Creating music is truly an art that requires total involvement of the musician from its inception to the completion. It’s rightly said that music is a language of hearts.
Good music is generated from the heart of the composer and it directly appeals to the hearts of the listeners. The art is to create a score that not only enchants the established fan base but also brings in new fans through its appeal to the masses.
The music has to be easy and catchy to sell and stream in today’s internet dominant world as it’s nothing if it doesn’t get consumed.
The age of physical media is on the brink of extinction as far as music is concerned; it’s all about selling the music through streaming sites like Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, iHeartRadio or Tidal, as well as online download stores such as iTunes, Amazon and others. As the sale has turned online, the music is of no use if it’s not available for sale on these and similar platforms.
If you’re a budding artist, who doesn’t have enough funds to spare for upfront payments to the online stores or streaming sites, the task of distributing your music to public can seem almost impossible. However, it’s possible to start distributing your music to millions of people for sale and listening without having to empty your pockets.
Some of the most highly rated sites and stores that offer music distribution services at absolutely no cost, at least upfront are discussed in subsequent paragraphs with their pros and cons as well as a verdict. There are only a couple of sites that offer these services entirely free of cost.
However, there are others that have a fee but don’t charge anything upfront. These sites take a portion of the royalties that your music generates through streaming or downloading.
So, go ahead and take a pick from these sites to get the best distribution service for your music and give your talent the required push for reaching the next level.
When it comes to offering flexibility of plans, RouteNote is arguably the best site to stream your music on. It allows you to change your streaming plan at any point of time. This can be useful if you’re not sure about the kind of money that your music can make. You can just start with the free plan and then switch to the Premium plan after making some money. If you choose to have the zero upfront fee plan,
RouteNote cuts 15% of your royalties when your music starts generating money. However, if you want to avoid this continuous payment, you can choose to pay an initial fee and a subscription charge. The large number of partnerships of RouteNote with other platforms allows you to stream your music to a huge audience across the world.
One point that may cause some discomfort for some musicians while opting for RouteNote is that it doesn’t offer any services for publishing or sync licensing. However, it may or may not be a deal breaker depending upon the stage of your career. Steven Finch, the RouteNote CEO mentioned during our interaction with him that company has upcoming plans to provide these services also to the subscribers. There are some other features also that are missing in RouteNote in comparison with some other service providers.
Considering all the aspects, we firmly believe that RouteNote is a great option for a budding artist to launch his/her career at almost zero cost. The flexibility of changing the plan as per sales makes it one of the best sites. The platform is equally good for established artists also because it allows them to pay initially while keeping the complete royalty with them.
To summarize, RouteNote is arguably the best music distribution company. They more than make up for their lack of high end features by being flexible in switching between plans.
- Switch between free and premium plans anytime post registration.
- Covers most parts of the world including Asia.
- RouteNote Direct allows you to sell your music directly to fans.
- Get access to SoundCloud Unlimited at no additional cost.
- Payments can be split to ease the load.
- Your release can take up-to 3-4 weeks to be available online.
- No cover for song licensing service.
- No service for assistance with publishing and sync licensing (may be launched soon).
- Payments are generally slow and it can take about 45 days.
Although RouteNote has got some really good features, especially focused on YouTube and SoundCloud, it lacks in a few features that are available with its competitors. It’s an easy to use platform with strong support options and flexible plans for users.👉 Click here to Learn More about RouteNote and Try it for FREE!
This is a unique App based platform with an innovative team and continuously evolving technology.
It’s the right choice for artists who want to keep minimum costs and are confident in working with new technologies. Although they don’t have many features that other sites offer, they are ready to incorporate customized features as per your needs, if they feel that your music is good to sell.
As it’s not available on desktop, some artists may not like it, but Amuse surely makes up for this by having bare minimum costs and by acting as your partners in trying their best to promote your scores.
They are bold enough in not taking any fees or commission from the artists. They invest in the talent in order to reap dividends later on, which makes them more of a record label rather than just a simple distribution site. Once the artist or band starts becoming famous, Amuse offers a deal to them. If the deal is finalized, Amuse goes further in promoting the music through all possible means. In turn, the profits made through the sale are split between the artist and the company. If the deal doesn’t go through, the profits made entirely belong to the artist.
