Are you considering using Distrokid to get your music out on apps like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon? Many indie artists get lured into this company because of the attractive low price point.
I have used both Distrokid and CDbaby for my song releases in the past, and I've had some interesting experiences with both companies. I started with CDbaby when I began publishing songs over 12 years ago, and I switched to using Distrokid for my song releases after 2015.
I think Distrokid is actually very much worth it, and only have a few gripes with it that I will mention below after highlighting some of its best qualities.
DistroKid members pay an annual fee to release an unlimited number of singles and albums. There are three membership plans:
Distrokid Musician - $19.99
Distrokid Musician Plus - $35.99
Distrokid Label - $79.99 for five artists, up to $1199.99/yr for 100 artists
This is much more affordable than other companies like CDbaby and Tunecore which can cost you per release, while the unlimited uploads for Distrokid are really favorable for us starving artists out there.
Distrokid allows you to keep 100% of the royalties that are owed to you. This is wonderful news since royalties are pretty much like counting pennies these days for independent artists like myself.
I don't really want anyone taking a cut of what is already cut too much by big companies like Spotify and Apple Music.
A site like CD Baby takes 9% of your royalties, which isn't terrible, but it doesn't win them this round. If you're using their publishing services, they also take 15% of those royalties.
Distrokid will allow you to submit your music to over 150 outlets for people to stream your releases, and the number of outlets seems to increase every time I put out a song, which is a really good sign.
I've noticed that they are starting to submit to social channels like Instagram and TikTok to get their artists more visibility and a chance to go viral.
Distrokid takes a slight edge in the race when you consider the fact that you can distribute the lyrics to your song in addition to the credits, while CD Baby only lets you include the credits.
Most platforms you want to get on will receive your music within a few days if you use Distrokid. They have an automated system that allows them to scan your music for copyright problems or audio errors, which most won't have.
One of my favorite things about Distrokid is the options they give you for royalty splits with other creators. As a hired singer and songwriter, I have way more song releases that are collaborations than I have for my own personal catalog.
I've been able to receive hundreds of dollars in royalties thanks to clients who allowed me to receive a cut of the royalties for the songs I collaborated on.
I've worked with over 300 artists in the music world, so as you can imagine, my royalties have stacked up a bit over the years!
Distrokid can give you a breakdown of what platform and what songs were giving you the most income if you want to see which of your marketing efforts are working the most for you.
Other platforms like Tuncore have a pretty good stats system as well, so Distrokid is pretty standard in terms of how good they have you covered in this area. I do admit that I find reading my statistics on CDbaby is the easist.
Are you tired of dealing with the hassle of copyright claims when trying to make and release cover songs onto the internet? Distrokid has a unique service that stands out above the rest when it comes to distributors.
Here's another winner for Distrokid: they charge $12 a year to manage each cover song for you. With this service, they obtain the license(s) you need and pay the original songwriter(s) every month.
Distrokid allows you to have a $0 payment threshold, which means you can cash out even if you only have a couple of dollars that you've made from sales and royalties.
They've recently set up a direct deposit system that makes it easy for me to go in and request money that has been deposited from my song earnings, and the payments usually hit my bank in a mater of 2 or 3 days.
Other companies may make you wait a few weeks or months for your payouts, so this is a really good bonus and edge that they have.
Here's one reason I am holding on to my CD Baby account. They offer physical distribution services in addition to digital releases. Distrokid does not offer this currently.
I know we're living in the digital age, but in-person marketing with CDs is still effective for independent artists looking to get in front of a larger audience over time. This is especially true for artists that regularly do shows.
They call them extras, and you will notice these options when you are about to upload a song or an album to be distributed. While I guess a few of them can come in handy, especially if you aren't on a budget, I would suggest avoiding them to keep things simple.
I signed up for a few extras (for individual songs) that charge yearly, and I found that I didn't want that yearly charge any longer, but canceling it would require me to have to delete that song from my library and reupload it, which is a pain and bad for the brand.
To wrap it up, Distrokid is definitely the go-to choice for indie musicians like me looking to get their tunes out there. The price point alone is enough to reel you in, with annual fees that won't break the bank.
And guess what? You keep a hundred percent of your hard-earned royalties! No greedy middlemen taking a slice from your already modest earnings.
With Distrokid, you'll have access to a vast network of over 150 outlets where your music can be streamed. They even go the extra mile by submitting your tracks to social channels like Instagram and TikTok. More exposure, more chances to go viral – what's not to love?
The cherry on top is their nifty feature that lets you split royalties with fellow creators. Collaborations are where the magic happens, and Distrokid ensures everyone gets their fair share.
Sure, there are a couple of downsides. They don't offer physical distribution like CD Baby, and their add-ons can be a tad annoying. But honestly, those are minor bumps in the road compared to the smooth ride Distrokid provides.
So, if you're an indie artist on a mission, Distrokid is your trusty sidekick. I recommend it. Get your music out there, stack up those royalties, and enjoy the laidback journey of sharing your tunes with the world.
Bonus: On top of their already affordable services, they offer a 7% discount for signups here!
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page. As an Amazon Associate, Yona Marie earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon and other affiliate products are recommended to genuinely help readers and keep this site up and running as well.