Are you a singer, a rapper, or a manager? Writing and playing music isn’t always easy, but chances are that if you’re a musician, this is what you love to do.
Once you’ve done the fun part and laid down some tracks, what’s next? You’ve got to get your work out there so people can hear it; get exposure for yourself and your band. After all, the only way you’re going to make a living in this highly-competitive game is by getting people to buy what you’re putting out. But, how do you do that without hiring a manager or landing a great contract?->> Check Out the ULTIMATE Music Distribution Guide (Reviews & Chart)
Why use a distribution service?
If you’re trying to get your music career off the ground and haven’t hooked up with a major distributor, using an online pay-per-service platform is the way to go. Getting one service to handle everything from distribution, Spotify submission, royalties, registrations, to liner notes under one roof, instead of doing it yourself, leaves you much more time to do what you love – make music!
But, not all distribution services are created equal. It’s not a “one size fits all” scenario. In this EmuBands review, we’re going to look under the hood of this digital distributor to see how their service stacks up to the competition.
What is EmuBands?
EmuBands is a digital distribution service that specializes in getting music and other audio files from creators out to places like iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. This crew has been in the game since 2005 and their HQ is in Glasgow, Scotland. Glasgow has been called “Britain’s best city for music lovers” simply because it’s the spot to go for indie music in the UK.
It’s home to the Glasgow International Jazz Festival, the TRNSMT Festival, and the Glasgow Summer Sessions. The latter has attracted bands like The Cure, Twin Atlantic, and the Foo Fighters. Being deep in this scene means this company has what it takes to keep the music flowing, no matter which country you’re from.
EmuBands is run by Ally Gray, who used to be on the board of the Scottish Music Industry Association before moving on to become a Managing Director. Other peeps on the EmuBands team have been involved with tour management, broadcasting, and artist relations.
Here’s a quick overview of what EmuBands offers for their flat-rate fee:
Track distribution – This one should be obvious since the whole point of a distribution service is to distribute tracks. EmuBands works with Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, and a host of other streaming music services to get your music in the hands (and ears) of streaming audiences.
Spotify for Artists – Access to Spotify for Artists instantly so that musicians can check out their profile and analytics on the Spotify platform without having to jump through additional hoops.
Set your own date – EmuBands lets you upload today and release later on. If you’re planning a big debut for your new EP, you can set a date for the EP to drop. Basically, you can upload, set your release date, and forget about it while you concentrate on promotion and performances.
Mastering – EmuBands uses Alchemy Mastering, who’ve mastered everyone from Radiohead to George Ezra, to clean up your tracks. You’ll want your sound to reach your audience in the highest quality form possible. Having access to a mastering service can help you do that.
Support – When you sign up with EmuBands, you get your own support person who can walk you through the distribution process as you need it. This is one of the services the company constantly gets top ratings for.
Charts Registrations – Want to hear your track on a top-10 list? EmuBands will register your music for consideration on the international charts. How they do it, however, is somewhat of a mystery because the website doesn’t go into detail.
Royalty Pay-out – Once you start racking up the royalties, you can get them paid out to your account whenever want, as often as you want. You keep 100% of royalties earned on your music as EmuBands doesn’t take a cut of these profits.
Digital Booklet Delivery – Not a lot of musicians are going to use this feature, but if you want a sweet extra for your fans, you can add what’s basically liner notes. Include credit for individual instruments, your band’s origin story, or art pieces that show even more of your creative side. Musicians can easily send out a booklet with their music on iTunes through EmuBands without paying any extra fees.
Gracenote MusicID – Here’s another feature that probably won’t get much use. This is for bands who have a physical CD they want to produce. If you choose this service, EmuBands codes the info on the CD so that if it’s inserted in a Gracenote player, all of your artist info will be displayed.
Shazam – Free registration with Shazam is included in EmuBands’ flat-rate fee. That means Shazam will recognize your songs and show links to buy your music when listeners use this popular app.
Sales Data – EmuBands keeps track of your sales stats so you can see how well your release is doing on the day-to-day. This way, you can get an idea of what’s working for you and what’s not. If your latest song is doing great with the 18-25 crowd, you’ll know where to point your marketing.
Apple Digital Masters – Apple Digital Masters is a quality control service offered by Apple. If you’ve already got an account, EmuBands works with you to integrate with this service.
What to Expect from EmuBands
EmuBands pretty much delivers what they say they will. There aren’t a lot of hidden charges or difficult features and the website is super simple to navigate. They have a great reputation for customer service and plenty of people are down with the flat-rate fee, instead of having to pay every month like a subscription service.
This can be useful if your income fluctuates from month to month. It’s easy to forget you’ve signed up for a monthly subscription until that charge comes out of your bank account. So paying for it when you need it when you have the money works well for people who need to keep a close eye on their finances.
Mini Upload Guide
The uploading process for EmuBands couldn’t be easier.
- The first thing you’ll need to do, of course, is set up an account with them.
- After that, there are three different price options to choose from. You choose one of the three depending on how many tracks you want to upload. Then, you submit your payment.
- After that, just click to upload your WAV file to EmuBands. Each file has to meet the right criteria for EmuBands. They only accept WAV files that are 16-bit (sample size), 44.1 kHz (sample rate), and 1411 kbps (bitrate). EmuBands recommends that your file be mastered before you upload it, but if you haven’t done that step already, they recommend a service called Alchemy Mastering.
Price and Plans
The EmuBands pricing plan is thankfully straightforward. As mentioned earlier in this review, they operate on a flat-rate system. You can get one track handled for $42.50 with no additional fees or charges. If you’d rather do the EP thing and upload three to five tracks at once, EmuBands charges about $60. Finally, EmuBands offers a third pricing tier for those who want to upload an entire album. Doing that will run you a solid $85.
Pros of EmuBands
The main selling point for EmuBands is their Spotify integration. Their site is super easy to navigate and very straightforward. Since EmuBands doesn’t take a piece of artist royalties and has a flat-rate payment system, the financial part of the relationship is easy peasy. If you do run into trouble, there’s a customer service person assigned to each client, who will help you navigate the ins and outs of the system. The per-track payment system means that if you try EmuBands and don’t like it, you’re not locked into any complex arrangement or contract.
Cons of EmuBands
The only real negative issue here is the price tag. Paying nearly $43 per track is a little much compared to other digital distro services. Typically, you’d expect to pay $10-$20 per track, but give up a percent of your royalties too. This is where you’re going to have to weigh your up-front costs with your potential returns. EmuBands is also lacking when it comes to a social media presence. They don’t often post about new artists or top-ranking songs. In fact, they don’t often post at all, despite there being an EmuBands presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Because of that, there’s no real sense of community or personal connection with the company.
EmuBands is for pretty much anyone who isn’t already signed to a major label. Beatport and JunoDownload don’t seem to be included on their store list though, so if you’re producing dance music, EmuBands might not be the best bet.
Otherwise, the company has a good reputation and a wide distribution network. So, if you’re releasing rock, jazz, rap, or R&B, this platform is a solid choice.->> Check Out the ULTIMATE Music Distribution Guide (Reviews & Chart)