Splitting your profit in equal proportions with Amuse might sound unfair at first sight. However, that’s how most labels work in the music industry. It’s a fair deal and the fact that you started with no investment from your side actually makes it a great deal.
Amuse is a relatively young venture that started as a Swedish startup and has already got many major labels and high profile individuals like the Black Eyed Peas frontman, Will.i.am among others as partners and investors.
Amuse lives up to its name as it really amuses many musicians, fans and critics alike by their innovative way of promoting talent while making profit. They surely seem to have a bright future if they continue on the same path.
- Zero initial fees.
- Zero commissions on profits outside the deals.
- Completely App based (which is a pro for some, while a con for others).
- A large distribution base of over 200 stores.
- Zero YouTube commission.
- Not available on desktop.
- Uploading of music on the App is through cloud.
- There’s no Admin publisher.
- It doesn’t obtain mechanical licences for cover songs and also doesn’t have a pre-order.
Although it’s based on App and has YouTube compatibility, it’s got limitations in utility because of limited features. Good thing is that you can start streaming your songs with literally no payment.
The task of uploading music on the cloud and then to the App may be frustrating at times. However, the platform is fairly simple and easy to use and has got good support.
This is as close as it gets in being absolutely free. Fresh Tunes doesn’t charge any fees or subscription for distributing your music.
It doesn’t even take away a part of your profit and hence it offers perhaps the best option for someone who’s looking to distribute his/her music with an absolutely zero investment.
If you’re searching for a plain and simple music distribution platform with no costs, then Fresh Tunes is the site for you. It’s the only other company apart from Amuse to offer the zero fees and commission structure. However, it differs from the latter as Fresh Tunes doesn’t have any additional features that could boost your profits through strong marketing.
It’s the best that you can get if you don’t want to pay at all and if you’re fine with the bare minimum features for music distribution. In order to reap full advantages, they need to add a few stronger features.
- They charge you absolutely no fees to distribute your music.
- There are no annual or periodic subscriptions.
- You don’t have to pay any commission on the revenue that your music generates.
- They carry out a professional assessment of your music.
- They undertake promotional campaigns on YouTube, Facebook and other social media.
- They have a pre-order option.
- You can get an objective feedback from one of their experts for $25 a track
- On top of getting you access to the mainstream streaming services, they can also get you access to Chinese streaming services
- They’ve only 14 distribution outlets.
- There’s no Admin publishing.
- You’ve to sign up through your social media account.
- They don’t have the playlist plugging option.
- They don’t allow payment splitting.
Fresh Tunes has an interesting set of basic features, but it would do better if they included a few more stronger features.
The platform is simple but old fashioned. They need to improve the response time.
Probably the youngest service on this list, LANDR is know to be an automated mastering service that lets you perfect your mix.
If you’re already subscribed to their remastering platform, you can distribute your music to all streaming services for free, including Spotify.
They don’t take commissions and they offer a monthly and annual membership fee of $1 and $12 respectively. However, if you want access to the streaming services, you’ll need to pay $3 per month or $36 per year, which isn’t that bad.
Although Landr is not actually free, it’s unbelievably cheap. With an almost negligible payment for any plan that you choose, it offers a strong set of features to distribute your music to millions of listeners.
As mentioned, you can upload and distribute 10 songs to the best online music stores for just $1 per month. That’s crazy cheap as it’s even less than the cost of a coffee.
Landr gives you a solid and strong platform that’s fairly simple to work on. You can get your masters and distribution done on the same platform with a negligible fees upfront. However, once you’ve paid the initial fees, Landr doesn’t take any commission on your profits.
Landr also has a unique tool which enables you to collaborate with other artists. This is an often underutilized tool. If you’re good in producing music in collaboration with others, then Landr is undoubtedly your best bet. It’s got really great mastering services and is continuously improving on the distribution of music.
It may not be the best music distribution site as it doesn’t have the strongest features for promoting the artists yet. However, with the added features of mastering, it’s a really good choice for musicians.
- It cuts zero commission from your revenue.
- You get access to a large number of digital channels.
- It offers one of the best customer supports.
- It has got high speed connectivity to stores.
- You get mastering and distribution options on the same platform.
- You can collaborate with different musicians online.
- It allows you to get samples from other artists.
- You get good strong features like playlist pluggers.
- It has a desktop App.
