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So, you’ve laid down some awesome tracks and they sound great. What’s next?
You’re going to need a music distribution business to get your tunes out to your potential audience.
Unfortunately, when you start looking at Apple Music and other streaming services, you quickly find out that you need quite a bit of money to put your music on each digital music distribution platform.
The good news is that you can use one of these free music distribution companies and get your songs on those platforms without paying a fortune to do so.
All of these services either have tiny upfront costs or no upfront costs at all. However, that doesn’t mean your music distribution is 100% free and many of those services that don’t take upfront fees expect to take a commission if their music distribution services lead to your songs being heard.
It’s going to cost between $1 and $3 a month to use Landr to get your music on Apple Music and other streaming services. That’s not 100% free but it’s pretty cheap and their collaboration tools are the best in the music industry.
One of the nice things about reaching streaming platforms with Landr is that, unlike some other distribution platforms, they’re not going to take a large commission from the revenue you generate. Assuming, you pay $3 a month, they’ll take nothing, in fact.
Check out Landr here.
If you want a music distribution company that allows you to upload music and get it streamed – then RouteNote beats most other digital distribution companies and many say it’s the best music distribution company of all.
However, they expect a fairly hefty 15% cut if they distribute music for you for free and it starts to make a profit.
You can opt to pay them an upfront fee to be your music distributor and then a monthly subscription charge if you want to avoid this commission.
This music distribution site has more partnerships than most other services in the music distribution game too. The only downside is they can’t help with sync licensing or publishing, for now, though they’ve indicated these services are coming soon.
Check out RouteNote here.
If you want fully online digital distribution then you can’t go wrong with Amuse but it’s important to note – they have no desktop client which isn’t to everyone’s tastes.
It’s easy to start releasing music through these digital music distributors and if you are at all successful they will then spend money to promote you on the platforms they support (including YouTube music).
However, though they’re one of the best free music aggregators, we should note that they expect independent artists to give them half their revenue!
Check out Amuse here.
No fees, no commission is what sets Fresh tunes apart from other major streaming platforms. However, we should note that this means that you as the music artist will be responsible for promoting your own music.
Now, this can be no big deal if you already have a decent audience ready to seek you out in online stores and on major streaming services but if you don’t?
It can mean that nobody ever hears a bar that you have to play.
And though they have a proven track record for delivering their services at absolutely no cost to you – they have a very small number of distribution partners to work with (just 14).
Check out Fresh Tunes here.
AWAL is more than a simple distribution service, they act as a real record label for you, and that means, they won’t allow you to release music without you passing through their vetting service first.
Your band name, artwork, sound, design, and social media presence will all be aspects that you’re judged on before you can be approved. (This is how the music business works in the real world, right?).
However, if you are picked then you know that know they’ve assessed all the aspects of your work as an independent artist, that you’re a real pro and not just somebody dumping material on streaming sites because they have some unlimited distribution agreement.
They charge a reasonable commission on the success of 15% and they may be the best distribution service if you have what it takes to stand out among established artists and emerging artists alike.
Check out AWAL (Artists Without A Label) here.
Soundrop is a decent service with a completely free plan to get you started (though they will take 15% of your earnings in the longer term).
However, our concern is that they have very few marketing tools and while they can get you into different online stores, they don’t have a massive distribution chain when compared to the major platforms in this arena.
Having said that, they’re pretty new to the game and we expect them to grow their offering in the future if that happens? They might be one of the places to keep an eye on if you want to showcase your developing talent without laying out a fortune to do so.
Check out Soundrop here.
This is a simple service that is relatively new to the market, they take a 15% commission but unlike some other free services, they do work for it.
They offer a strong range of marketing services to promote your work (if you’re accepted when you apply to work with them) and that can be what it takes to attract the attention of the major labels and get a real record deal.
There’s no yearly fee or other upfront costs, either, which means that you’re not risking anything by working with them.
Check out Symphonic here.
There’s no reason at all that if you make music, you can’t get that music online and even earn a little bit of money for your hard work.
If you’re just starting out, it’s best to use one of the services above to act as a distributor rather than try and spend all the money it takes (and jump through all the hoops) to get your music listed by Apple, Spotify, Amazon music unlimited, etc.