How Much are Musicians Paying for Digital Music Distribution?
Editor’s note: This chart is a work in progress and we have made numerous corrections since publishing. If you have a correction, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make it ASAP. A new version of this chart will be published in the coming weeks with more distributors, more information and greater accuracy. We appreciate your patience.
Editor’s Note: We have made a few corrections and apologize for the errors: (1) Ditto Music does mention they have an annual fee on their website, however we did not find the figure $20/year subscription fee mentioned by number, we had to contact their support team; (2) we listed ReverbNation’s monthly $19.95 subscription when we should have listed their $34.95/year distro only package; (3) we got ONERpm’s rates backwards, they have no annual fees but have a setup fee. If you find errors in this document email email@example.com. It is a work in progress and we are always working to improve its accuracy. Current figures are based on research done on the marketing websites of each company.
TuneCore vs. CDBaby vs. OneRPM vs. Ditto Music vs. Indigo Boom vs. SongFlow vs. DistroKid vs. RouteNoute vs. Loudr vs. Mondotunes vs. ReverbNation
No wonder musicians are confused. No two digital distributors were created equal… not even close!
We compared pricing for the top 11 services distributing recordings to online retailers on behalf of independent musicians. The variety was striking. If you plan on making any significant revenue off your distribution, you’d better choose carefully, as fees can skyrocket over time.
Many of these platforms offer many other services besides digital distribution, adding significant value. Here, we focus only on the price of distributing one’s album.
This information is completely false, as we do not charge annual fees for albums and never have.
We apologize for the error and have fixed our chart to reflect that you charge no annual fees, and a $39.99 setup fee for the ‘Essential’ distribution package.
Thank you for bringing this and any other issues you might have to our attention.
Looks like RouteNote is by far the best! Covers all major stores and cheapest.
But they also have a FREE model, which is by far the most popular in the world.
The owner of Routenote there making himself look an absolute idiot as always.
If you get in touch we can correct quite a lot of the information that is wrong or missing here.
Thanks David, we are going to be sending a form around to each distributor because we have learned that when you collect data from marketing websites, you get lots of information that is wrong or missing. For example, Beats is listed in your ‘short list’ of distributors, but was never added to the “our digital stores” footer that appears throughout your site. That said, we take full responsibility for making this infographic 100% accurate and will quickly correct every error that is brought to our attention, in addition to being proactive and contacting each distributor to verify the information when the resources become available.
You forgot an important one : Zimbalam ! 🙂
We can provide you the information if you want.
Thanks, we’ll be in touch in the coming weeks to get info for the next version of the infographic.
I think it’s a shame that you are missing Record Union! They are one of the cheapest, they have access to Beatport, and lots of artists rely on them.
Thanks Montoya, we will include the Record Union in the next version of this infographic, coming soon!
finetunes Distribution has a musician digital distribution platform called Creative Talents. I will send you logo and all pertinent info. sen me your email address.
Would like to add Finetunes to the next version of the graphic. Thanks Ray, we’ll be in touch with you, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a great infograph and I’ve done a similar sheet some years ago, when I looked for a good partner for our now former download store. We ended up working with Record Union. I think you should also add some more European distributors along with Record Union, that is the new Finnish Music Kickup (http://www.musickickup.com), iMusician Digital (http://imusiciandigital.com/) and Phonofile (http://phonofile.com/).
Thanks so much for putting these services on your radar. Production on the new version of the infographic is underway, and I thank you for helping us expand and improve it!
Love this and love that is a work in progress. It’s a great resource for artists looking for distribution and is obviously getting the attention of the competing indie distributors too. That can only be a good thing! Keep it up!
You should also add on Symphonic Distribution! 🙂
You got it!
Are you satisfied using Symphonic?
Hi Zac, have you created an updated chart yet?
I might be missing something, but I’m having a hard time searching for/ finding it on your site. I just read somewhere else that Loudr distributes to 7 outlets, and you only have 3 listed here so I suspect stuff may have changed for many of these companies over the last year…
An update would be extremely handy!
The chart is out of date, we are working on a new one!
It’s great that you are doing this, it’s a huge time saver and stress reliever. I notice people are mentioning distribution companys and I was reading up on one today called “Feiyr” (pronounced fire) at Feiyr.com. They say they’ve been in business since 1993….I’m surprised this one didn’t make it to the first list given their longevity. I’d like to see how well they’ll stack up against the rest.
Keep up the good work and thank you for doing this.
