The Top 10 Free Music Distribution Services for Independent Artists

Web3 & NFT & Music
Updated on
June 30, 2023
Written by
UM Staff
Discover the top 10 free music distribution services for independent artists and distribute your music for free to all major music streaming platforms.

You’ve finished mixing and mastering your tracks, and it’s time to publish your music on all of the streaming and download services so your fans can actually listen to your music. You might be asking yourself:

Don’t worry. We have you covered through this music distributor comparison.

Even though streaming payouts on platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music can be complicated and oftentimes less than artists hope for, it’s important that you make your music available so your fans can stream your music. That being said, many music distributors cost way too much, and your budget is probably not as large as you like for your next release. 

Listed below are 10 free digital music distributors that will help you stretch that budget and get your music to everyone that needs to hear it. It’s rare for a music distributor to be completely free, so we’ve compiled the list of pros, cons, and the catch to each ‘free’ music distribution platform.

Most ‘free music distributors’ will take a cut of royalties on the backend after your music generates streaming royalties, with one notable exception, Unchained Music. All of these companies provide options and multiple levels of music distribution, with multiple perks, including music analytics, the number of songs that you can distribute (with a few offering true unlimited distribution), and some even offer royalty advances. When you release music, you want to make sure that your specific release date is hit, and the additional music services work for you.

If you’re in need of a truly free digital music distributor to get your music out to your millions of waiting fans, the below free music distribution services might be exactly what you need.

  • Unchained Music
  • RouteNote
  • TuneCore
  • SoundDrop
  • Freshtunes
  • AWAL
  • STEM
  • Music Gateway
  • United Masters
  • Symphonic

1. Unchained Music

  • Truly free music distribution
  • Doesn’t take a percentage of your music royalties
  • Has ambitions in Web3 music and distributing to web3 music platforms
  • Distributes to 220+ music streaming platforms
  • Unlimited uploads
  • Allows for cover songs if you have the license
  • Offers artist advances


  • Streaming royalties are locked for a small amount of time before you can withdraw your earnings

Open Platform?: Yes
What’s the catch?:
Streaming royalties that are earned through Unchained are locked for one month before being available to the user

Unchained Music Review:

Unchained Music is a music distribution service that stands out from the competition by being actually completely free. Artists can distribute an unlimited amount of music on over 220 streaming platforms worldwide without having to pay a fee or give up a percentage of their royalties. This includes major platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and more.

In addition to the distribution services, Unchained Music is also working on implementing comprehensive music analytics to help artists track the performance of their releases across all platforms. This includes data on streams, listeners, playlist adds, and revenue generated.

Another standout feature of Unchained Music is their focus on artist empowerment. The platform aims to provide artists with the tools and resources they need to succeed in the music industry, including access to marketing and promotional services, social media support, and artist development programs. Above and beyond most other digital music distribution platforms, Unchained Music also offers artist advances to selected artists that want to move their catalog. 

Overall, Unchained Music's combination of free distribution, comprehensive reporting, and artist empowerment makes it a top choice for independent musicians looking to get their music on major streaming platforms and take their careers to the next level.

2. RouteNote


  • Can get started for free
  • Unlimited uploads
  • Unlimited artists
  • Distributes to 200+ streaming platforms


  • Not truly free (Routenote takes 15% of the streaming royalties that you earn on their free plan)
  • Negative customer service reviews

Open Platform?: Yes
What’s the catch?:
Routenote takes 15% of the royalties that you earn on their free tier. It’s not ideal, but a good option for artists looking to get started without paying upfront.

Routenote Review:

RouteNote is a music distribution company that provides a simple and free distribution service for artists who are just starting in the music industry. The site allows artists to easily upload their new music and distribute it to over 200 online stores and platforms, which is a significatn increase from their previous 50. They’ve been busy striking those deals. 

The company does not charge initially for the upload and distribution of music, but does take 15% of royalties earned by the artist from every track once their music starts generating streaming royalties. However, artists can choose to pay an upfront fee and a subscription fee to keep 100% of their earnings.

If you are just starting out, it may be wise to use the free service and upgrade to the premium service once your music starts gaining traction. Do the math, and see what works for you.

3. TuneCore

  • Can get started for free
  • Your very own Youtube artist channel


  • The free tier only distributes to social sites (Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram, etc), not Spotify, Apple Music, etc
  • Not truly free. The pricing page specifically doesn’t click the “100% Revenue from digital stores”
  • Reviews are negative about their customer service

Open Platform?: Yes
What’s the catch?:
The free tier doesn’t distribute to major streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, but rather social sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok. Additionally, the ‘free’ tier doesn’t allow the artist to keep 100% of their royalties.

