Spotify URI / Apple Artist ID
Cover Art Requirements
Audio File Requirements
Album and Track Titles
UPC / ISRC numbers
Remixes, Covers & Licenses
How to transfer music from another distributor
Take Down Requests
While each platform has slightly different requirements, we require cover art to fit the following guidelines in order for it to be accepted by every streaming service:
The cover art must not be any of the following: blurry, pixelated, mismatched, cut, misaligned, rotated, incorrect, stretched, mirrored or have any other quality issues. Also, the textual information given must be fairly readable.
The information shown in the cover image should always match the information of the metadata as accurately as possible and without any class of abbreviation.
The cover art of all releases must meet the following requirements:
Any images that do not meet the requirements will either be rejected by our quality control process, or not be displayed correctly on the online platforms.
Full-white covers are not allowed because channels tend to interpret it as an error.
The cover art may not contain website addresses, links, logos of any store or service, mention of any physical formats, or any references to releases outside of the digital platform.
The cover art may include credits or other collaborator’s names, as long as they are correct and used without abbreviation. The information on the cover will need to be represented in the metadata.
Expressions like "all rights reserved" cannot be used.
The release reference number can appear in the cover, but not the release's UPC or ISRC codes.
The cover art must not contain:
Every logo appearing in the cover must be justified in the metadata, including any text. These logos will be accepted if they have a clear relation with the album's content and explain some relevant information - producer, artist, label, etc. Designers or artists who created the cover design won't be accepted as they are not related to the musical release itself.
Any registered brand, person, property, or company that appears on the cover will be accepted as long as they are visually irrelevant, help to convey the cover’s intention, and the artist has explicit permission from the owners or rights holders. If requested, it will be necessary to report documentation to prove the consent of the involved mentioned logos, images, or registered brands.
If you have any other questions, please contact us through our support form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
A Primary Artist is the principal artist(s) or band(s) who participate in every track of the release. Generally, if an artist is credited on the cover art and had a hand in composing the work, they should be included on the album and track level as Primary Artists.
A Featured Artist are the artists who accompany the primary artist in the release. In the case of an multi-release album, the use of this role generally implies that the featuring artist did not have a hand in composing a majority of the album, and is present on a minority of the tracks within the album.
In order to ensure good audio quality and meet the standards of the contemporary music industry, all audio files must have undergone a mastering process before distribution. If they have not, they risk being rejected by our quality assurance process.
The minimum requirements for uploading audio masters are:
Audio files containing background noise, and/or other sound imperfections will not be accepted for distribution.
Silences, pauses, or extended dead space at the end of the tracks are not allowed by DSPs. If a song ends with a final silence it should last no longer than ten seconds. You may not distribute tracks that are mostly or entirely silent.
If it is a single, a song must last more than 30 seconds, otherwise channels may interpret the release as click fraud. Streaming services generally won’t accept albums if the average track length is less than 60 seconds.
If your track is a remix, please select "Yes" on the field "Is this track a remix?" when uploading audio on the second tab. It will be necessary to indicate whether or not this is a remix of music that you own the copyright to.
If you are using a sample in your music, in order to make sure you're releasing 100% legal music you need to prove you have permission and provide documentation if requested. There are several possibilities to use a sample on a release:
If you are sampling off other records or works by other artists, you need to obtain a Master and Mechanical License for worldwide distribution.
If you are distributing a cover song, to fulfill the legal requirements of a cover song, the recording must fit these criteria:
If your track fulfills the above criteria, then you do not need a license to distribute to streaming services worldwide, however if you want to offer your music in stores that offer downloads you may need a mechanical license depending on the country:
Legally, a remix contains one or more of the following:
If you do any of the above with another artist's work in your music, in order to release the remix legally you must obtain a Master License and the song copyright. The master rights are usually held by the original recording artist(s) themselves, while the copyright is generally held by a music publisher. In order to release the track legally you must get permission from both of these groups. It's your responsibility to present these permissions upon request.
You are welcome to upload remixes of your own work. However, if your remix is of another artist's song, or contains any part of another artist's original music, streaming services require permission from the original artist.
Version information is separate from the track title and helps to differentiate between multiple versions of the same track or indicate that a track is different from its original version. Here are some helpful tips when deciding what version info is appropriate:
Releases with images related to drugs, violence, sex or containing obscene language and insults must have the “Parental Advisory” logo on them. If the cover art is extremely explicit (pornography, racism, violence trivialization or encouragement of the use of drugs) our QC team will ask to change the cover, since the content might be forbidden by the channels. If the cover image contains the logo of “Parental Advisory”, at least one track must be flagged as explicit. Variations of the “Parental Advisory” are allowed, including alternative logos like “Restricted”. The color or shape of it can be changed as long as it maintains the same formula.
The “explicit lyrics” box must be checked at the track level when the title or the lyrics have explicit content - especially if they mention topics like sex, drugs, violence or contain obscene language or insults. If the explicit tracks are indicated, the album will be automatically flagged as explicit. If the album is flagged as explicit, the tracks with explicit content must be indicated. Unless the cover image is the only explicit content of the album (and the lyrics and the metadata are clean), the tracks should not be marked as explicit. Please keep in mind that instrumental songs cannot be explicit.
