Today, perhaps the biggest barrier for those who want to jump into pursuing music as a career is music distribution, or getting their music out to the public. Fortunately, there have never before been so many routes one can take. Below is a review and glimpse at one such option, and that is the digital music distributor, Amuse.
What Is Amuse?
Amuse is a company based out of Stockholm, Sweden that has created an app for your phone or computer that centralizes all of the services that they offer. They are relatively new to the scene, having been founded in 2017, and they offer a competitive package.
If you are reading this review, it is likely that you have some interest in music distribution and have heard of some of Amuse’s competitors such as DistroKid or CD Baby. These are highly reputable companies that have been faithfully serving musicians throughout the evolution of the industry, and Amuse is an easily comparable service.
In the past, if you wanted your song to be on the radio, you needed a record label get it there. If you wanted to play a huge stadium, you needed your songs to be popular on the radio, and so on. These days, radio play remains an important method of having your songs heard, but many people are now using music apps of their choice instead.
Spotify is usually the first to come to mind, alongside similar competitors such as Apple Music, Tidal, Google Play, YouTube Music, and more. Put simply, as a music distributor, Amuse is a platform for getting your music onto these music apps.
Key Features Of Amuse
At its base level, Amuse is entirely free of charge. This alone makes a good case for choosing it above some other options, but what does it get you all together? If you select to use Amuse as your music distributor, you will be able to upload your music to the apps listed above, as well as a few others such as Napster, Deezer, Shazam, and Amazon Music.
Having your music sent out to the masses is the main trait of any music distribution service, but Amuse includes some nifty bonuses.
Statistics Tracking System
A significant component that Amuse provides is their tracking system. If you upload music to their app, the statistics of your songs will be tracked in detail. You can gain as little or as much benefit from this as you choose, but the potential is all in your hands.
For example, perhaps the statistics tell you that a heavy or energetic rock song of yours is being listened to in high amounts in New York, and maybe a soft, acoustic ballad is performing well in Los Angeles. With these statistics in mind, you can plot your campaign or tour around it.
When you visit New York, you can form your setlist around songs similar to and including the rock song that you have proof of being enjoyed there. You also have gained awareness that doing some sort of special acoustic evening in Los Angeles could be of higher benefit than it might be elsewhere, and can schedule it accordingly.
All of these potential options are in your hands. You are the one to decide what the statistics mean to you, but the important thing is that Amuse provides them for free.
There is a much more detailed chart displayed on Amuse’s website comparing the services of music distributors, but they are quick to note that they are the only distribution provider that is completely free.
Song Ownership (Keeping All Royalties)
By using Amuse, you are able to keep all of your song royalties, and you can upload songs for free at any rate you want. Whether you have stockpiled songs and want to release them all at once, or you have just spontaneously written a new song and want it out there before you do anything else, the cost will be the same: $0.00.
Amuse doesn’t necessarily keep anything behind a paywall. However, as mentioned above, this is all included in their base level package. Amuse does offer an option called ‘Amuse Pro,’ but fortunately, unlike some other distributors, the existence of this extra option doesn’t hold you back from much of anything.
No matter what option you choose, though, you will get to keep all of your royalties, and your songs will not be held under a contract. You get to keep and do whatever you want with your songs, even if you have them uploaded through Amuse.
Amuse’s Independent Record Label
The final component of Amuse that makes them a standout distributor is that they are not only a music distribution service, but also an independent record label. This does not mean that upon uploading your music with their app that your music is part of their record label.
Nor does it mean that you will be able to choose that as any sort of package option. However, what it does mean is that if your music is performing well, you have a higher chance of being noticed by their record label.
This ties in with the fact that Amuse has their own statistics tracking system, and makes an enticing argument of why someone might want to choose Amuse as their music distributor.
Just like all of the previously mentioned components of Amuse’s options and services, the importance of being able to attract Amuse’s attention for promoting your songs with their record label will vary. If you don’t care about what their record label has to offer, that is fine, but for those who do, by using Amuse’s distribution you will become part of the niche that makes up their customer base.
Those who do not use Amuse will not be part of their statistics base, and so the competition is a lot smaller than if you were striving to be recognized by a record label like Atlantic or Warner, for example, who look to the public to find their artists. In both a beneficial and non-beneficial way, however, the smaller competition of Amuse’s database is strong.