TuneCore Review:

TuneCore is a major player in the digital music distribution industry and offers a free distribution service called 'New Artist' mode, which is ideal for artists who are just starting in the industry.

With 'New Artist,' artists have access to unlimited music releases and can release on social media platforms, but does not distribute to major streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. The service does not charge an annual fee or a fee per release, but has significant limitations unless you upgrade to a higher subscription tier. 

As an artist's music gains traction, they may want to consider upgrading to access TuneCore's full distribution potential and distribute their music to major streaming platforms. Once again, to actually distribute your music everywhere, TuneCore falls a bit short. 

4. SoundDrop

  • Cheap, but still not free
  • Allows for covers
  • They cover the licensing process for you


  •  Cheap, but still not free. $0.99 per track, plus a 15% commission off of your streaming royalties

Open Platform?: Yes
What’s the catch?:
SoundDrop isn’t a bad value, but it’s not free. 99 cents per release, plus 15% of all streaming royalties goes towards the company. 

SoundDrop Review:

Soundrop is a music distribution service that charges a small fee of $0.99 per release to distribute music to all major streaming platforms, which includes licensing fees. This price is low, but compared to Unchained Music, it’s not necessarily great value. 

Soundrop guarantees that your music remains available on all streaming platforms for life unlike other competitors such as Distrokid, and they also offer a service for licensing cover tracks. This is an excellent service for artists who frequently perform covers and upload them to social media sites, as Soundrop handles any potential infringement or copyright claims. Having the music licensing included in their services is something no other music distribution service does, and is ideal for anyone that needs regular license clearances. 

5. FreshTunes

  • You keep 100% of your streaming royalties
  • Unlimited uploads


  • Up to a 14 day processing time for new tracks
  • Fresh Tunes takes a 20% cut on songwriter and Youtube Content ID royalties

Open Platform?: Yes
What’s the catch?:
The free music distribution tier takes 20% of the songwriter royalties and everything collected through YouTube’s Content ID system. Additionally, a 14 day wait is built into the free tier, which isn’t ideal unless you’re looking to really schedule your tracks in advance. 

FreshTunes Review:

FreshTunes is a music distribution service that offers unlimited distribution of music to major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music. Unlike many of the other free competitors, artists using this service really do retain 100% of their streaming royalties, however FreshTunes takes a cut of the songwriting and YouTube Content ID royalties.

In addition to their free distribution service, FreshTunes also offers professional feedback and promotional deals for an extra fee on their platform. If an artist doesn’t have anyone to give them honest feedback, such as an A&R rep, these services might be worthwhile for an independent music artist. 

The largest downside of using this service is not the songwriting or YouTube Content ID royalty cut, but it is that their customer service and live chat support features actually cost money, at a whopping $25 per support ticket. Not cool. 


  • Can get started for free
  • Unlimited distribution
  • Included artist manager
  • Extensive marketing tools
  • Offers artist advances


  • Closed platform, so it’s generally unavailable to new artists
  • Once again, AWAL isn’t truly free. They charge a 15% commission rate on all streaming royalties

Open Platform?: No
What’s the catch?:
AWAL is a fantastic distribution service, if you can get in, which the majority of artists won’t. They offer significant support to their musicians, but at a cost of 15% of all of the royalties collected. It’s probably worth it, but it’s not free. 

AWAL Review:
AWAL, or 'Artists Without A Label,' is a music distribution service that targets established artists who require assistance with promotion and expanding their fan base. However, before being able to use the service artists need to apply, and hopefully, be accepted. 

The promotional tools that AWAL provide are probably worth the 15% commission fee they charge, and with a full-fledged digital music distribution service going to all of the streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer, it’s worth the application.

One of AWAL's best features is its A&R team who work directly with artists, and can promote promising artists. If an artist is selected by AWAL, they will be assigned an artist manager who will work to ensure their music gets the recognition it needs.



  • Unlimited distribution
  • Great playlist network
  • Gives you access to a personal artist manager, if you can get in
  • Offers artist advances


  • Extremely cheap, but still not free. They take a 5% commission rate of all streaming royalties
  • Artists need to apply for access

Open Platform?: No
What’s the catch?:
STEM is a great value, but it’s harder to get accepted than AWAL. 5% of streaming royalties to the company isn’t bad, but it isn’t free. 

