What to Expect When Distributing Your Music

In this episode, I got over what to expect when you’re starting to distribute your music.

I discuss the top 3 best distribution sites that I think will best fit you.

Whether you don’t want to, or just can’t release through a record label, you can still distribute your own music under your own terms.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What to expect when distributing your music
  • The difference between distribution platforms
  • How to choose a distributor
  • Why you might want to distribute your own music
  • How to get paid for your streams/purchased tracks

and so much more!

Episode Links


Amuse – https://amuse.io/

Spinnup – https://spinnup.com/gb/

Distrokid – https://distrokid.com/

Distrokid Affiliate link – https://www.enviousaudio.com/distrokid

Electronic Dance Money Facebook Community – https://www.facebook.com/groups/393782934612748/

Apple Podcast Review –


Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy

Speaker 1: (00:01)
Hey guys, welcome to electronic dance money, your number one business resource for making money as electronic musicians and producers.

Speaker 2: (00:09)

Speaker 1: (00:31)
welcome back to another episode of electronic

Speaker 3: (00:34)
dance money. I’m your host Christian casino. Unfortunately we don’t have a guest for this episode, but the next episode we’re going to have a guest. I promise it’s lined up or recording on Monday. It’s gonna get done. Uh, and it’s with my buddy Shawn Johnson, who I was telling you guys about and I think it was the last episode where he’s a DJ. He’s professional DJ. So he’s going to be coming in and we’re going to be, I’m going to be talking his ear off. I think the episode is going to be a fairly long one cause there’s just so much to unpack with what he does and how you guys can get going on it. So it’s going to be such an incredible episode. Stay tuned for that one and you guys are really going to love it. I know I’m going to love it.

Speaker 3: (01:21)
I’m going to learn a ton from it. So that’s why I want him on. Super excited for it. But for this episode, we’re going to continue with this theme that has been going on. And you know, as I was coming up with the idea for this episode, I started thinking, well I should have just done like a three part series on this or a two part series on this. And I, I kind of realized like we’re talking a lot about licensing, royalties, releasing music, these, these, these kinds of topics. And I probably should’ve started with this one or maybe I should have done a two part episode and released them at the same time. Uh, because we’re going to be talking about distribution today. I realized that we haven’t talked about distribution yet. I’ve mentioned it in so many episodes prior and if you haven’t released your own music and you feel like you’re kind of trapped in just sending tracks to record labels and getting track signed to record labels or hoping that they, we’ll sign you, um, and you want your music on Spotify, you want it on iTunes, you want it on Beatport, you want it on these places.

Speaker 3: (02:38)
There’s ways for you to go about this without having to go a record label. You can self-distribute I know, right? I’m sure you know this. I’ve talked about it in the past. Um, I will continue to talk about it and I know that Adam rife Steck and I talked about this back in episode eight, how you don’t need to go to a record label and because of technology now it’s so easy to self-distribute and you can make all of the royalties off of self-distributing instead of going to a record label and sometimes that’s a better [inaudible] situation. You’re in more control. Ah, you can have control over your release day where it goes to and where you want to focus your time and energy. And if you have a really good solid promo plan put out, you might do better promotion and marketing with your stuff.

Speaker 3: (03:30)
Then any other record label would, I know I’ve said it before, but this is something you need to keep in mind. What’s the record label gonna do for you? Do they have five other artists lined up that they’re about to release it? Five of new tracks out right after years, a week after years or days after years. Are there a couple of artists that they’re focusing more of their time and energy on? So they’re just kind of signing you as a filler, uh, until these next artists release music and then they’re gonna, they’re putting all their time and energy into that. A lot of the time when you’re a fairly new artist with just a couple thousand fans, this might be the situation that you’re put into and you might not realize it. You’re just trying to get music out there, get content out there, but no one might see it because the record label might not do anything for you.

Speaker 3: (04:19)
So now you’re giving up a big royalty percentage for attract to kind of flop. Whereas if you just distributed yourself, you could potentially reach the same amount of people or more and use your network and your promotion skills and marketing skills too further the track more than the record label would get more Spotify listeners. And then when you go to a bigger record label who actually invests in their artists, then you have a bigger chance of reaching even bigger RD audience, especially if they do some sort of promo push or radio push. So today we’re going to be talking about the three distributors that I think are the best for you guys. We’re going to be talking about the differences between them. What one does more than the other or better than the other, and just kind of give you a good description of each one.

Speaker 3: (05:13)
That way you no what to expect. You can kind of look at these distributors and decide which one’s going to be best for you and whether the cost is worth it. Now when you’re choosing a distributor, you need to decide exactly what your end goals are for the release. Deciding what your goals are is going to help you determine which distributor is going to be best for you and whether or not you should spend money on a distributor or not. So that’s your first step. Decide what do you want this release to do? Do you want to just focus on streaming platforms, Spotify, Apple music, YouTube, music, Google play. Do you want your track to chart and billboard? Do you want it on iTunes and Beatport so you can chart and beat port? Because you know we’re electronic musicians. A lot of big DJs and producers are on port looking for new music.

