There are more than 8 million artists on Spotify.
While some of these artists are household names, many more are independent musicians.
Of course, putting music on Spotify isn’t as easy as simply uploading the songs that you want to share.
You’ll need to work with a middleman, like Distrokid, to add your songs to streaming platforms.
This might leave you wondering if Distrokid is a music publisher.
Is Distrokid a Publisher?
Distrokid is a music distributor, not a publisher.
Working with Distrokid is an easy way for independent musicians to get songs on Spotify and collect royalties when music is used on YouTube. Any independent musician can sign up for Distrokid, even if they don’t have a publisher.
What makes a distributor different from a publisher? Distributors focus on delivering an artist’s music to platforms. They will collect and distribute any revenue that’s earned via those platforms.
While publishers will also distribute music, they offer additional services beyond that, such as managing song rights. Publishers are entitled to some royalties earned when a song is streamed or sold.
A distributor is essentially a go-between for artists and online music platforms. Your distributor will function as a middleman between you and streaming services.
What can you do when you work with a distributor like Distrokid?
With a Distrokid membership, it’s possible to upload audio files, track names, and album artwork. The music you upload will be sent to streaming services like Spotify, YouTube, and iTunes.
Do I Need a Music Distributor?
It’s possible to share your music online without a distributor, but you’ll be locked out of many major streaming platforms.
Most music streaming services require artists to work with a distributor. Not having a distributor can also make it difficult for you to collect royalties.
Distributors are primarily focused on bringing your song to online platforms, but many distributors may offer additional services as well.
A distributor may offer marketing services or playlisting and may even be able to help you copyright your music. Consider your needs when deciding on the best distributor to work with.
Working with a distributor allows you to share and sell your music without a label. It’s a way for independent musicians to profit off the songs that they write.
Having music on streaming services is also a way for artists to share their songs with a much wider audience.
Do I Need a Music Publisher?
You don’t have to have a music publisher in order to upload your music to streaming services.
However, working with a publisher gives you more ways to monetize your music. A publisher can help you to license your songs for commercial use and get more exposure for your music.
The experience you’ll have with a publisher will vary greatly based on the publisher that you choose to work with. Some publishers are fairly hands-off, while others collaborate with musicians.
Songtrust, an independent publisher recommended by Distrokid, is focused on helping indie artists collect royalties.
If you’re new to uploading music, you may want to hold off on working with a publisher.
However, if you’ve been sharing your music online for a while and are interested in exploring commercial licensing opportunities, a publisher can help you to do exactly that.
Does Distrokid Collect Royalties?
Working with Distrokid means you’ll be able to keep 100% of the royalties you earn from your music.
Your earnings from streams and sales will be reported to Distrokid, and once those earnings are processed, you’ll be able to collect them. This process usually takes about three months.
Songs that are streamed on Spotify earn two types of royalties: recording royalties and publishing royalties.
Recording royalties are paid to artists via their licensor, while publishing royalties are paid to the publisher. Since Distrokid is not a publisher, they won’t collect publishing royalties from your music.
In addition to processing your Spotify earnings, Distrokid offers an optional feature called “YouTube Money.” This feature is designed to help artists collect money from people that use their music in YouTube videos.
If you’ve noticed people using your songs on YouTube, this is a feature you may want to take advantage of.
Are Songs Released Through Distrokid Copyrighted?
Distrokid will not copyright any of your music. If you want to copyright your music before you share it, you’ll need to handle that yourself.
Copyrighting your music isn’t essential, but a copyright can help to prove that you’re the original creator of the tracks that you share.
You can copyright music yourself via the copyright.gov website. To register a claim, you’ll have to complete an application, provide deposit copies of the work you’re copyrighting, and pay a filing fee.
Alternatively, a publisher can help you to copyright your music and protect your rights.
Should I Distribute My Music Through Distrokid?
If you’re planning on working with a distributor rather than a publisher, Distrokid is an excellent option.
Many distributors have upload restrictions, but Distrokid allows you to upload an unlimited number of tracks.
Distrokid also provides access to a wide range of streaming services, including Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Pandora, Google Play, and Amazon.
Another major advantage of working with Distrokid is its speed. Some distributors can take weeks or even months to share your music, but songs you upload through Distrokid are frequently added to services in a matter of days.
In addition, Distrokid provides access to data that will let you see how your songs are performing on different services.
While Distrokid charges a flat monthly fee, they also offer several paid add-ons. These add-ons include cover song licensing and monetizing music on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
It’s worthwhile to explore your other options, but Distrokid is a solid choice for most independent artists.
What Are Alternatives to Distrokid?
There’s no way to self-publish your music on major streaming platforms. However, while you do need a distributor, you don’t have to work with Distrokid.
Some of the most popular Distrokid alternatives include TuneCore, Ditto Music, and CD Baby.
It’s best to compare different distribution services for indie musicians before making a commitment. Look at the services the distributor offers. Compare subscription fees and watch for hidden costs.
You should also think about how you’ll be using the service.
Can you upload as many songs as you want, or will you be limited to upload a limited amount of songs per month? What are your options if you want to have a song taken down?
No matter which distributor you work with, it’s clear that indie musicians have many excellent choices.
Whether you choose to use Distrokid or explore other options, there are plenty of ways for you to share your music with the world.