STEM Review:

Stem is a music distribution platform that is similar to AWAL, but it is even more exclusive. It is an invitation-only platform that provides you with a personal artist manager. Compared to AWAL, Stem has a much lower commission fee of only 5% of your generated streaming royalties.

Their dashboards, marketing tools, and analytics are some of the best in the music industry. Like AWAL, Stem also provides bespoke marketing teams, artist advances, and artist development deals.

If you are an artist with a significant fan base and a few million streams already, it may be worth investigating STEM.

8. Music Gateway

  • The first 5 tracks are free to upload
  • Great support for marketing and licensing
  • Includes 2 free masters for the free music distribution plan


  • Music Gateway takes a 20% commission on even the ‘free upload’ tracks
  • Only distributes to major streaming platforms on the free plan

Open Platform?: Yes
What’s the catch?:
The free tier is limited to the first 5 tracks that an artist uploads, and they take 20% of all streaming royalties, even on the free tier. 

Music Gateway Review:

Music Gateway is a platform that offers a range of services beyond music distribution, including music publishing, licensing, promotion, and mastering. This makes it an interesting option for artists looking for a more comprehensive service to manage their music career. Their mastering service isn’t something that many distribution platforms offer, and might be worth it if you need a bit of helping finishing off your tracks. 

The first five tracks are free, and after that, artists are charged $22 per month for unlimited uploads. However, at this price point, Music Gateway offers a more significant share of the revenues generated from all activities. There is also a third tier at $37 per month, which might be more appropriate for labels.

If you are solely looking for a music distribution service, then Music Gateway may not be the best option for you. But, if you want a more all-encompassing service to manage various aspects of your music career, then Music Gateway is definitely worth considering.

9. United Masters

  • As far as ‘free music distribution’ goes, their commission is low


  • Only distributes to 35+ streaming platform
  • Not truly free. United Masters takes 10% of your streaming royalties on the free plan
  • The free plan is limited to one release per month

Open Platform?: Yes
What’s the catch?:
The free tier only offers one release per month, plus a cut of 10% of your streaming royalties. 

United Masters Review:

United Masters is a music distribution company that offers two different options for artists. The first option is free to start and only takes a 10% commission from revenues generated by the artist's work on major streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. However, this tier only allows for one release per month, which may not be enough for artists looking to release more frequently.

The second option, United Masters Select, is a paid service that costs $60 per year and allows artists to release as much music as they want without any limitations. Additionally, artists can split royalties with collaborators, producers, and songwriters, and the company doesn't take any commission from the earnings generated by the artist's work. If you’re generating a significant amount of royalties, this tier may be worth it. 

10. Amuse

  • Allows artists to get started quite easily
  • Intuitive interface
  • Artists are eligible for artist advances


  • Doesn’t distribute to major platforms in the free tier, including TikTok
  • Not truly free music distribution. Amuse takes a 15% fee on the free tier
  • Doesn’t allow the scheduling of releases on the free tier
  • Limits artists to 12 releases a year on the free plan
  • Time to release is 4 weeks on the free plan

Open Platform?: Yes
What’s the catch?:
The free tier from Amuse takes 15% of your streaming royalties and doesn’t allow the scheduling of releases, plus it sets a limit of 12 releases a year. Not bad, not great. 
Amuse Review:

Amuse is a music distribution company that provides a free service to get your music onto major online stores and streaming platforms worldwide. While many artists can use the service without any cost, Amuse offers two paid tiers with additional features, one for $2 per month and another for $6 per month, which includes 24/7 customer service and other benefits.

What makes Amuse stand out is that it also functions as a record label that actively seeks out and nurtures talented artists. If an artist's music gains traction on streaming sites, Amuse may reach out to offer playlist pitching, marketing, and financing for future projects. In exchange, profits are shared between the artist and the company. This sets Amuse apart from other distribution companies on this list that solely offer distribution services or take a percentage of the profits solely for that service.

A Wrapup of the Best Free Digital Music Distributors

In conclusion, finding a free digital music distributor may seem daunting, but it’s essential to make your music available to as many fans as possible. Although most free music distributors take a cut of royalties on the backend, there are a few exceptions, such as Unchained Music. Each of the 10 companies listed above provides various levels of distribution through subscription services, adding in analytics, and perks  on higher tiers, making it easy for artists to get their music on all major online stores and streaming platforms worldwide. By choosing the right service, you can maximize your budget and reach your millions of waiting fans without breaking the bank.




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