Distrokid vs. United Masters: Which One is Worth Your Money?

distrokid-vs-united-masters

For many new and existing artists, producers, and content creators, distributing music yourself is becoming more and more viable thanks to a number of online/mobile music distributors. More than ever, independent artists are able to focus their hard work on producing quality content instead of worrying about how they are going to manage the many distribution channels that are available on the market today.

Whether your having trouble finding a label or have concerns over control and ownership, knowing which services can best fit your needs is the first step in translating your hard work into earnings. If you’re looking for a music distribution service, United Masters and Distrokid are two premium products that help solo musicians, bands, producers, and other performers distribute their content and get paid.

Both services offer an extensive network of online streaming services and vendors that you can take advantage of, as well as an array of other impressive features that help you maximize your efforts and get paid for your work. Both have flexible subscription plans that are designed to give the artist as much control over their content as possible.

Whether you want to own 100% of your content’s revenue or want to save on the upfront costs, and don’t mind the idea of a royalty split, one of these distribution services will offer what you are looking for!

Distrokid

use distrokid and united masters

Founded in 2013 and boasting over 250,000+ artists, Distrokid offers musicians and content producers the ability to distribute and sell or stream their music through online retailers. Distrokid will get you on all the major stores and streaming services, including:

  • Apple Music
  • Spotify
  • TikTok
  • Pandora
  • Amazon
  • Instagram
  • Youtube
  • Tidal
  • iHeartRadio
  • Deezer
  • And many others

One of Distrokid’s major benefits is that they allow you to keep 100% of your earnings. Instead of taking a cut on the royalty, Distrokid offers three unique subscription plans depending on the features that you might need:

Musician: $19.99/year

  • One artist profile
  • Unlimited Songs and Albums
  • Daily performance Statistics

Musician Plus: $36/year

  • Two artist profiles
  • Unlimted Songs and Albums
  • Customizable label display
  • Ability to set future release dates for your content as well custom preorder date
  • Daily performance statistics

Label: $80/year

  • 100 artist profiles
  • Unlimited Songs and Albums
  • Ability to set future release dates for your content as well custom preorder date
  • Detailed statistics of your sales

difference between unitedmasters and distrokid

You get access to a number of cool features that make life much easier for artists. Among these are the ”Split” feature, which allows you to automatically split your earnings with your collaborators. In addition, Distrokid will make sure your instantly verified (blue checkmark and exclusive stats) on Spotify, while also making sure that artists with the same or similar names aren’t mixed up.

They get your music into stores in a fraction of the time it takes their competitors to, and boast great customer service, access to daily statistics, and a simple user-friendly interface.

Additional Services:

  • Youtube Money ($4.95/year + 20% of revenue): this service adds your music to a database used by automatic content filters on Youtube outfitted with a unique “Content ID”. Every time your music gets detected in a Youtube video, you will be notified and will earn revenue from it.
  • Store Maximizer ($7.95/year): the “Store Maximizer” will automatically deliver your library of content to all news stores that have been added to the Distrokid network after the initial release of the track.
  • Shazam & Siri ($0.99/year): for a small fee Distrokid will add your tracks to the Shazam database so that it is easily identifiable for anyone using the service.
  • Leave a Legacy ($29/One-time, nonrecurring): When you purchase this feature, Distrokid will never delete singles from stores due to lapsed Distrokid membership, even if you die. In other words, you will continue to accrue 100% of the royalties earned on your content, as normal, forever!

United Masters

united masters and distrokid comparison

Founded in 2017, United Masters is an American music distributor that represents more than 50,000 independent artists. Among these are artists like NLE Choppa, Lil Tecca, and Tobe Nwigwe. Their platform gives artists the ability to easily and efficiently distribute their content to all major streaming services, including:

  • Spotify
  • Apple Music
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Tidal
  • YouTube
  • Pandora
  • Google Play Music
  • Amazon Music
  • and many others

They give artists access to data metrics related to content streaming as well as social, in order to help maximize fan engagement and ultimately revenue. They have a number of high profile partnerships with some of the world’s biggest brands that artists can leverage and utilize to their advantage: Year after year, United Masters has continued to add new strategic partnerships that add tremendous value to their platform.