Notably, Amuse promoted the hit song “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X. This is can be seen as a negative aspect because it means your songs might have to be top-tier to attract Amuse’s attention, but is overall a positive aspect because it demonstrates their merit.
What To Expect From Amuse
It is easy to brush off Amuse as a second-hand distributor because they are free. People often look at store-brand products as inferior to name-brand products because people equate higher prices with higher quality. But that would be an incorrect view of Amuse.
Adding to their merit is the fact that will.i.am of Black Eyes Peas fame has attached his name to Amuse as a co-founder. Really, Amuse is just a product of an evolving industry; one that is becoming more convenient and accessible to artists and consumers alike, and this can be seen in every part of their business.
Artists are being paid less for their music sales in this age of streaming, and Amuse has made music distribution free. Artists in the past were routinely trapped into long and impossible contracts with record labels, who had artists sign away their lives for seven albums at a time, and the record labels also had complete ownership of the artist’s music.
Amuse’s record label doesn’t force artists into contracts, and instead opts to license artists’ songs and allows the artist to keep their ownership. You would think these ways of operating would be more common. If you glance at user reviews for Amuse, you will unfortunately see negative ones mixed amongst the positives.
These report slow periods for having their music uploaded, contrary to time period Amuse quotes, as well as trouble accepting royalty payments. At the same time, other users report that it is a great service and are surprised that it is free.
How To Upload Your Music Using Amuse
Another impression to avoid about Amuse is that because it is free, it won’t be streamlined and easy to use, because in reality, their app has made uploading music very simple. All you have to do is download the Amuse app onto your phone or computer, upload the song you want distributed (you will be asked after each upload if you want to add more songs), enter all of the relevant info about the song, such as the title, composer, date it was recorded and genre, attach the artwork that goes along with it, and then submit it for their approval.
This is where the four week time period of waiting for your music to be distributed comes in, as not only must Amuse approve your song, but it takes various amounts of time for all of the music sources like Spotify, Apple Music, etc. to approve it as well. You can select where you want your music distributed to, but the default option is all that are available.
You can also extend the release date if you wish. After that, the process is simple. You can track your statistics via the same app, and accept payment into your PayPal account after your royalties exceed $10.
Price And Plans
As mentioned above, Amuse offers two plans. The base option is totally free, and comes with almost all that you could wish for, but there is also the Amuse Pro plan that costs $5 per month, gifting you faster support services, a YouTube content ID, the ability to have multiple artists accounts with Amuse rather than just one, the ability to have your music on Instagram and TikTok, and lastly, a sped up process for having your music uploaded.
No time frame is actually given for this component, but the expectation is that it would be faster than the four-week quote that is given with the free plan. If you choose the free plan, you don’t lose out on having your music reach people.
Your songs will still be uploaded just as well as if you choose the Amuse Pro plan, it just won’t be as fast, and it won’t put your songs onto Instagram and TikTok. Fortunately, $5 per month isn’t very much, should you decide to choose Amuse Pro.
Pros Of Amuse
Again, the greatest benefit that Amuse boasts over its competitors is that it is entirely free. There are no royalty fees, there are no additional fees based on whether you want to upload songs individually or in groups.
The existence of a paid plan doesn’t feel as mandatory with Amuse, as it isn’t something that is holding base plan users back, and the $5 charge for it isn’t anything absurd either. The addition of Amuse working as their own record label is of great appeal as well.
Cons Of Amuse
The downsides of Amuse are up for interpretation. There is a stigma that comes with being free, whether it is deserved or not. The negative user reviews report slow processes and technical bugs, and t is easy to think that if Amuse charged more, they could provide higher quality service and response times.
The last negative of Amuse is that as a newer service, you have to wonder if they will survive in the long term, as that is only proven over time.
Everything about Amuse is streamlined, easy, and free, and these sum up the biggest benefits they offer. On the downside, a quick glance at reviews will show mixed results, with some users having had a hard time contacting customer service, having a series of technical difficulties and not being able to accept their royalty payments, as well as some users reporting extensive wait times contrary to what Amuse suggests the time period should be.
There are good reviews as well, but as a fairly new option for distribution, and the stigma that comes along with being a free-to-use service, the negative reviews might hurt Amuse’s reputation more than a better-established distributor. Fortunately, it is free for any potential user to try it out and decide for themselves.
If it has been deemed unworthy, then there has been no financial loss, and the process to remove songs is simple as well, should it ever be needed. All in all, Amuse presents a great option for music distribution in an ever-evolving industry.