December 7

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Best Distrokid Alternatives: When “Cheap” Distribution is Not Enough

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Distrokid is an autonomous digital music distribution platform that primarily enables musicians to upload, apportion and sell or stream their music through online music stores like Amazon, Tidal, Spotify, iTunes, Google Play Music, Apple Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio and many others.

Distrokid is a great platform that released a track that topped iTunes charts globally in July 2015. Artists who have had the chance to use it can attest that Distrokid is a great platform.

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So what makes Distrokid hard to replace?

There are several reasons why musicians are finding it increasingly hard to replace Distrokid. Some of the main reasons include:

  • Distrokid prices are pocket-friendly and favor even the small artists.
  • Offers a cloud-based backup for your music.
  • Has super-fast uploading and speedy responses
  • Enables YouTube monetization allowing you to earn extra money from your music.
  • Has updated to the payment splitting feature.
  • It allows artists to master their audios and add lyrics whenever they wish to.

All these Distrokid advantages are great. However, besides them, Distrokid also bears several downsides that sometimes push artists to look for other alternatives. These disadvantages include:

Cons

  • Most services offered by Distrokid bear a recurring annual fee instead of a one-time fee.
  • Distrokid has several hidden charges that you come to know of when interacting with their site.
  • The platform consistently pushes you to upgrade to other expensive plans.

These are some of the major reasons why artists opt to find other alternatives to Distrokid. Luckily, there are other platforms that offer great music distribution services as well. They include iMusician, Routenote, and Tunecore. Let’s take a look at each of them to determine what they have to offer.

iMusician

imusician

iMusician is an online music distribution platform favoring independent labels, bands, and solo artists alike. It works in partnership with most popular online music stores like iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon. It offers services like YouTube Monetization, CD and Vinyl press, mastering and synchronization, cover songs, just to mention a few.

On a competitive analysis basis, iMusician has performed better than Distrokid in terms of revenue. iMusician has generated $1.1M while Distrokid has generated $440K less in revenue terms. This company is located in Zurich, Zurich and was co-founded by Shigs Amemiya who interestingly is the acting CEO.

Pricing and plans

Joining iMusician is absolutely free. However, there are subscriptions which you will be required to pay for. These subscriptions will determine the number of online stores you will have and are divided into four plans. The first plan is called the starter, billing at $2 and presents you with just one store. Other plans include regular billing at $5, the Rockstar plan billing at $20 and finally the pro unlimited plan billing at $299. With these three plans, you get 250+ stores.

Comparison with Distrokid

Comparing Distrokid and iMusician on prices basis, there’s quite a difference. For the YouTube monetization service, Distrokid charges $4.95 for a single and $14.95 for an album annually while iMusician charges $0.95 per release. The cheapest plan for iMusician bills at $2 while that of Distrokid goes at $19.99 annually. The difference is quite significant.

Pros

  • The regular, Rockstar and Pro Unlimited plans give you access to more than 250 stores enabling you to amass a large fanbase worldwide.
  • New members register and create an account for free.
  • The platform offers an easy pay per release package for dilettante artists.
  • Offers the pay-once fee option avoiding the annually renewing fee. Once you fulfill the pay-once fee, your music gets to stay in music stores forever sorting you out even at times when you don’t have the money to pay any fee.
  • Timely responses via email within 24 hours
  • You get to earn through YouTube through monetization of your music.
  • Partners with 100 vinyl which helps in the distribution and sale of physical copies of your music. This enables you to gain discounts from Vinyl pressing and physical CDs.
  • Updates you on a daily basis on how your music is performing. This is done through a detailed analysis to help you maneuver and establish yourself in the music market.
  • You get paid every penny that your music earns regardless of the amount. You are also allowed to make monthly withdrawals via PayPal or bank transfer.
  • Flexible in terms of language and is equipped with an international team providing you fast support in English via email.

Cons

  • Charges a commission of 30% on the net revenue.
  • The starter plan which is the cheapest and most affordable one only gives you access to one store forcing you to upgrade to more expensive plans.
  • YouTube Content ID which enables the tracking down of your music played on other YouTube videos costs $0.5.
  • iMusician charges you for every music track that you upload.
  • Bears extra charges- if you wish your music distributed faster or the commission on royalties reduced, you have to pay an additional cost.
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Routenote

routenote

This is a global digital music distribution platform that allows artists and other music rights holders to upload their composites and oversee the distribution of their content.

What makes Routenote stand out from other established companies is the fact that it has ventured into the untapped Asian market.

Pricing and plans

It offers two plans; a free plan and a premium plan. If you have the free plan and start earning from your music under this plan, routenote takes only 15% commission of your revenue.

