid. Each single released on Tunecore costs $9.99 and each album released is $29.99. And if you wish to keep your released music in the stores they've been distributed to in the years following (most of you will); it will cost you $9.99 for a single and $49.99 for an album each year respectively. So if you're anticipating a lower demand for your sales, Tunecore might not be the platform for you. YouTube monetization is a one-time fee of $10. Tunecore is an extremely professional organization and some artists like Russ have had massive success using them in the past.

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LANDR

LANDR

LANDR has been making waves with its AI and machine learning mastering service for years now. Getting into the digital distribution game just seemed like a smart transition for them and their clients. With their distribution services, you get 10 tracks for $1/month, 30 tracks for $2/month, or unlimited releases for $4 a month. If you choose to go the unlimited route, you also get unlimited free masters which is a nice bonus. They have a really excellent customer support team in place and their reporting dashboards are also among the best we've seen. LANDR takes a 0% commission for all pricing tiers. Another great option most suitable for those who already are utilizing their mastering services.

Horus Music

UK-based Horus Music brings a solid digital distribution platform for your music to the table. And it might just be for you if you're looking to corner the massive APAC/Greater China region. One artist has to pay £20/year and they get unlimited releases (similar to Ditto and DistroKid). In addition to unlimited releases, Horus Music will not take a percentage cut from what you earn. They have a wide reach with their distribution which from a global exposure stand point, might interest you. They offer some marketing and playlist services as well. On the downside, there are some extra costs if you're looking to take down your music with them or live outside the UK. All in all, Horus Music is a reputable digital distribution service.

Level Music

Level Music is a growing digital distribution platform based in New York City. They offer competitive rates that should have them near the top of this list in the future. Regardless of whether you go with their FREE or Premium plan, you will keep 100% of your earnings. Now the free plan does limit you to only 2 track uploads, but that is awesome for an independent artist or band just getting started. Upgrade to the premium plan and those 2 tracks will get increased to 200. Another nice feature that comes with the Premium plan is the ability to manage up to 5 artists. You also can give production credits and get your catalog transferred from another service if you happen to be making a switch. Level also does playlist, blog and social promotion. See for yourself if this seems like a good fit for you.

CD Baby

CD Baby is the OG, OG. Founded in 1998 by Derek Sivers, CD Baby quickly became the go to source for independent musicians to release music. First in physical form (ahem. CD, baby!) and then digitally. So let's take a look at how they stack up against the competition. It's $9.95 to release a single and $49 to distribute your music through CD Baby. The good news is that's a one-time fee for your release to be distributed for life (or you ask them to take it down). The bad news is that CD Baby takes a 9% cut on the revenue you earn on all releases. They also charge $5 for UPC codes for single releases and $20 for album releases respectively. They're actually the only platform that charges for that! Ouch! Another downside is they take a 30% cut on your revenue earned from YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Now with that said, CD Baby is still a rock solid platform to distribute your music. Especially if you aren't anticipating big numbers from a release, it's a great way to get it distributed for life without annual fees. CD Baby is also a well-oiled machine. Customer service is top notch and the reporting is transparent and east to navigate.

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amuse

amuse

Amuse is absolutely FREE. Yes - anyone can join, release new music and retain 100% of their earnings! You can also release music directly from your phone with their advanced mobile app. So how is this possible? Amuse also run their own record label. This free business model enables them to discover new artists to sign, and when they find one they think has what it takes, a record deal will be offered. They're playing the long game hoping to get first access at discovering the next big global star. Could that be you? If you're using money as an excuse to why you aren't distributing your music, you can stop that now. Amuse makes it possible for everyone to distribute their music for free.

Songtradr

Songtradr is another distribution platform with a unique value proposition. There are two options in which you can distribute your music with them, both allowing unlimited releases with artists keeping 100% of their earnings. You can become a Pro member by paying $49 annually or $5 on a month to month basis, or a Lite Member and paying $19/year. Songtradr Pro also gives artists and bands 3000 credits that they can use for sync licensing opportunities hosted through their platform. They post new sync opportunities regularly, although many of our readers have complained to us about a lack of transparency with this process. Looking at this strictly from a distribution standpoint, Songtradr is putting out a competitive offering from a price and benefits standpoint that is worth a look.

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Octiive

Octiive

Octiive is another digital distribution platform that has an interesting business model. They have two different models. One uses the Ditto and DistroKid subscription-based model, while the other competes directly with CD Baby. Their unlimited model costs $27.99/year for one artist which comes in higher than both Ditto and DistroKid for the same offer. Similarly, they take 0% of your earnings with the subscription-based annual rate. If you opt for the pay per release model, it costs $7.99 for a single release and $17.99 per album release (both lower than that of CD Baby). They also take out 1% less than CD Baby at with 8% staying with Octiive using the pay per release option. Free UPC and ISRC codes as well with both models, so if you're looking strictly at costs you'd have to give Octiive the edge over CD Baby on the pay per release options. On the downside, Octiive can take up to 1 month to get your music distributed to all the major platforms (unless you pay an additional fee to expedite the delivery), so if you're planning a release on a tight deadline, you may want to look elsewhere.

