So, first a word about digital distribution and how it works.
You’ve recorded a song or a bunch of songs, and you have a digital file. Whether you burn it onto a CD and give it to your aunt or get it on iTunes for the world to discover, you are distributing your music.
Here’s the lowdown on the digital side of distribution.
You can distribute your digital files on your own web site, or on services like Soundcloud or bandcamp or Nimbit, and for those services you don’t need anything other than an account and the file.
But if you want your music to be available on the large services like Spotify or iTunes or Tidal or numerous others, you are going to have to work with someone who already works with those services. Someone called an aggregator.
This is called a digital music aggregator
Even if you could deal with all of those different streaming and selling services you wouldn’t want to. They all have different ways they want the track submitted, the album formatted, the music categorized…and anyway, they don’t want to deal with hundreds of thousands of acts, they want to deal with a handful of aggregators.
The aggregators basically make money in one of two ways. They either charge you a set fee or a percentage of the sales revenue.
Here is a very quick view of the top 8 aggregators. All of these companies can get you into the main services like iTunes, amazon, Spotify, Google Play…and some can get you into lots of other places.
It’s is impossible to do an apples to apples comparison because they all offer different approaches to the same thing. Also, this is only the initial charges, some of them have extra fees and charge you more for distribution in the second year of the contract.
There are links to the services to find out more. Also, you might want to read the excellent review of all the services by Digital Music News that is at the bottom of the page.
|Model||Pricing: Singles||Pricing: Albums||Pricing: Royalties|
|cdBaby||Flat fee + Royalties||$10||$50||9%|
|distrokid||Annual Flat Fee||$19.95 unlimited uploads|
|ditto||Flat fee plus extras||$9||$30|
|Loudr||Flat fee + Royalties||$10||15%|
|MondoTunes||Flat fee plus extras||$39.95 unlimited uploads|
|ReverbNation||Annual Fee plus options||$9.95||$19.95|
|Symphonic||$25 Flat fee + Per upload||$10.95/1-5 tracks -> $39.99/20+ tracks|
|TuneCore||Flat Fee + Annual Fee||$9.99||$29.99|