Self-censorship is not permitted, neither on the cover nor in the metadata. Artist names, track titles, and album titles must be submitted in the original form that was intended. Explicit words are automatically censored in some channels, and would appear as: “f**k” or “s**t”. Do not insert asterisks in the titles yourself.
If content is extremely violent towards a minority or vulnerable group, our QC team reserves the right to block the implied users and take down all their content.
Nazi references are forbidden. This kind of content will be banned in all circumstances and channels, as it is recognized as harmful by the BPjM (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende medien) and prohibited by German authorities or as otherwise recognized by anti-Nazi laws in any applicable jurisdiction. A release can not contain any kind of offensive symbology to a specific group of people or ethnicities, such as Nazi symbolism. If the content includes the glorification of Nazism, our QC team reserves the right to remove and block the account (with the implications that this might have) and take down all the releases.
If you’d like to distribute one or multiple singles before distributing the album, upload the singles one by one, as you would any other release.
When you distribute the entire album, you need to create a new release of the entire album, and make sure that all of the information from the singles, including sound file, title, metadata, etc matches the previously distributed single. This includes the ISRC number that is provided to you in your profile. If you do not use the ISRC number, the DSPs may not recognize the single as a part of your album.
A UPC, or Universal Product Code, is a unique code used to identify a release.
ISRC, or International Standard Recording Code, is the internationally recognized identification tool for sound and music video recordings.
You can view your release’s codes by clicking on the release’s information section in your profile. A code will be assigned to all new, never previously released music distributed through the Unchained Music platform.
If you are moving a catalogue from a previous distributor to Unchained Music, please visit your previous distributor's website and enter the existing UPC/ISRC code in our upload form. This is required information and will increase the success of synchronizing existing releases. For more information, see the next question about transferring catalogues.
In order to increase the success of tracks linking across DSPs (Digital Service Providers), we recommend following these steps:
This will increase the success of tracks linking across DSPs.
This step may take a while, as releases have to be processed through our own Quality Control, as well as the individual DSPs ingestion and publication processes.
Once the synchronization has been successfully completed across all DSPs, you can request a take down from the previous distributor.
Note: While this is the process that we found works best, the synchronization is done by the DSPs, not us. By following these practices, you are increasing the chance that there will be no issues or conflicts, however this is ultimately on the DSPs to sort out. On some platforms, you may lose reviews.
Sure. It’s your music, you can do what you want with it. That being said, when you use multiple distributors, you could create issues with royalty payments and which distributor has takedown permissions. If there is a conflict, our support team can only deal with royalties on our side. We will not engage with a different distributor on your behalf.
Generally all stores will make your music available within a week once it has passed our quality control process. During peak times, especially during the end of year holiday period, times may be longer. If you want all of your music to go live at the same time across all DSPs, we strongly suggest that you set a date 3-4 weeks or more in advance.
You must be at least 18 years old. If you’re under 18, you may have a parent or legal guardian sign up on your behalf.
Digital Service Providers (DSPs) set different ranges for music to purchase for their users. Our prices are set in a general range to accomodate this. This does not ensure an identical price in all channels, since DSPs have the right to determine the final price of a product, depending on the territory and currency of the sale. The categories are indicative of the range of price you desire for each track/album individually.
At the moment, we release to everywhere that each of the individual DSPs does. For example, Spotify will release to every country that Spotify works in, QQ Music will release to everywhere QQ Music works in, etc.
We are currently in beta, and are working hard to give you the ability to choose which locations to release to, or restrict your release based on country and region. If you need to geo-restrict your release, please contact our support team.
We support all of the languages below, however each DSP has it’s own way of processing languages. There may be certain circumstances where languages will be changed within the DSP’s platform. We do not control this process, and it is up to the individual DSPs. ex: Some platforms may change Cantonese to Chinese, Basque to Spanish, or Tamazigh to Arabic.
At the moment we do not support classical music, spoken word or comedy. We are currently in beta and are working hard to provide you the ability to distribute in those genres. If you’d like to see those genres supported, please contact our support team.
We currently support all of the following genres:
If someone has uploaded your music to streaming services, we can’t help you with taking it down. That being said, each channel has its own means to report any content infringement and claim the original work's rights. You can file a DMCA takedown request with each channel. Here are the ones we know of:
If you find your music on an illegal music site, you have three ways to report it. The legal route for the majority of these cases is more difficult, and we can't know for certain who is running the site.
Contact our support team if you have any doubts about how to proceed. We cannot offer legal advice, but we can give you the best ways to proceed.
You can now edit your releases and take down your content directly through the Unchained Music platform! If your release has already been processed by stores, simply navigate to the desired release and click the 'edit my release' button. Content that is able to be edited will be displayed. If you wish to take your release down from DSPs, navigate to the third tab and request a takedown. Our quality control team will process your request and notify you of its progress through the platform and via email.
If you need to take down a release, please contact our support team.