The Best Music Distribution Services for Independent Artists

Production & Music Industry
Updated on
July 24, 2023
Written by
Unchained Music
ARTICLE OVERVIEW
Discover the best music distribution services for independent artists. Reach a global audience and unleash your musical potential.

Are you an aspiring musician looking for the best way to distribute your music to a wide audience? With the rise of digital platforms, digital music distribution services have become essential for independent artists to reach their fans and make it in the music business. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top music digital distribution companies and platforms that can help you take your music career to the next level. Whether you're a seasoned artist or just starting out, these services offer a range of features and benefits to suit your needs. Let's dive in and discover the best music distribution companies available today.

Want to know how to promote your music in 2023? Click here.

How to Compare Music Distribution Companies

When comparing music distribution companies for your needs, it's essential to compare and evaluate the different music distributors and options available. Here are some factors to consider when comparing the best music distribution services:

Pricing and Royalties

When comparing pricing and royalties among distribution partners, it's important to consider the balance between cost and value provided by the service. Some music distribution companies charge a one-time fee for each release, while others have a subscription-based pricing model. There are also services that take a percentage of your royalties. Each pricing structure has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, a service that charges a higher one-time fee may be more suitable for artists who release music less frequently or have a limited budget. On the other hand, a service that offers a subscription fee or takes a percentage of royalties may be preferable for artists who release music more frequently and can benefit from ongoing support and additional features. It's essential to carefully assess the pricing options and consider how they align with your budget and long-term goals.

Distribution Reach

The distribution reach of a music distribution company can significantly impact your music's visibility and reach. When evaluating music distribution industry reach, it's crucial to check which music stores, streaming platforms, and countries the service has partnerships with. The broader the reach, the better chance you have of reaching a wider audience. It's important to ensure that the services you are considering cover the platforms that are most important to you and your target audience. For example, if your target audience primarily uses streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music, you'll want to choose a service that has strong partnerships with these platforms. Additionally, consider whether the service covers international markets if expanding your music's reach globally is part of your strategy.

Rights and Ownership

Understanding the rights and ownership policies of each digital music distribution service is crucial. Some services may require exclusive distribution rights, meaning that you can't release your music through other platforms. This exclusivity can have both positive and negative implications. On one hand, if the service has a strong track record of generating substantial exposure and revenue, granting exclusive rights to distribute music there may be beneficial. It can provide a focused approach and centralized management of your music distribution. On the other hand, if your long-term goal is to maintain flexibility and release your music through multiple channels, a service that allows non-exclusive distribution would be a better fit. Non-exclusive distribution allows you to release your music through multiple services simultaneously, expanding your reach and diversifying your revenue streams. Consider your long-term goals and determine if exclusivity is acceptable for your music career.

Additional Features and Services

Different music distribution companies offer various additional features and services that can enhance your own music promotion and distribution strategy. These can include music monetization options for platforms like YouTube, access to analytics and insights, promotional tools, and opportunities for playlist placements. These additional features can provide significant value to your music career. For example, if you create music videos and want to monetize them on YouTube, a service that offers YouTube Content ID and revenue collection would be advantageous. Access to analytics and insights can provide valuable data to understand your audience better, track your music's performance, and make informed decisions about your marketing and promotional efforts. Promotional tools, such as the ability to create pre-save campaigns or pitch your music to playlists, can help you increase your music's discoverability and grow your fan base. When comparing music distribution companies, consider which features are important to you and can effectively support your music distribution and promotional strategies.

User Experience and Interface

The user experience and interface of different music distribution companies can greatly impact your workflow and efficiency. A user-friendly platform can save you time and simplify the distribution process. Look for services with intuitive dashboards, easy-to-use uploading and editing tools, and clear instructions for releasing your music. A clean and organized interface can help you navigate through the service's features and functionalities with ease. Reading reviews, watching tutorials, or even testing out demo accounts can give you insights into the user experience and interface of different services. Pay attention to how the service handles metadata entry, album art uploads, and the overall ease of navigating the platform.

Customer Support

Customer support is an important aspect to consider when choosing a music distribution service. It's essential to assess the level of customer support provided by each service. Look for responsive customer service teams that can assist you with any issues or questions that may arise during the distribution process. Prompt and helpful support can make a significant difference in your experience as an artist. Evaluate the availability of customer support channels, such as email, live chat, or phone, and the average response time. Consider reading reviews or seeking recommendations from other artists to gain insights into the quality of customer support provided by different services.

Artist Success Stories and Reputation

Researching the reputation and success stories associated with a music distribution service can provide valuable insights. Look for testimonials or case studies from artists who have used the service to distribute their music successfully. A service with a proven track record of supporting independent artists and helping them achieve their goals can be a valuable indicator of its reliability and effectiveness. Consider the success stories of artists who are similar to you in terms of genre or career stage. If a service has consistently supported artists in your niche and helped them gain significant exposure and success, it indicates that the service understands your specific needs and can cater to your goals effectively. Additionally, check online forums or artist communities for discussions and feedback about the reputation and experiences artists have had with different music distribution services.

Unchained Music

Unchained Music stands out among the competition as a leading free music distributor, offering a range of exceptional features including AI Mixing and benefits to independent artists. With Unchained Music, artists have complete control over their rights and royalties, allowing them to retain ownership and maximize their earnings while distribution to streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. The platform's user-friendly interface easy upload experience make it incredibly convenient for artists to release their music directly from their phones. Unchained Music's commitment to supporting independent musicians is evident in its artist support, ensuring artists have the necessary tools and guidance to succeed. By offering a reliable and artist-centric distribution service without any upfront costs, Unchained Music empowers artists to unleash their creativity and reach a global audience.

