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Is DistroKid Actually Worth the Money? (Honest Opinion)


Twenty years ago, if you told me that by 2022 online paid memberships could distribute your music instead of a record label, and nobody bought CDs anymore, I would’ve laughed at you.

Well, here we are in 2022, and AI is in full effect, fully capable of managing a fledgling artist’s whole career, assuming responsibility for growing their fanbase, protecting their artistic rights, and a whole handful of other managerial duties.

What Is DistroKid?

what is distrokid

DistroKid is a paid online service that independent musicians use to help them distribute their music.

While technically that sums up what DistroKid is, I feel as if this simple description doesn’t do this online music management service justice.

DistroKid is so much more than that and offers three different levels of service for artists looking to at least get serious about recording and distributing music. The DistroKid pricing plan is set up in the following structure:

  • DistroKid Musician
  • DistroKid Musician Plus
  • DistroKid Label

DistroKid “Musician” is the most straightforward offering available for clients. “Label” is the most comprehensive, all-inclusive package for musicians with the goal of one day starting their record label.

That’s one of the most incredible things about DistroKid – it can accommodate people serious about making a career out of music and generating some buzz online.

In the following sections, we’ll break down each tier of DistroKid and give you an idea of the value for each tier. Hopefully, by the end of the article, you’ll understand whether DistroKid provides the value you need.

DistroKid Plans

One of the most incredible things about DistroKid from the start is that you don’t have to pay a monthly service. Each different tier does have its own cost, but you make one payment, and you’re good for the entire year.

distrokid PRICING

Considering that most other platforms like DistroKid charge a monthly fee, plus additional fees for distribution or other tasks, the unique pricing model is a welcome change.

Starting with the simplest and most basic tier, we’ll work through every level of DistroKid, breaking down what each group has to offer different caliber musicians.

DistroKid Musician – $19.99

So, I should start by saying that regardless of the tier you choose for DistroKid, all three packages have the following in common:

  • You get to keep any monetary benefits your music generates. No percentages or revenue shares are paid out on your end at all.
  • There’s no limit to the number of songs and albums you can upload.
  • You have access to upload to over 100 different stores and music platforms.
  • Just for using DistroKid, you’ll instantly become a verified Spotify artist.

Not bad for the ground-level package, and that’s just the beginning. The primary differences between different packages lie in the number of artists you can have on each plan and how much you can customize your project.

One important thing to note is that once you pay the yearly fee, you’ll need to pay it in the subsequent years if you want to keep your music online.

This first plan allows you to release your music on the different available platforms, which DistroKid handles for you.

However, you won’t be able to choose a custom time or date, so you can’t strategize your route as an artist too much. If you plan on dropping a few songs a few times a year, DistroKid Musician should be fine.

If you’re looking to plot a course to musical success and generate a buzz, you’ll probably want to try your hand at DistroKid Musician Plus.

DistroKid Musician Plus – $35.99

is distrokid THE BEST

With Musician Plus, you get a chance to take control of some of the custom elements DistroKid has to offer. First, you’re able to create two artists on the platform.

This could come in handy if you’re working on two musical projects at once or if you want to branch off into another genre of music and do some experimenting. Handling both catalogs and promotions under one interface keeps things simple.

Musician Plus offers several advantages you won’t find on the tier below. These features are excellent, excellent because they give you that personal feel. Number one, you can pitch Spotify and try to talk them into picking up one of your songs to put in rotation.

This is huge for any upcoming artist, as it would introduce millions of fans to you at once. In addition, you learn how to negotiate and talk to people on the other side of the desk.

It’s essential to understand the business and corporate end of the music business if you plan on making it a career.

With Musician Plus, you can also:

  • Create a custom label name. If you create your own label, you should at least be able to name it, right?
  • Toggle your release date. This comes in handy when you start factoring other features in that require you to wait some additional time before releasing your album.
  • Change your preorder date. See above.
  • Control your iTunes pricing. This can definitely provide a significant boost in revenue at the end of the day.

distrokid pros cons

There’s a lot of additional customization available that you can’t access on the Musician level. You can also run at the Billboard charts, so the preorder option is enormous.

This gives you an additional six weeks to generate attention surrounding your album or songs before Billboard compiles their next list.

The opportunities presented by using DistroKid can definitely inject serious life into your music career. It’s well worth the additional $15 bucks to upgrade from Musician to Musician Plus.

DistroKid Label – $79.99

Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with the third level of the DistroKid membership.

It’s basically a carbon copy of the Musician Plus tier with the ability to add more musicians, giving you the same control and customization options for each artist.

However, I can see where the Label tier could be helpful to someone who has already taken the time to organize a few artists or bands and put a fledgling label together.

Unless you plan on taking advantage of the additional artist slots of the Label plan, there’s no reason to pay the additional $40 since you’re not unlocking any extra features.

Musician Plus offers plenty of customization for a one-person show looking to distribute and customize their way to the Billboard charts or as a verified Spotify artist.

Does DistroKid Offer Any Additional Features? 

does distrokid give royalties

DistroKid offers users some additional paid options to boost the experience. Some of these features are incredibly useful for adding additions to your music, and some can net you some additional revenue from your tracks.

  • Cover Song Licensing $12: This allows you to legally upload cover songs without fear of legal action.
  • Store Maximizer $7.95: This feature allows you to add your music to new stores, expanding the availability of your catalog.
  • Leave a Legacy $29: This feature allows your music to stay up and live even if you decide not to pay for the next year of subscription pricing on DistroKid.
  • Shazam and iPhone Siri $0.99: With this feature, your songs are easily accessible using Shazam and Siri.
  • YouTube Money $4.95 + 20%: This is a great option that allows you to collect ad revenue from any YouTube videos using your music. Depending on how popular your music is, this could net you some decent additional profits.

Just a quick note regarding these services:

  • They must be paid annually along with your subscription plan.
  • You can add them after your initial release by clicking your album or song and selecting “Add Features.”
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The Bottom Line

Some people might be disappointed that DistroKid doesn’t offer a free version, but you can’t be upset.

The options available on the lowest tier have incredibly competitive pricing. I can’t even think of a tool that comes close to value.

I found DistroKid extremely simple to use, and it performed all of the important tasks even at the lowest level.

Seasoned musicians and beginners looking to advance their careers should both be able to appreciate this valuable music tool.

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