In 2018, they partnered with the NBA. In 2019, they partner with iHeartRadio, AT&T, as well as 2K Games and show no signs of slowing down. The following is a complete list of their announced brand partnerships:

  • AT&T
  • 2K Games
  • NBA (National Basketball Association)
  • NFL (National Football League)
  • Apple Music
  • BOSE
  • iHeartRadio
  • Cash App
  • MLB (Major League Baseball)

Unlike Distrokid, UnitedMasters allows artists to pick the subscription model that suits their preferences. United Masters plan utilizes a royalty split of 90/10 for no upfront fee while their United Masters SELECT plan lets you keep 100% of the royalties by paying a yearly subscription fee of $59.99 ($5/month).

United Masters: Exclusive Services

The platform provides a unique opportunity for artists to connect with brands. When artists sign up for UnitedMasters, they have access to cultural expertise as well as data analytics that match artists with brands that are relevant to them and their music. Being featured by brands like the NBA, Bose, AT&T, 2K Games, the NFL, etc. can increase your existing revenue and drastically expand your reach.

Similarities and Differences

is unitedmasters better than distrokid

While both platforms offer loads of value, how do you choose which one is right for you? This can depend highly on what your goals are and how you operate as an artist. For instance, if you are a collaborative artist and need to easily share earnings with your collaborators, Distrokid’s “split” feature will be extremely useful.

Likewise, if you are just starting and concerned about paying an upfront subscription fee, United Masters 90/10 royalty split will save you that expense while still allowing you to take advantage of their platform. Both platforms will get your music in all of the top streaming services, however, United Master’s brand matching offers something extremely valuable.

By giving you exclusive access to their high profile brand network, you can get your work front and center with some of the world’s most influential companies. Whether it’s submitting your best tracks to be featured on Apple Music’s BASE:LINE playlist (which features independent artists only), offering up your work to the NBA for a chance to be featured in highlights on NBA social channels, NBA TV, and NBA.com, or becoming apart of BOSE’s promotional material, United Masters provides artists the opportunity to increase exposure and drive revenue.

Most recently, UnitedMasters artists helped launch BOSE Frames by being included in their music videos. UnitedMasters helped identify the ideal ambassadors for BOSE’s product campaign and BOSE, in return, assisted in the development and promotion of each artist’s music video.

Their partnership lineup to date is quite impressive and if they continue to seek out strategic partnerships the way they have done over the past few years, the resulting network could serve as a major source of differentiation for UnitedMaster over other music distribution services.

While Distrokid offers a nice collection of features for its users, a number of the more useful ones are hidden behind additional subscription fees that are on top of the yearly amount outlined in each of the three options. For instance, if you are paying for the Artist Plus plan ($36/year) and are interested in enabling YouTube “Content ID”, the “Store Maximizer”, as well as adding your content to Shazam and Siri’s databases you would be adding another $13.89/year on top of the original fee.

This model might be impractical for artists who are trying to minimize their upfront costs or those who only release a limited amount of content, especially as new paid features are added to the platform. However, by paying upfront for the service, you can capitalize on the other end, by claiming 100% of the revenue that you generate from streaming and usage.

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Verdict

As outlined above, both Distrokid and UnitedMaster offer tremendous value to independent artists, producers, and content creators. However, if we had to choose one platform, we recommend Distrokid.

Distrokid gives artists exactly what they need, which is 100% ownership of their content, Their yearly subscription fee, even with all of the add-ons is still cheaper than United Masters $59.99/year and provides all of the features an independent artist could want.

Their Label package is very useful for larger organizations who manage talent and want to utilize platform sales data to improve their reach, while their “Store Maximizer” and “Split” features allow artists and labels to get their content in as many new stores and streaming platforms as possible and share earnings with collaborators with ease. With that being said, we would be hard-pressed not to recommend both services as each will deliver unique value depending on your needs.

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