The premium plan, however, bears some charges depending on the number of tracks you upload. A single track bills at $10, 2-6 tracks bill at $20, an album going bills at $30 and an extended album bills at $45.

There is also an additional $9.99 fee paid annually. However, having subscribed the premium plan, you receive exact full payment from any of your music sales. With the premium subscription, Routenote takes a 15% commission from the total earnings made from your sales.

Comparison with Distrokid

For the YouTube monetization service, Distrokid charges $4.95 for a single and $14.95 for an album annually while for routenote, earnings made from this service or Soundcloud monetization are not commissioned. You can directly withdraw them to your bank account.

When you compare prices between the two, routenote is a bit cheaper. It charges nothing for the free plan and $50 for the premium plan for the entire distribution of 5 singles by 1 artist. Distrokid, on the other hand, charges a cost of $89.45

Pros

  • Flexibility of switching between the available pricing plans whenever you want to.
  • The platform gives you well-detailed reports and analytics, giving insight on the performance of your tracks monthly.
  • The premium plan is advantageous because your tracks get uploaded in a lossless format suitable for high-quality streaming platforms.
  • Routenote has no hidden or additional costs.
  • Services like taking down your music from stores are absolutely free.
  • Vast distribution through more than 200 stores and outlets.
  • Enables you to set a release date for your upcoming music and choose which platform you want it released. This is at no extra charge.
  • Offers YouTube Content ID service. This enables tracking down of your music whenever it’s used on other videos. It also gives you the monetization option or sends a takedown request.
  • Flexibility of easily changing your payment method whenever you feel the need to.

Cons

  • Routenote awards itself a 15% commission of the revenue obtained from monetization. If you wish to receive 100% of the earnings, you have to pay an additional cost of $9.99.
  • Delays the paying process forcing you to wait 45 days to receive your earnings.
  • Offers only one channel to get you paid, PayPal. You get paid only after you earn a minimum of $50.
  • Quite unreliable support team
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Tunecore

tunecore

This is a music distribution platform that aims to bridge the gap between music audiences and artists by enabling either a solo artist or a band to upload their music to access the online community.

What makes Tunecore stand out is its solid establishment and the tremendous level of professionalism exhibited for over two decades.

Pricing and plans

Prices are determined by the type of release you wish to distribute. An album bills at $29.99 in the first year and $49.99 each subsequent year. A single goes at $9.99 annually and a ringtone bills at $19.99 per year.
To enjoy Tunecore services past two years, you will be required to pay $49.99. It is inclusive of a unique plan called the Social Pro plan that bills at $10.99 per month and $118.99 annually. Tunecore enables you to keep 100% of your revenue.

Comparison with Distrokid

On the fanbase issue, Tunecore avails your music in twice the number of stores than Distrokid. For the YouTube monetization service, Tunecore charges $10 one-time fee which is way cheaper compared to Distrokid $4.95 per release. Tunecore offers music publishing administration service ($75) which is not offered by Distrokid.

Pros

  • You earn 100% of your sales and does not impart any commission on either your album or singles.
  • Has global reach availing your music to hundreds of digital music stores.
  • Supportive and reliable customer care service.
  • For common services like YouTube and publishing, Tunecore incurs a one-time fee which is much better than a recurring fee.
  • Serves as a conduit exposing your music to more than 200 online music outlets growing a fanbase for you.
  • Exposure to a wide array of social media tools – oversees your interactions via social media platforms aiming to grow and maintain your relevance in the music industry.
  • Provides a music analysis compilation to help you keep track of your music and how it is trending in the industry.
  • Artist payout is guaranteed anytime you wish to request to withdraw your earnings through either PayPal, EFT or check.
  • Allows you to make modifications on previously uploaded tracks without re-uploading.
  • Since its prices are a bit higher, they have put thought into that and introduced pre-purchase distribution credits to reduce the spending of uncalled for amounts of money.

Cons

  • Requires you to pay a subscription fee which often is much higher compared to its competitors.
  • Tunecore awards itself a 20% commission of the revenue earned from YouTube monetization.
  • Failure to pay the required annual fees sees your music scrapped off from the Tunecore site.
  • Requires you to pay annual recurring fees.
  • Opting into the sync licensing feature sees you get charged a 20%commission.
  • Despite charging a $10 one-time fee for the YouTube monetization service, they also cut a 20% on YouTube commissions.
  • Devoid of Sound Exchange.
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Verdict

Distrokid is an incredible music distribution platform. That is why they have grown to become as big as they are in this industry.

However, as you can see, there are several up and comers and alternatives that are giving Distrokid a run for their money. This is mainly because they come packed full of features that Distrokid does not have all while having a cheaper price tag at the same time.

So if you have been looking for a great alternative to Distrokid, this list will definitely help you out!

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