The world of digital distribution (in regards to music) can seem like a long walk through very murky waters for any independent musician. So, we’ve collected a pretty comprehensive list of music distribution companies and the stores they distribute to. If you were to ask: “What is the best music distribution company that will show me how to put music on itunes store?”, then our answer would be ADED.US Music Distribution at http://www.aded.us
Companies that offer placement services / Companies that can put your music onto the various digital music stores
ADED.US Music Distribution | f/k/a ADEDistribution | aded.us
ran by Mak Bird from Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
delivers to 1,000 digital stores and apps worldwide
They have a separate service where they will also turn your single, EP, mixtape, or album into a mobile app. Anyone on ANY type of smart mobile device can access, stream, purchase and download your music directly from the app. The apps are hosted on blogger/blogspot so they are share-friendly
They have 4 package deals:
- The Ultimate Package –– $100 a year
- Pick-and-Choose Monthly –– $5 a month
- Pick-and-Choose Annual –– $45 a year
- Pick-and-Choose Weekly –– $1.25 a week
They also do extra services for you like:
- Promoting your material on their InstaGram, FaceBook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest pages
- Submitting your music’s info to wikia (a wiki site)
- Verifying store front-end links
You may encounter the name of ADED.US used in several ways: added us music distribution, aded distribution, ade distribution, adedistribution, aded us music distribution
CDBaby | CD Baby | cdbaby.com ▶︎
Although CD Baby is considered to be one of the two largest music distribution companies in the world (TuneCore being the other), CD Baby is known to change prices constantly. This is annoying as well as confusing for members. In most instances, they will also keep 15% of your royalties ON TOP of the up-front fee they expect you to pay. This is referred to as “double dipping” and it is frowned upon.
TuneCore | Tune Core | tunecore.com ▶︎
Based on the number of members it has, TuneCore is considered to be one of the two largest music distribution companies in the world (CD Baby being the other). Much like CD Baby, they have changed pricing schemes dramatically. Also, the ousting of it’s founders Jeff Price and Peter Wells was a public nightmare for the company and has left many members wondering what’s going on. The company is currently controlled by venture capitalists, not music business people…
DittoMusic | Ditto Music | dittomusic.com ▶︎
Unfortunately, we cannot recommend that anyone join Ditto Music for the simple fact that the people who run Ditto Music –– and the people that work for them –– are known ‘trollers’ in the music distribution business. They will do things, like searching for videos and/or social networking pages of competitors and they will leave negative and/or taunt the other distributors. These actions make them look unprofessional.
VenzoDigital (f/k/a WaTunes) | Venzo Digital | venzodigital.com ▶︎
delivers to iTunes only
They claim to be FREE, but this is merely a play on words. They use the word FREE because they are not charging you an up front fee. However, they keep 20% of your royalties. Therefore, it isn’t actually free.
ran by Kevin Rivers from Michigan, U.S.A.
Venzo Digital has had problems with maintaining relevancy in the digital distribution world. They have switched names several times. They were originally called WaTunes and claimed to be headed by a fake ‘umbrella’ company called Xeinge
MondoTunes | Mondo Tunes | mondotunes.com
ran by Javan Mershad from Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.
This is one of those fly-by-night companies that uses big numbers to sucker you in. They boast about being able to distribute your music to 750 stores. This may be technically accurate but not what YOU’RE thinking. Those are 750 stores… not BRANDS… iTunes accounts for at least 111+ of those “750 stores” because iTunes is available in at least 111 countries and each country is considered a different store. So, in reality, MondoTunes is a small outfit that doesn’t distribute to as many brands as they claim. Enticing would-be applicants to your service through misleading text is a bad way to start off.
BandCamp | Band Camp | BandCamp.com
ran by Ethan Diamond from San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
DIY and they keep 10%
The way BandCamp collects their 10% is tricky. They don’t take 10% out of every sale. They give you 100% of 9 out of 10 sales you make, then they take 100% of your 10th sale.
songs purchased on BandCamp are not available to download directly to an Apple smart device
controlled by venture capitalist Tony Conrad of True Ventures
RecordUnion | Record Union | recordunion.com
ran by Daniel Nilsson from Stockholm, Sweden
prices vary depending on the number of stores you want to distribute to
they keep 7.5 – 15% of your royalties
Beatport | Beat Port | beatport.com
They offer their own distribution but it’s really expensive. Especially compared to ADED.US Music Distribution. Plus, the songs that are available on their store are usually higher priced than the songs that are available on iTunes. The website is centered around the EDM/IDM community
BeatPort is an active community of EDM Producers, DJs, and music buyers. Their site operates much like ReverbNation and BandCamp in the sense that you can buy and sell music all in the same community space, but they are lacking the artist apps of ADED.US Music Distribution
CreateSpace | Create Space | createspace.com
Update: CreateSpace recently announced that they will no longer be allowing independent artists to submit their music to be placed on the Amazon store through CreateSpace (9-9-2014)
DIY, distributes to Amazon only
Artists using CreateSpace only collect a maximum of $0.65 per song sold regardless of what price Amazon sells it for. This pales in comparison to iTunes, which offers at least 70% of the sale price.