Amuse

Amuse offers free music distribution services, that allows artists to keep 100% of their rights and royalties. Founded in 2015, Amuse offers a user-friendly platform that gets your music onto all major music stores and streaming platforms. One of the unique features of Amuse is its mobile app, which enables artists to release music directly from their phones. With hassle-free royalty payments and 24/7 artist support, Amuse is an excellent choice for independent musicians.

DistroKid

DistroKid is one of the best music distribution companies that offers you unlimited music uploads. With DistroKid, artists retain 100% of their rights and royalties. The platform distributes music to all major music stores and streaming platforms, ensuring maximum exposure for your tracks. DistroKid also provides additional features, including YouTube Content ID and HyperFollow, to help artists monetize their music and promote their releases.

CD Baby

CD Baby is a well-established music distribution service that has been in the industry for over two decades. It distributes your music to over 150 streaming and download services worldwide. CD Baby's website also offers valuable demographic and geographic data to help artists understand their audience better. With its extensive network and long-standing reputation, CD Baby continues to be a reliable choice for musicians seeking broad exposure for their music. While CD Baby used to do physical distribution as well as digital music distribution, it has scaled back recently to only offer digital music distribution.

TuneCore

TuneCore is a music distribution service that provides artists with a straightforward pricing model. It distributes music to over 150 digital stores and streaming platforms. Artists retain 100% of their sales, downloads, and streaming revenue, making it an attractive option for independent musicians. TuneCore also offers additional services such as music publishing administration and YouTube Sound Recording Revenue Collection. With its user-friendly interface and transparent pricing, TuneCore simplifies the distribution process for artists.

Ditto

Ditto is a music distribution platform that offers unlimited releases. It distributes your music to over 200 stores, including major streaming platforms. Ditto lets you keep 100% of your rights and royalties and provides 24/7 artist support. The platform also offers daily analytics reports to track your sales and trending data. If you're looking for a service that offers flexibility and comprehensive support, Ditto is worth considering.

Record Union

Record Union is a music distribution competitor that allows artists to register for free and pay for each release. It provides artists with the freedom to choose the music stores and streaming platforms they want their tracks to be delivered to. With its pay-as-you-go system, Record Union offers a flexible solution for independent artists.

SpinnUp

SpinnUp is a record label and music distribution service owned by Universal Music Group. Artists can sign up for free to access special features and analytics. The platform charges artists for every track release and distributes music to 44, digital music stores, and streaming platforms. The top tracks uploaded to SpinnUp have the opportunity to be discovered and signed by Universal Music Group's A&R team.

AWAL

AWAL is a music distribution service that delivers your music to key stores and all major streaming services and platforms worldwide. While AWAL is free to join, they take a share of your streaming and download profits once your track is released. AWAL's curated artist roster ensures that they provide a high-quality service to their artists.

United Masters

United Masters offers free digital distribution to various stores and streaming platforms. The platform takes a share of your streaming and download profits. United Masters provides artists with an analytics dashboard to track their real-time data.

What's the Best Music Distribution Service?

These are some of the best music distribution services available today in the music industry. Each service offers unique features and benefits, so it's important to consider your specific needs and goals when choosing the right platform for your music career. Included in this consideration should be whether or not the music distribution each company offers is free music distribution or they distribute to all streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. Certain independent music distribution companies such as Unchained Music tend to be focused on the independent artist, while others, like AWAL are great for established players in the music industry, but are owned by major record labels. CD Baby used to the have the advantage of physical distribution to record shops, but has recently gotten rid of that perk, leaving CD Baby with less differentiators compared to a free music distribution service such as Unchained Music.

Take the time to research and explore each service to make an informed decision while you plan your path in the music industry. Good luck with your digital music distribution journey!

Get Started by Distributing Your Music Today

If you're an aspiring artist looking to make your mark in the music industry, there's no better time than today to distribute your music online. The digital landscape has opened up endless opportunities for independent musicians to reach a global audience. By leveraging the power of music distribution services, you can share your creativity and passion with the world. With numerous platforms available, it's easier than ever to get your music on major streaming platforms and online stores, ensuring that your songs are accessible to listeners worldwide. Don't wait for the perfect moment—take action now and unleash your musical potential. Embrace the digital revolution, connect with fans, and let your unique sound resonate with audiences around the globe. Start distributing your music today and embark on an exciting journey towards realizing your music career dreams. The world is waiting to discover your talent, so don't hesitate—make your mark and share your music with the world.

PRODUCTION & MUSIC
UNCHAINED ACADEMY

THROUGH THE NOISE

MUSIC PRODUCTION

February 21, 2024
Deconstructing Remixes: The Anatomy of a Masterful Remix
August 10, 2023
Understanding Musical Royalties: A Comprehensive Guide to Rights and Payments
August 2, 2023
Unlocking Your Music Marketing Strategy: 10 Tactics for Musicians

WEB3, NFT'S & MUSIC

July 11, 2023
Exploring Music NFT Companies and NFT Marketplaces
June 28, 2023
Exploring Decentralized Music Platforms: 5 Impressive Web3 Music Streaming Services
March 7, 2023
The Top 10 Free Music Distribution Services for Independent Artists

UNCHAINED TIPS

January 23, 2024
Understanding the Apple Music Style Guide
July 25, 2023
How to Clear a Copyright Claim with Unchained Music
July 19, 2023
Getting You Music On Spotify Playlists in 2023