Digital Distribution


Do you need digital distribution and how do you get it?

Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube Music

Digital streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and the rest, have been getting a lot of pushback from artists over the years. They only pay fractions of a penny per stream, so why should you bother putting your music up for streaming? Nobody can make a living off streaming services, right?

(Actually some people can. Check out our podcast interview with hip-hop artist Enkay47 on how he was able to quit his day job thanks to digital distribution.)

While these arguments have some truth to them, another way of looking at it, is as free marketing. Well, almost free... More on that later.

CDs, vinyl, merch and touring is still the bread and butter for independent artists. But just as you play your music in clubs and venues, where potential new fans are, rather than alone in your living room, you put your music on streaming services because that is where potential new fans might find you. And once they find you and like you, they might be inclined to check out your artist bio, see in the touring section of the streaming service that you'll be playing a show in their town soon, buy a ticket, come to your show, be overwhelmed by your awesome performance and buy your CDs and merch.

Amazon Music, iTunes, Tidal, Google Play

But how do you set up digital distribution you might ask?  Fret not, we've got you covered. Below is a comparison of three popular digital distribution companies, or if you just want to get right to it with the one we think is best, and save 7%, click this button:

YES, GET ME 7% OFF MY DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION!

 

Here at Atomic Disc we have used several digital distributors over the years, for our personal and our clients' releases. All have pros and cons, however all in all we think Distrokid is the most promising. They have a simple, affordable pricing structure. Their interface is not the prettiest, but simple to navigate and gets the job done with the least amount of hassle. We've made a simple comparison chart between the three better known digital distribution companies for your convenience.

 

    • CD Baby logo

      • PRICE:
        Single: $9.95, Album: $49
      • COMMISSION:
        9%
      • EASE OF USE:
        Time consuming
      • YOUTUBE MONETIZATION:
        Opt in
      • YOUTUBE UGC MONETIZATION:
        30%
      • PROVIDES ISRC CODES:
        Yes
      • OBTAINS MECHANICAL LICENSE FOR COVER SONGS:
        $14.99 + royalties
      • REVENUE REPORTS:
        Detailed
    • Distrokid logo

      ★★★

      • PRICE:
        Unlimited Songs: $19.99 - $35.99 / year
      • COMMISSION:
        0%
      • EASE OF USE:
        Quick and easy
      • YOUTUBE MONETIZATION:
        Opt in
      • YOUTUBE UGC MONETIZATION:
        Single: $4.95 / year
        2+ songs: $14.95 / year + 20%
      • PROVIDES ISRC CODES:
        Yes
      • OBTAINS MECHANICAL LICENSE FOR COVER SONGS:
        $1 / month
      • REVENUE REPORTS:
        Basic
    • Tunecore logo

      ★★

      • PRICE:
        Single: $9.99 / year
        2+ songs: $29.99 first year - $49.99 every following year
      • COMMISSION:
        0%
      • EASE OF USE:
        Average
      • YOUTUBE MONETIZATION:
        $10
      • YOUTUBE UGC MONETIZATION:
        20%
      • PROVIDES ISRC CODES:
        Yes
      • OBTAINS MECHANICAL LICENSE FOR COVER SONGS:
        >500 digital downloads: $59
        <500 digital downloads: $15 + royalties
      • REVENUE REPORTS:
        Detailed

For a much more elaborate and detailed comparison, check out Ari's Take.

Photo credits: Artist Name: Mike Xavier | Photographer: Gina Joy

Written by Silver Sorensen

2 comments

  • Silver Sorensen

    Hi John,
    You cannot distribute the same recording through two different distribution services. It would just be double up on iTunes, Spotify etc. But you can use DistroKid for any future releases.

  • John R Lamkin II

    Good morning, my name is John Lamkin and you guys manufactured my CD, “Transitions.” I’ve already distributed my CD through CDBaby, but I’m interested in knowing if I should also distribute through Distrokids. I read your distribution comparisons between Discokids, CDBaby, and Truecore, and according to your analysis, it seems that Distrokids is better than the other two. So my question is if I’ve already distributed my music through CDBaby, is it recommended that I distribute it through Distrokids as well? I just signed up for distribution through Distrokids, but before I continue the process, I need some clarification as to whether I should, at this point, distribute through Distrokids also, since I have already distributed my music through CDBaby. Thanks

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