Artists may feel limited in their options to upload their music, as CreateSpace only accepts AIFF and MP3 (320kbps CBR) quality files (in a zip file)
FUGA | F.U.G.A. | fuga.me
extremely expensive and complicated compared to other services
ran by Martin Tjho from Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you are an independent artist and you want to distribute your music to Spotify, then chances are the people that work for Spotify are going to tell you to sign up with FUGA (or CI) –– our advice is DON’T DO IT
BoeP / boep.nl
- Based out of The Netherlands
- They require you to sign contracts through e-mail
- They require you to upload your files to them through FTP. While nerds like me understand how to do this, the general musician will not know how to do this
- This company is somehow connected to another company called Target Media, not to be confused with the Target stores in America.
Sugo Music Group | sugomusic.com
- Says it’s a division of SoundLink
- They do not have transparent pricing for any of their services. They require you to e-mail them for pricing. This is usually a shady business practice because, after you e-mail them, that’s when they decide to drop those high price tag bombs on you.
- Located in Half Moon Bay, California, U.S.A.
- WhoIs says their domain is registered by Granada Studios in El Granada, California, U.S.A.
Symphonic Distribution | symphonicdistribution.com
Artist Pricing (as of 9-24-2014):
- 01-05 track project = $25 (one time sign up fee) + $10.99 = $35.99
- 06-10 track project = $25 (one time sign up fee) + $19.99 = $44.99
- 11-15 track project = $25 (one time sign up fee) + $29.99 = $54.99
- 16-20 track project = $25 (one time sign up fee) + $39.99 = $64.99
Label Pricing (as of 9-24-2014) –– in order for you to collect 100% of your royalties (as a label) you have to pay them $500 up front.
Based out of Wesley Chapel, FL
ran by Jorge Brea, Jeannette Brea (Jorge’s wife), and Julio Brea (Jorge’s brother)
We saw a review from a former employee saying that they aren’t good to their employees.
They like to use word play and math trickery to make their prices seem lower than their competitors in comparison. However, Symphonic Distribution is (by far) one of the most expensive distribution services to use and, therefore, we can not recommend them.
Spinnup | Spin Up | spinnup.com ▶︎
Spinnup claims to be associated with (or ran by) Universal Music. They are pretty new in the space of ‘independent’ music distribution. However, the real question an independent artist should be asking themselves, when dealing with a company as ‘large’ as Universal, is… “Do I, as an independent musician, really want my music controlled by a major label who wouldn’t sign me in the first place?”
Art Empire Industries
AWAL a/k/a Artists Without A Label
Arvato Digital Services
Black Market (Soho)
Broad Street Digital
a/k/a CI or C.I. | consolidatedindependent | ci-support.com
extremely high priced and complicated
If you are an independent artist and you want to distribute your music to Spotify, then chances are the people that work for Spotify are going to tell you to sign up with CI (or FUGA) –– our advice is DON’T DO IT
Dancetracks – Datz.com – Digital Music Group Inc. – Digstation.com – DJDownload – DoubleTwist – Dropcards – DX3
The Echo Nest | EchoNest | echonest.com
software development company only
Key Example: There is a Spotify app called Swarm.fm that pulls info about artists and their music from The Echo Nest and Last.fm
they basically help music apps recognize artists and their music
ran by several people
The Echo Nest was founded by MIT PhDs Brian Whitman and Tristan Jehan
The company is headquartered in Somerville, MA with offices in San Francisco, New York and London.
EMI –– a publishing company that monitors radio stations, network television, and movies to see if music (from artists that use their service) is being used. They collect royalties on your behalf.
Free Music Archive (FMA) | FreeMusicArchive | freemusicarchive.org
a site that showcases music offered in public domain, with or without creative commons licenses attached, sort of like a public library for downloading free music
The Fresh Page
The GenePool Distribution| Gene Pool | thegenepool.co.uk
They keep 80-90% of your royalties
Based out of Plymouth, U.K.