Record Union

Record Union has a pay per release business model that lets indie artists and bands retain 100% ownership of their music. For pricing, Record Union offers three different tiers based around how many services they will distribute you music to. For the sake of this review, we are only going to look at the pricing that get distributed to all major platforms as that's what is in direct competition with its peers. A single release is $15, and EP (3-5 tracks) is $20 and an album (6-12 tracks) is $25. And your music will hit all major stores much faster than that of Octiive. Record Union will also support independent artists and bands in playlist pitching. Give them a look and see if they meet your requirements.

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Spinnup

Spinnup

Spinnup is a digital distribution platform owned by the Universal Music Group. Their core value proposition is that they work with all these major labels under the Universal umbrella and they're looking to Spinnup to sign new artists. Spinnup's pricing is very similar to Tunecore's. They offer a pay per release fee that you must pay annually. It's $9.99 for a single, $19.99 for an EP (3-6 tracks) and $39.99 for a full-length album (7-25 tracks). They take 0% commission on the money earned from your music and also distribute music to all the major outlets. They do work with some great playlists and offer some interesting reporting containing social data. If you're looking for a quick and easy connection to a major label, Spinnup might be right for you.

Soundrop

Soundrop is owned by CD Baby and is an excellent resource if you're looking to distribute cover songs (although original music is also accepted). And similar to that of Routenote, they offer a free business model. You upload your music, they distribute your content, and take 15% of your earnings. And if you're looking to obtain a mechanical license for a cover song, it's a one-time fee of $9.99. One the downside, your music won't be distributed to as many outlets globally as its competitors, but you'll still get in the stores with the leading market shares. Overall, Soundrop may be for you if you're looking for a FREE solution to get your music distributed.

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ONErpm

ONErpm

ONErpm is another FREE to sign-up option that you should check out. They have one of the better user interfaces out of those mentioned on this list and will be a good option for many to choose for their digital distribution. ONErpm's speed to market is also among the best in the business. Now they do take 15% from your earnings (similar to Routenote and Soundrop), so if you're anticipating a high volume of sales, you'll likely want to opt for one of the 0% commission options available. The reach of their distribution is also slightly lower than the competition, but your music will still end up with all the major players. They offer a ton of other unique services, so definitely give their complete offering a look.

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AWAL

AWAL

AWAL is a digital distribution platform based off exclusivity. You need to submit your music and be accepted to distribute through them. Once accepted, there are no sign-up fees, but they do take 15% of all your earnings. Now, if you're accepted, you'll get a team behind you to help you grow and get more exposure. If the DIY mentality is overwhelming for you, and you think you have what it takes musically, AWAL might be an interesting option for you to take a look at. Playlist promotion, Sync Licensing, and many other support services for artists who distribute through them. Take a look and see if AWAL may be something you're interested in in.

Symphonic

Symphonic is similar to AWAL in the fact that you must apply to get you music distributed by them. Headquarted in Tampa, FL, Symphonic provides thousands of new and established record labels, managers and individual artists with global digital music and video distribution to hundreds of retail and streaming platforms. If you're application is accepted, you can expect playlist pitching, release promotion, and a comprehensive suite of label services. There are no up front fees to distribute with them, but they do take 15% of your earnings like many others in this space. If you're looking for a dedicated team to back your career, Symphonic may be the solution you're looking for.

iMusician

iMusician is a digital distribution company that is headquartered in Switzerland. They bring a pay per release model (with four different tiers) to the table that is quite costly compared to the services you can get from its competition. On the plus side, once you pay, your music is in stores for life (or unless you decide to switch distributors). Their Starter plan only allows you to pick 1 store for distribution and iMusician takes 30% of your earnings on this. It's $5 for a single, $10 for an EP (4-7 tracks) or $19 for an album (8+ tracks). With FREE options available with wider distribution that take a lesser percentage, I am confused as to why this is even an offering. Their Regular offering is $9, $19, and $29 - iMusician takes 15% - but you do get wide distribution at this tier. Their Rockstar level is $29, $59, and $89 - iMusician takes 0% here. This offering may be valuable to you if you like the idea of having your music in stores for life with paying a one-time fee and retaining 100% of your earnings. It's a nice mix between the CD Baby and Tunecore models. Lastly, if you happen to be managing many artists, bands, etc., iMusician offers a Pro plan that costs $499/year. You get unlimited releases for unlimited artists. For indie artists, skip the Starter, Regular, and Pro packages for now, but take a look at the Rockstar one. It just might be the right fit for you.

ReverbNation

ReverbNation is another platform that has been around for quite some time. They offer a ton of other services aside from digital distribution, but that's not what you're here for. For distribution, they follow the same model as Tunecore. You pay per release and your fees must be repaid each year. You do keep 100% of your earnings, however. A single costs $9.95 and and album is $19.95. When it's time to renew, the single price stays the same annually, but your album will cost $49.95. If you've been in the ReverbNation ecosystem for some time, this may be the right solution for you, but it is in our opinion that there are just many better options for digital distribution out there.

United Masters

UnitedMasters is a digital distribution platform that is still trying to find its way. It's by invitation only with the value proposition that they can get your music placed with several of their brand partners (NBA, NFL, 2K sports, etc.). The platform does have a nice user interface and they also have a mobile app. If your invitation gets accepted, you can release unlimited music through the platform. UnitedMasters will take 10% off the top though. With so much of the competition offering a 0% commission, I find it difficult to see potential sync licensing placements as a reason to sacrifice 10% of your earnings. But take a look and see if this is something that maps to your career ambitions.