A music distributor is necessary for up-and-coming artists and musicians who want to disperse their music to the broader world! However, when selecting a music distributor, knowing the best choice can take time and effort. After extensive research, here are the best ways to determine which music distributor to choose! So, who is the biggest music distributor?
CD Baby is the biggest music distributor in the industry, with nearly 1 million active distribution clients. It is compatible with Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, and Instagram. Smaller but also successful music distributors include Distrokid, Landr, Tunecore, Fresh Tunes, Stem, and Repost Network.
What makes some music distributing services and companies better or worse than their competitors? Which ones are free and function on a subscription or payment system? Let’s go over what to look for and how to determine which music distributor is the right fit!
Everything You Need To Know About The Biggest Music Distributor: CD Baby
CD Baby has high speeds when it comes to music distribution. The company takes 9% of music royalties from its users. Users say it performs better in Spotify UK and Spotify US, occasionally less profitable than other music distributors when used on Apple Music. This is important to remember if artists already have a large audience and want to keep income flowing steadily.
With such an excellent service to offer musicians, it is no surprise that CD Baby has effectively gathered its current clientele and established such a following. In 2020, CD Baby had 950,000 active distribution clients. This is a massive group of followers for a music distribution company. This following further proves CD Baby is a good and well-loved option for music distribution but also the best option available to musicians in the industry.
CD Baby offers digital and physical music distribution, discounts on handy tools for indie and DIY-style artists, and free marketing tools. It is one of the longest music distributors and has publishing partners to help collect all streaming royalties. The average distribution fee for CD Baby is $10 per single and $30 per album. It’s compatible with Instagram and TikTok, users can set the payment threshold, and the distributor accepts covers!
Due to its size and popularity, CD Baby can charge and uphold higher prices for their services and takes 15% for streaming royalties. They also don’t offer total monetization to users on their free platform, requiring the purchase of a CD Baby Plan to use this feature.
While these are minor selling points to customers, CD Baby is famous in the music distribution industry. The company can do as it pleases without taking any cut in sales, clientele, or overall success.
Other Music Distributors
Many users praise Distrokid because the service is fast, clear about what it offers, and receives consistently high reviews on Reddit and other platforms. Customer service is speedy and efficient, and there are often few issues with payments or tracks.
Distrokid operates on a fixed price of $20 per year for the premium plan, allowing users to upload unlimited music and receive 100% of the streaming royalties! Royalty splits deliver automatically through this distributor. Multiple artists can collaborate on a project without the messy work of dividing payments manually! Users also claim a verified Spotify artist account, which is helpful when using the in-depth analytic system.
A significant drawback of Distrokid is that it is more expensive than other music distributors and gives minimal details on revenue. Users have said that the Ditto distributor is better at this since Distrokid only shows the income made for the past month. This isn’t easy when users look for which albums or tracks are doing well and which need to catch up.
Repost Network is a digital music distributor part of the SoundCloud Pro package priced at only $10 monthly. For those on the subscription plan, full access is granted to all SoundCloud Pro benefits.
Through SoundCloud’s Repost Network, customers get these benefits:
- Distribution to all digital streaming services
- Use of Pre-Save music links
- Official playlist submission areas for Spotify
- Exclusive SoundCloud playlist submissions
- SoundCloud and Spotify scheduling tools for uploading, reposting, and sharing songs
- Clickable banner art on the SoundCloud platform
Repost Network is one of the only distributors allowing monetization on the user’s SoundCloud releases. It also pays slightly more money per music stream than Spotify, at $0.0034 per song, versus Spotify’s $0.0025 offer.
Unfortunately, the company takes 15% off commissions for all Apple Music and Spotify streaming revenue. This is a high price, especially for the high subscription price of $30 per year without the package plan. Repost is a well-functioning option for those using SoundCloud Pro, but distributors like Ditto or Distrokid may be better for those not already on SoundCloud.
This distributor can get users on all streaming platforms, like Spotify and Apple Music, while ensuring their music fits each streaming service well! This service provides that other streaming services won’t penalize the submitted songs!
When subscribed to Landr, users can use the services while also getting access to their music distribution services for free! Additionally, Landr has many opportunities for online music promotion, which helps land placements in popular streaming playlists! Landr can run user music through a limiter, affecting the drums’ clarity and the overall mix’s sound. If the subscription fee and tools seem worth it, music-makers can try Landr.
Tunecore is a distributor often advertised on SoundCloud and offers recently overhauled prices to keep up with its competitors. They previously had a bad reputation and reviews but have improved since to be one of the top music distributors.
Customers of this service can get unlimited music uploads for a fixed price, and the free plan still lets users get unlimited uploads with the caveat of a 15% commission charge.
Tunecore also has the best analytical dashboard, offers high payouts per stream in the US and UK, and has a publishing team that collects user royalties. If the commission rate for free users isn’t a dealbreaker, users should also know that some distributors may carry lower price tags than Tunecore. Sometimes countries other than the UK and the US don’t receive as high payouts per stream from Tunecore as other distributors.
Fresh Tunes is one of the best free music distributor services! This one carries no fees or commissions for users to release their tracks, and they even offer distribution to Chinese streaming platforms! Users who place their tracks on Fresh Tunes can get feedback from industry professionals. This may be discouraging for some users who don’t want feedback or criticism, but the notes can be an excellent source for improvement.
This is a new music distributor which is similar to AWAL. This one is an invite-only service that allows access to a user’s artist manager if accepted. Users’ songs are marketed to bigger audiences with this service. Stem only charges 5% for commissions, so more streaming royalties go to creators.
Data does not show which company pays more per stream, and people know which has a better marketing team when comparing Stem between Amuse and AWAL. Most people interested should compare Stem with Amuse and AWAL to determine if they enjoy one interface more. It can also be hard to get into Stem since it is currently closed to the public, meaning users need to get an invite to the Stem website even to access it, so exclusivity may be a limiting downside.