Gracenote | Grace Note | gracenote.com
a site/service that catalogs music information, which many music apps pull their data from. Associated with CDDB ( compact disc data base)
Hard To Find – HDtracks – IMD Fastrax – iMesh – INgrooves | Interoute | Into Music – IODA | Iris Distribution | ISA – Music
I Think Music | Javien | Juno
Kerascene | K-Tel Digital Distribution | Kudos Digital
Lime Wire | LimeWire Store (US) | Lost Tunes
Mashboxx | Masterbeat | Mbop
Mixmag Download | MJM | MOS Download
MTraks | Mubito | Musana (Beta)
Music Giants | Music Glue | Music Makes Friends
MusicNet | Musicslu | MusicStation Next Generation
Musiwave | Muziic
MyMusicSite | My Music Site | mymusicsite.com
$7.99 single / $19.99 album
very basic layout, not very informative, not many stores
MyMusicStream | My Music Stream | mymusicstream.com
$5 – $10 a month
DIY, build and sell music from your page
I don’t see how this differs from bandcamp, besides the fact that it’s more complicated and costs more. Artists wanting an official artist page/app would be better off just going through ADED.US Music Distribution or BandCamp as it is cheaper and less complicated.
ran by Andrew Drake from Sydney, Australia. Servers possibly located in London, U.K.
My Song Store | NDN | NetMusicPromotions
Neurotic Media | NeuroticMedia | neuroticmedia.com
Their website is very convoluted. They like to use big words but are very vague on the exact pricing details. They don’t outline (in a list) what stores they distribute to. They ‘appear’ to be more of an artist representation service than an actual distribution company
ran by Shachar Oren from Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Nimbit | nimbit.com
DIY, pricing starts at $9.95 a month
NoiseTrade | Noise Trade | NoiseTrade.com ▶︎
NoiseTrade is sort of like BandCamp. They have a clean interface that translates somewhat nicely to mobile. They allow you to sell music and books. They don’t have nearly as many members as most services because they seem to take in people on a case-by-case basis.
NoiseTrade Music helps artists & labels meaningfully connect with fans through the exchange of free music for email addresses & postal codes.
– Nova – The Orchard – Passalong Networks – Passionato – PayPlay.FM
People’s Music Store
Puretracks –– this is a site dedicated to selling EDM music
ReverbNation | Reverb Nation | reverbnation.com
ran by Mike Doernberg from Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.
controlled by venture capitalists (not music business people)
charges $19.95 a month – $41.67 a month for distribution (extremely high priced compared to others)
only allows 2 projects to be released per year at those prices.
over the course of a year, you will pay at least $239.40 to distribute 2 albums
SNOCAP (think MySpace… dead)
SongCast (a/k/a SongCastMusic) | Song Cast Music | songcastmusic.com
$6 a month for membership + $20 for each project you want to distribute
ran by Michael “Mike” Wright from Akron, Ohio, U.S.A.
If you were to distribute 12 albums using SongCast, it would cost you ~$312 over the course of a year.
If you were to distribute 12 albums with ADED.US Music Distribution, it would cost you $100 over the course of a year
Sony DADC | sonydadc.com
they mainly create discs (CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays) and distribute them
doesn’t seem to be for independent artists
prices are quoted not public
Soul Jazz Records | Stompy | StreamUK
Tesco | Tema Digital Media | Topspin Media
Trackitdown | Trackseller | Traxsource
Trendrr (acquired by Twitter) | trendrr.tv
analyzes the demographics of a product or brand
Tune Tuzer (defunct)
it was a site that catalogued info about the bitrates and pricing variations of different music stores
Wild Palms Music (defunct) | wildpalmsmusic.fr
possibly defunct, now it’s just a blog
based out of France (French)
A-La-Carte Music Stores / Pay-Per-Download
iTunes – 4/5 stars
BandCamp | Band Camp | bandcamp.com
musicians set the price
Rhapsody (US Only), a division of Yahoo and MTV
available in several countries whereas each country has their own store (like iTunes)
XBox Music (f/k/a Zune), a division of Microsoft – 3/5 stars
Streaming Music Stores/Apps
GrooveShark | Groove Shark | grooveshark.com – 2/5 stars
- they’ve had issues with lawsuits being filed against them for copyright infringement
Nokia MixRadio | f/k/a Nokia Music | http://www.mixrad.io/us/en/ – 1/5 stars
- If you were to buy a Nokia smart phone with a Windows 8 mobile OS, chances are it would come Nokia Music pre-installed. However, the way the app operates isn’t very user friendly.
Pandora | Pandora Radio – 2/5 stars
- controlled by venture capitalists
- they’ve had problems in the past not paying out artists’ royalties
- a lot of distributors will not distribute their catalog to Pandora due to their complicated ingestion process and the problems they’ve had paying out royalties
Rdio | rdio.com – 3/5 stars
- they do not offer nearly as much freedom over the music you’re listening to as Spotify does
Slacker Radio | Slacker Music Service | slacker.com – 4/5 stars
Spotify | spotify.com – 4/5 stars
- controlled by venture capitalists and major record labels
- offers the most freedom over what you listen to
iTunes Radio – 3/5 stars
We7 (defunct) | now known as Blink Box Music | blinkboxmusic.com