Picking a digital distributor is a very important decision because it determines the availability of your music. Your distributor is responsible for negotiating your royalty rates, collecting your payments, and paying you. It matters a great deal that the job is done well. Knowing which distributor is best suited to do the job requires more than just looking at their offer. It requires knowing what to look for and which questions to ask.
- CD Baby Review
- Ditto Review
- Tunecore Review
- Distrokid Review
- ONErpm Review
- United Masters Review
- RouteNote Review
- Emubands Review
- Landr Review
- Guide to How to Pick a Digital Distributor
- List of Important Stores and the distributors that get you in
Download Format: PDF
- Pricing - Helps you understand the pricing of the distributor. This information can be straight forward but there are a few distributors where you're not sure what you're getting for the price. We sort it out.
- UPC & ISRC Codes - UPC codes & ISRC codes are important in the tracking of sales and identifying of your work online. Most provide them free, but not all.
- Accepted audio formats - Music fans pay a premium on services like Tidal Hi-Fi for Lossless audio. If a distributor accepts Mp3s and distributes to Tidal, they're misrepresenting your work.
- Speed of Distribution - How fast can they get your music in stores.
- Stores - This is the reason for digital distribution and a lot of distributors try to distract from it by offering subpar promo tools. You want a distributor that will put your music everywhere fans might look. We tell you the number of stores each distributor gets you into.
- How They Pay - This is important information that often slips through the cracks. The impact of transaction fees are rarely assessed. We'll tell you how a distributor's transaction fees impact their price.
- Handling Foreign Currencies - Your music is being sold all over the world in multiple currencies. Some distributors convert foreign currencies to USD, some don't. In either case, you could be forced to pay currency conversion fees on your end so it's important to know how this shakes out.
- Customer Service - How does each distributor allow you to contact them for support? Would you prefer a distributor with a phone number over one with simply an email address?
- Removal Policy - When it's over, wouldn't you like to just end it rather than have awkward conversations about why? Some distributors allow self removal, others force you to contact them and request removal. Requesting removal can be a drag.
- Can you make additions and changes? - The preference is to not have to remove a release and lose everything you've built with it just to make a minor change. Most distributors don't allow this but some do.
- Promotion - It's not necessary for your distributor to provide promotional support because that's not what you're paying them to do. It's great when it's an option because it can help increase your sales performance. I'd say it should be a requirement if they're taking a percentage of your sales. Find out which distributors provide promotion and not just promotional tools - there's a difference!
- Stats - You need access to as much information on your sales as possible, find out how much each distributor will tell you.
- Youtube - There are a lot of ways a distributor can add your music to Youtube: Content Id, Youtube Music, Youtube MCN. Find out how each distributor does it.
- Extras - Beyond distribution, each distributor has additional services that sometimes come included in their packages.
- Wrap up - Here we give an overview providing critical analysis of each distributor's offer and giving options we think would be better, provided there are any.
Last updated: 08/07/2019
- Number of stores - Added the number of stores each distributor gets you into.
- Important stores - Added a list of important stores and which distributors get you in.
- Comparisons in each wrap up - Added quick comparisons to other distributors and recommendations.
- CD Baby - New Extra service
- Distrokid Transaction fee changes
- Distrokid Stats upgrade
- Removed Symphonic - Now an exclusive platform
- Removed Reverbnation - Lack of user interest.
- Removed Release Pricing Model - Artists can't control the pricing, it's pretty standard now.