- You also get ASCAP membership benefits.
- The pricing seems a little confusing.
- Monthly/annual fees push the user to get mastering services.
- It doesn’t have Admin publishing.
- You don’t get seamless cover song licenses.
- Although the site is smooth, it’s not very simple to learn.
The site is free but the free plan has very limited features. Other features may be overwhelming at times and you need to pay you use them.
The platform is smooth but you need time and effort to understand it. It has got strong customer support services.👉 Click here to Learn More about LANDR and Get 10$ Dollars BACK when you Choose a Plan!
If you want to get your music on Spotify, AWAL or Artists Without A Label will help you do that.
This is an excellent choice for established artists with a proven track record. They accept only quality material on their site and hence you need to create music that matches their criteria.
They’ll stream your music only if you already have a good name as an artist and that too after careful scrutiny of your artwork, design, overall brand name and social media following.
They approve an artist based on their points system derived from all these factors. However, the final decision rests with their A&R executives. It’s worth trying as if they select your music, you can be certain about the quality of your work.
It’s true that they’re looking for commercial artists, but they also have some upcoming musicians on their roster.
AWAL doesn’t charge any fees upfront and their commission at only 15% is one of the lowest with no hidden subscription fees. They offer a few additional label-type features to their high performing artists.
If you’re an established artist, but need some expert support in scaling new heights of success at low commissions, AWAL is definitely meant for you. The label services that they offer only to their best artists are extremely good and give these artists the access to the support system in digital distribution industry.
- It has no upfront fees and you only pay a small portion of your earnings.
- The platform is excellent with great features.
- High-end label-like services are offered to good artists.
- The top performers can also get advances.
- More hands on support is offered to top artists.
- They’re reported to have the best analytics report amongst all the other distributors
- Commission of 15% may seem high to some artists.
- Most of the strong features are available only to high rated artists.
- Customer support is also biased to give best service only to the top artists.
- Payment splitting is not allowed.
- No Admin publishing without signing in with Kobalt.
- There’s a distribution delay of 4 weeks normally.
It has a strong set of features, but most of these are only available to high performing artists. The support network is also good if you’re on the top of their list.
It’s good for those artists who have a very tight budget and don’t wish to pay distribution or annual fees. However, it’s not entirely free as a commission of 15% is cut from your earnings. They don’t have a great chain of distribution also.
Although it has very limited features in comparison to its competitors, it has the option of payment splitting. The platform is fairly simple and very easy to use.
Soundrop offers a perfect solution for quick, easy and cheap distribution of your music on major platforms. It’s a straightforward site that packs a punch with limited but useful features.
If as per expectation, Soundrop adds more features in near future, it’s sure to grow exponentially. However, decisions shouldn’t be based on mere expectations. So, if you need some features that are currently not on this platform, it’s a better idea to go with some other site meeting your requirements.
- It’s one of the very few distribution sites that allow payment splitting.
- There’s no distribution fees.
- It doesn’t charge the users with any annual or monthly subscriptions.
- The platform is very simple to use.
- You also get show.co benefits as a Soundrop member.
- It offers mechanical licenses for cover songs.
- It gives the option of pre-order.
- Analysis and reports aren’t available like in some other services.
- They charge a 15% commission on your profits.
- It lacks few features as compared with other platforms.
- You don’t get Admin publishing.
- It has very few distribution partners.
Although the features are limited, they excel in the features that they do have. It’s free to join with no periodic subscriptions or distribution fees.
The platform is one of the simplest but it’s a bit sluggish in its response time.
Symphonic is a simple distribution service.
It may not be as popular as some of the other names in online music distribution business, but Symphonic surely offers a good alternative option for budding artists. With a set of useful features and competitive pricing, it’s helpful in effective and economic distribution of music.
This is a platform on which you’ve to apply for uploading your content. It doesn’t have any subscription fees but has started cutting 15% of the earnings from artists recently.
With a shift in their focus to work in close collaboration with selected artists, they’ve also improved upon their marketing services. This strategy and marketing capability sets them apart from their rivals.
- It charges no periodic subscriptions.
- Symphonic has got a huge number of outlets like Beatport etc. They keep adding new distribution partners to the already strong 200+ outlets for free.
- It allows pre-orders on multiple stores including Amazon, iTunes, Google Play etc.