P.S. Is there a time frame when we should check back for the updated list?
Thanks Ron, we will take a look at Feiyr. Not sure when we’ll be able to update the list but we are eager to do it, if you sign up for our mailing list you’ll be the first to know!
It looks like MondoTunes is now also unlimited uploads and has alot more retailer partners. They made things very interesting for distribution. They would now be my bet
found out about this website by searching for reviews of digital music distributors online.
I manage a record label based in Japan and have worked with Dittomusic for 2 years.
However, I have decided to cease the deal with Dittmusic due to a number of reasons, most of them surprisingly mentioned on this website by other Dittomusic clients.
I strongly believe these issues are worth mentioning so that people become aware of what might happen.
My aim is to provide an objective review on Dittomusic’s services, both positive and negative.
Let’s start with the positives:
1) Customer service in terms of attitude and promptness is quite good and helpful BEFORE signing up. They will answer your questions and occasionally make changes you cannot figure out how (This was with their previous system, I don’t know about their current system).
2) Their distribution network is vast and streaming services are updated regularly. However, there is an extra sign-up fee if you want your music available on Beatport.
3) They offer a bunch of extra services, although I haven’t tried many of them.
Now, for the negatives:
1) Once I signed-up and paid, customer service started to get worse. Replies to emails took up to 2 weeks. Replies would usually come after expressing disappointment with Dittomusic’s service and “threat” to cease the deal with them.
2) 2 releases were lost and uploaded up to 6 weeks after the scheduled date. After the first time this happened, Dittomusic suggested I send them a confirmation email when I upload music. However, the same situation happened again.
3) Stalling and illegally attempting to withholding payouts – This is by far the worst. This was done in two ways.
First, Dittomusic charges a fee to keep releases available on stores every year, which is perfectly fine as each company is free to choose their business model. However, Dittomusic refused payouts claiming that I hadn’t paid the renewal fee even though I didn’t want to keep the release available on stores for an extra year. It took me 3 weeks to solve this situation due to delayed response from customer service.
Second, we had an issue with unlicensed remixes. One remix was from a famous band that doesn’t exist anymore. At the time, I unknowingly thought copyright of bands that don’t exist anymore would lose copyright. I later found out that they don’t. Copyright for bands that don’t exist anymore last for 70 years in the US. All the other remixes were from personal friends of mine so I assumed there would be no need to do so. When I sent Dittomusic emails from the artists’ personal email accounts to prove they had given permission to do the remixes, Dittomusic claimed that was not enough. I understand that there are legal ramifications regarding remixes so I asked for payouts from original tracks. However, they deliberately ignored that and kept on sending me links where I could obtain licenses for the remixes. I asked them how much I was owed from original tracks and they simply told me to figure it out myself. I eventually did and sent them an invoice. This situation also took around 3 weeks to solve.
The next time I asked for a payout, Dittomusic did the same thing again. I had to reiterate that I had no intention in getting payout from remixes but they still redirected me to links where I could obtain paid licenses deliberately ignoring the real issue. Only after several email exchanges where I told them that what they were doing was illegal, telling them I would expose this fraud and cease the deal did they payout what I was legitimately owed. Dittomusic tried to withhold the total amount of what I was owed using the excuse that I didn’t have appropriate licenses for remixes as an excuse to do so – twice. Their attitude towards their client is terrible and downright insulting.
4) Requests to remove releases take too long. It’s been a year and a half since some releases should have been removed and they are still available. I am starting to wonder if the removal of releases work at all.
At the moment, I got paid from all original tracks but they still withhold sales originating from remixes. I tried to solve this issue in a civil way by suggesting Dittomusic transfer all those funds to the legitimate copyright holders. I even sent them who the legitimate copyright holders. Their reply was that I should organize all of it. How can I organise anything when Dittomusic shows no intention of collaborating? I wonder how many labels and artists are aware that Dittomusic is illegally withholding funds that should be transferred to the legitimate copyright holders.
This seems very similar to the situation where many clients complained about Dittomusic not paying mechanical royalties. It reveals their general business attitude.
Dittomusic claims to be professional but I fail to see any of that although their actions and attitude after these situations I have been through as well as other clients.
Dittomusic’s business practice are dishonest and show no intention of collaborating with their clients in a win-win manner. Instead, they try to put all the responsibility on the client. What kind of customer service is that?
If your aim is to make your music available on many stores for exposure, Dittomusic works fine. However, if you are trying to do business with them, be prepared for the worst.