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3 Best Music Distribution Services for Independent Artists in 2024

Updated: Jan 3

Analyzing the best distributor for your budget. How to get your music on Spotify, Apple Music, and many more services!


Nowadays, artists have more freedom than ever before when it comes to releasing their music. Music streaming platforms like Soundcloud and YouTube are great for beginning your path as an artist, as you can easily upload music and monitor your plays and analytics.


However, the next step in an artist's journey is to harness the power of an online distributor, which can publish your songs on nearly every popular audio streaming service. The best part of sharing your songs online with the masses, now you can start earning some royalties for your great music.


Digital music distribution companies are essentially middle-men between artists and music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon Music, and many more.


But how can you be sure you are getting the best deal for your dollar? Sometimes, with so many distributors to choose from, the process of selecting one can be overwhelming or frightening for newer musicians. No need to fear, in this article, we will break down the best music distributor services for independent artists, and allow you to focus on what you do best... music.


(Plus, we include exclusive discounts for some mentioned services as well!)


Distrokid


Summary:

Subscription-based model of $19.99/year for 1 band/artist. Publish an unlimited number of singles & albums. Reaches over 150 streaming services and stores.


https://distrokid.com/vip/seven/1039930 (Exclusive 7% off for our readers)


Pros:

  • Extremely popular and widely-used

  • Keep 100% of earnings

  • Constantly adding new streaming service platforms (free)

  • Submit lyrics for songs for karaoke-like real-time lyrics on services like Spotify (free)

  • Simple and easy-to-follow layout for releasing music

  • Hyperfollow feature

  • Insanely fast distribution speed


Cons:

  • Help/Support team is lacking


Rating:

9.5/10


Conclusion:

Look no further, Distrokid has it all. In nearly every aspect of doing business, Distrokid is the premier distribution platform on the market. With such a large active user base, it has earned the reputation for being reliable while maintaining its cheap yearly subscription fee. Additionally, enjoy saving 7% on your membership by using our referral link below.



United Masters


Summary:

A record-label in your phone. Allows newer artists to upload their music and access relevant data and analytics regarding their releases all from their phone, even for free.


Pros:

  • Free-to-use distributing option is great for brand-new artists

  • Robust mobile application

  • Incredible partnerships and opportunities

    • 2K Games, NBA, NFL, MLB, Apple Music, Tik Tok, iHeartRadio, BOSE, & more!

  • Free artist websites

  • Masterlinks


Cons:

  • Lacking customer support

  • Over 50,000 artists makes it unlikely to benefit from the listed partnerships & brand-supported marketing efforts with so much competition

  • Right of First Refusal

  • Poor online reviews

    • Looks good on paper, but as of January 14th 2021 the average rating on trustpilot.com is 1.6 stars, with 88% of the reviews being ⅕ stars. Check here for an updated count of reviews: www.trustpilot.com/review/unitedmasters.com


Rating:

8.0/10


Conclusion:

On paper, this company sounds perfect. The partnerships possessed with big name companies are undoubtedly impressive. However, when analyzing more closely it is not as perfect as it seems. The opportunity to make a big apple music playlists or receive placement in the NBA 2k video game are unrealistic. Don’t get your hopes up too much. Also, the reviews from artists that use the platform are extremely alarming. Great for first time musicians who want to put their music out for free to test the waters, and don’t care about losing a cut of their royalties. For more established musicians finally attempting to release their catalog, United Masters is probably not the ideal platform.



Tunecore


Summary:

In 2006, Tunecore partnered with digital stores to allow any musician to sell their songs worldwide. Today, TuneCore is the self-labeled leading digital music aggregator.


Pros:


Cons:

  • Pay every year to keep your tracks on streaming platforms (~$10 for a single, ~$50 for an album after the first year)

  • No real Marketing tools to help artists


Rating:

7.5/10


Conclusion:

Tunecore was one of the first ways independent artists could share their music with the world. However, they have failed to adapt with the modern subscription service model and still require hefty payments just to retain songs on Spotify and other platforms every year. In terms of reliability, TuneCore is rock solid. However, the cost doesn’t seem to bring about a worthwhile benefit for their services.


Artist Republik (bonus mention!)


Summary:

This newer platform is the cheapest subscription-based distributor on the market, and was just acquired by Fanpass. However, there are some glaring issues with the platform.


Pros:

  • Cheapest subscription-based model on the market, also have cheap release prices for singles and albums ($5/single)

  • Offers a variety of additional features (which unfortunately are not included with the distribution subscription as they cost extra)


Cons:

  • Relatively new, plenty of interface issues and bugs on website, overall clunky design

  • Poor ROI and engagement on Marketing Tools Included

  • Playlisting services that are against Spotify's TOS and seem highly risky

  • No-warning immediate suspensions if you “get caught” using their tools to “boost streams”

    • Note: It's quite funny they essentially can delete your account without warning if an artist simply utilizes some of their tools. A policy like this is worrying and shows how dangerously out-of-touch a brand like this is. Essentially they are trying to remove any negative repercussions from themselves, and instead placing that liability onto the artists that use their platform. Always read the fine print!


Rating:

5.5/10


Conclusion:

Artist Republik made this article because of its price… if you are looking for the cheapest price-point, look no further. However, there are an alarming amount of problems and concerns with the platform as a whole, as much improvement and remodeling is needed before AR can become a serious competitor in the space. Hopefully, with their acquisition they can straighten out their ways, as there is definitely potential in their platform.


Final Conclusion


We suggest a subscription-based model that allows for unlimited uploads. This allows for true creative freedom from the perspective of an artist without having to worry about paying extra. This type of setup is more often than not preferential for artists just getting started.


Final Rankings


9.5/10 Distrokid (7% off here: https://distrokid.com/vip/seven/1039930)

8.0/10 United Masters (https://unitedmasters.com/)

7.5/10 Tunecore (https://www.tunecore.com/)

5.5/10 Artist Republik (https://artistrepublik.com/)


Note, there are plenty of other distributors, we just chose to break down a few of the very best platforms independent artists can use to get their tracks on major streaming platforms. Posting your music is the first step towards notoriety, but to learn more about how to land a record deal as an independent artist, click here.


Feel free to recommend other distributor platforms below to review in the comments, and our team will analyze the suggestions. However, these websites each have their own unique characteristics and strengths that can fit your aspirations when beginning to release music.

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