- Its exclusive pre-release feature allows you to pitch your content on YouTube and SoundCloud in advance.
- You can even distribute ringtones, STEMS etc.
- It offers the artists free ISRC and UPC codes.
- You get Topple Track anti-piracy service for free.
- It also enables you to stream and distribute music videos.
- Its recent steps to charge 15% commission on generated profits may discourage some artists from joining them.
- Payouts to artists are only monthly, which may not suit everyone.
- There’s a payment threshold of $50.
- It doesn’t allow payment splitting.
- It’s an invite only site.
With a strong set of features and a good hands on support, it offers a good option for all budding and rising artists.
Although they don’t take any distribution or subscription fees, they do cut 15% commission on your profits. The site is easy to use once you understand the available functions.
With a distribution chain focused on Latin America, it’s a natural choice for musicians based in this region. However, it’s almost equally helpful for artists from other parts of the world.
It doesn’t have any distribution charges, though ONErpm does cut 15% of the revenue that your music generates. Perhaps the best part of this site is the set of awesome marketing tools, most of which are available without any costs.
It sometimes gets overshadowed by other competitors because of its predominant focus on Latin American music markets.
However, it shouldn’t affect you if you are looking to establish a foothold in the industry.
- There are no distribution or subscription fees.
- It offers playlist plugging.
- You can even distribute your music videos easily.
- It allows artists to split payments.
- You get good analytical reports.
- It has some really helpful and strong features like publishing, smart link generation, promo art creation etc.
- The 15% commission may seem high to some artists.
- It doesn’t cover markets other than the Latin American ones.
- Distribution network is limited.
- They don’t obtain mechanical licenses for cover songs.
The tools offered are awesome and most of them are free to use.
It’s free to join with no subscriptions, but a 15% commission is taken from your profits. The recent updates make it one of the most user friendly sites.
The support system and back-end functioning are smooth and responsive. Overall, it’s a good choice for upcoming and rising musicians to explore.
It’s one of the latest entries in the market and are still in the beta testing phase, which means the creators are looking for help from users to improve the platform. This makes it a good time to join them, if you’re willing to participate in creation of a platform that caters to all your requirements.
Although their present list of distribution stores is not very large, you can still upload your content to the major stores in the industry. They have only the bare minimum essential features on offer, but the best thing about this platform is that you have to pay nothing to use it as they don’t have any distribution fees, subscriptions or commissions on your earnings.
Their smart landing pages are unique and are capable to directly guide your fans to the new music released by you. Being new in the distribution industry, they’re continuously improving upon their features.
Their free marketing tools are great for showcasing your talent on the major platforms. This is perhaps the best time to join as the site is still in development stage and you can try to shape it as per your requirements.
- The services are absolutely free with no payments or commissions.
- The landing page is smart and interactive.
- It currently offers very limited features and stores.
- Being a new entrant in the market, it’s unproven.
Features are limited but likely to improve as soon as they’re out of beta phase. This is a totally free site with no subscriptions, fees or commissions.
The simple platform is easy to understand and smooth to operate. Good responsive support system is in place.
Can I distribute my music myself for free using Spotify and Apple Music?
On the emergence of digital marketplace, the physical music distribution industry has gradually dwindled away.
During the transition phase, the big names in physical distribution market made pages to guide artists to upload their works for online distribution. Using these open resources, many artists managed to land their scores in the major online distribution platforms like iTunes, Amazon etc.
However, with the growth of streaming services, the dependency on distribution platforms has increased. Although it’s still possible to upload your songs on your own for free, it’s neither convenient nor as effective as using the proven distribution companies.
This method is also preferred by the streaming companies as it offers them a constantly updating source of new music.
In a nutshell, the idea of distributing music on your own to different online stores may seem alluring, but it’s not worth taking that much pain.
The money that you can possibly save by doing it yourself is negligible compared to the time and energy you’ll end up spending on it.
In addition to the above mentioned services, there are numerous other platforms that undertake music distribution. There are many more free services that I’ve left out due to space constraint.
I’ve already discussed some of the paid distribution services earlier. The competition in the distribution services is tougher than ever before giving you lot of choices.
So, study the features in detail before finalizing your distributor and make an educated and wise choice. It won’t just involve spending your time and money but also your most priceless asset, which is your music.