Sunday, January 3, 2016

My first experience with DistroKid, music distribution.

I have used a few different distributors (Symphonic Distribution, CDBaby and Tunecore) for my own original music over the last few years, trying to figure out the best one for me, the pros and cons. I recently came across DistroKid and decided to open up an account and explore some of their features.

The front page of DistroKid is fresh, simple, gives you some info and demands email sign-up to start your distribution. Straight to the point, no messing around.

First of all, DistroKid lists ten big name retail outlets, which is comparable to what offers, minus Pandora submissions and direct-to-fan sales. DistroKid mentions that they will assist you with cover song licensing and distribution as well, but there aren't a lot of details on the front page. boasts a very detailed cover song licensing and distribution plan, but more on that in my upcoming review.

On the surface, it seems like cdbaby (30+), Tunecore (40+), Mondo Tunes (100+), Reverb Nation (30+) and Symphonic Distribution (300+) offer a lot more retail stores. It seems that DistroKid is more focused on dealing with the main distributors and not as many of the smaller companies. I don't mind that philosophy, but not having “Shazam” on the list is a shocker. Shazam is a useful tool that has helped me out. Sometimes people hear a song and just want to identify it quickly with the Shazam app, but if you're dealing with DistroKid or, you are out of luck. (This blog post is from January 2016, so if this changes, I will update this post.)

The following chart is a brief comparison between DistroKid and


Amazon Yes Yes
Apple Music Yes No
Beats Music Yes No
Deezer Yes Yes
Direct to Fans No Yes
Google Play Yes Yes
itunes Yes Yes
Pandora No Yes
Rdio Yes Yes
Spotify Yes Yes
Tidal Yes No
YouTube Music Yes No
MediaNet (150+ stores) Yes No

Annual Fee? $19.99 $0.00
Distributor Commission 0.00% 15.00%

DistroKid claims to get your music onto the popular sites 10-20 times faster than others, I guess that's a good selling point, but every company I have dealt with so far is pretty fast.

In order to find out more details about DistroKid's offerings, I went ahead and registered my email address with their site and created a login.

Once I signed in, I was introduced to the three different flavors of DistroKid services. The single artist option ($19.99 per year for one artist.) The Musician Plus option ($35.99 per year for two artists) and the Record Label Option ($79.99 per year for 5+ artists). All of these options are great, depending on what your business model is.

Here is my first impression as of January 2016:

  • DistroKid covers most of the major places you want your music to be found. (with the exception of Shazam and Pandora)
  • DistroKid is affordable. $19.99 for unlimited distribution per year of unlimited tracks is an awesome price for the active musician with a large catalog.
  • DistroKid offers package deals if you would like to distribute more than one artist, then there are discounts. Very cool.
  • When and if DistroKid ever adds Shazam, then they will be a better value in my eyes.
  • Not all tracks make it onto Pandora that are submitted, but there are many other distributors that offer this submission service in 2016 (Symphonic Distribution, Mondo Tunes,
  • DistroKid covers all of the popular, general distributors, but if you produce Electronic Dance Music you are missing out on some big time sites like Beatport, and others. This may not be a negative if you do not produce EDM.
  • Although it's an inexpensive subscription, some artists may just want to pay a one-time fee and upload their album. For the light hobbyist, producing and marketing more than an album a year is ambitious. Eventually subscriptions could eat up all of your royalties if you produce very little music. Symphonic, Loudr, Cdbaby and others may be better alternatives.
  • As far as I can tell, DistroKid does not offer Publishing Administration services and are not partnering with any companies that offer this service. You can lose a lot of royalties for streaming and downloads without a Publishing Administrator. I will blog about that topic soon.


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  2. DistroKid actually has Shazam, and it's a $1 up-charge on each of your submissions. You only see this on the submission page.

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  5. Recording Artists are Robed by the Labels and when the Artist starts on His own Label they are told Sorry you need a DISTRIBUTOR DUDE. So we continue on looking for a Honest Business Relationship for our Music? ??--- Who do we Trust ?----- I am Vice President of a Small Label and Vice President of a On line Web Site that gets Thousands of hits a Month from all over the World
    And all our Music is up on our site for sale with PayPal as the Money Handling source and yet People still worry about the credit card info is not safe with PayPal from our site. Yet we have been in business since the beginning of time
    That is Internet time. So I am still amazed with the way the So called Honest recording company still keep it just about them make who they want destroy who is a threat and Make sure they end up on the Grammy Stage Laughing and Heading to the Bank.
    Its Battle for all of us Recording Artists and those who are on the way in
    You are Unique Musicians with Your Music you Hear and bring to our Ears
    And same with my Musical Friend.
    Be smart and Listen not Texing use your ears forget the Texing.texing is not Music.

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  7. Well people I signed up with DistroKid and sold not one song when I sold a lot with CD Baby. I just wanted to try another company that's cheaper and more profit. I think DistroKid is a really bad one to choose not enough features and stores. I just cant believe not one sale with these guys after having my music up for 6 months.........unreal.

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