Speaker 3: (06:10)
So if you’re not on beat port, they might not see you. They might not buy your track to play it. Now, a lot of them do get tracks from promo lists that they’re a part of, which if that’s the case, you just need to create your own and we’ll, we’ll do a whole episode on that later. Once you figured out exactly where you want your track to end up, then you can decide, okay, this distributors probably going to be the best one for me. So that brings us into our first music distributor that we’re going to be talking about, which is the one that I consistently send clients to, which is a muse. Now, why do I consistently send clients to amuse? Well, it’s because when I’m beginning my process of starting a new project with a new client, I’m trying to figure out what their needs are.

Speaker 3: (06:59)
Where do you want this track to end up? Are you trying to sign this with the record label? Cause if you sign it with a record label, they’re going to put it everywhere. Just flat out. They’re going to put it on B port, iTunes, all that stuff. But most of the time these are independent artists. They don’t have a record label they want to send it to or they just don’t have the connection and they’re kind of unsure of what they want to do with the track. And then I started talking about, well I can help you out with self-distribution, we can get this distributed and put on Spotify, Apple music, all these places where people can stream your music and you can make money off of them and you can promote it yourself. You know, you’re not backed by a record label bad. At least it’s out there and you can make money off of it.

Speaker 3: (07:40)
And that’s where I say amuse is probably going to be the best fit for you. And they decide, okay, yeah, I kind of want to focus on these streaming platforms, especially because a lot of stuff is moving towards streaming. So I tell them to use amuse. Now amuse is totally free. This is one of the reasons why I send them to muse. They want to focus just on streaming. And that’s what amuse focuses on. You can either see this as a positive or a negative. It’s kind of how you see it. It doesn’t cost anything, but you’re limited to where they actually distribute your music too. They have a small list of partners and uh, but they’re the majors. So they’re releasing all of your stuff to the major streaming platforms, Spotify, Apple music, title, Amazon music, Deezer, Napster, Google music, shazamm, YouTube. And that’s about it.

Speaker 3: (08:35)
So you’re not going to be getting on, be poor, you’re not gonna be getting on all the hundreds of other places. You might be limited to countries like where your reach hits in certain countries, but it’s free. It doesn’t cost anything. The other distributors we’re going to be talking about, they have a fee that comes with them, but they have a few, they have a few more benefits with them. Now, the nice thing about amuse as well is they don’t take anything you don’t take. You keep 100% of your royalties, there’s no fees, nothing you can get paid out weekly. They’ve got a really nice mobile app that you can connect to with your artist profile and they give you updates for your stats, where your plays are at, how much you’ve made, and you can get paid out weekly. Some of these other platforms, it’s similar to the publishing organizations that we were talking about in the last episode where you might not get paid out until the next quarter or until you meet a certain dollar amount, but with amuse, you can pay yourself out weekly per however much money you’ve gotten your streams there.

Speaker 3: (09:44)
Super convenient. Amuse even has their own record label too. So if you submit a track that they really like or have a track that was released through amuse, that starts picking up some notoriety, they might even sign the track, you can get signed on their record label. And this that starts this partnership with amuse that can be very beneficial for you. Uh, one of the partners of muse who, um, is an investor, I or I, I wanna say, I want to say he’s an investors will I am so like there’s legit artists backed behind a muse that can put you in connection with some crazy people if you, I have the right song and the right sound. There’s a program that amuse has that I think is just fucking phenomenal for artists trying to make a living for themselves as musicians and just writing, writing music.

Speaker 3: (10:40)
It’s their fast forward program out there. Fast forward program is, it’s almost like a loan that they provide to you, but it’s based off of the data from your past royalties and what your potential royalties are in the future. So they basically look at how much you’ve made in the past with your royalties. They predict how much your you’re going to make in the next six months for your royalties and they’ll give that to right away. So they’ll basically just throw that money to you. Uh, there is a small fee that’s included with that. If you are an artist who’s starting to get a significant amount of streams and you need to fund something like your next [inaudible] or your album and you need this to get mixed and mastered or you need to hide higher producer to help you, or maybe you want to hire a vocalist for your next track, you’re actually able to get that money for your future royalties for a small fee.

Speaker 3: (11:40)
Take it and use that for whatever your project is with the fast forward program. This isn’t something that’s for everyone. It’s someone who’s gaining traction on their release, um, so that their data can of predict how the next six months are going to look. What’s crazy about fast forward to is that they’ve, I think it, I think on their website it says something like they’ve put out 200 to a hundred thousand dollars worth of fast forward royalties. So there’s like, there’s legit money in this. If your release does really well, you can fund the next six months of your life with fast forward. If you have a significant release, and this is all free, they obviously they take a small fee for the fast forward program because they’re kind of giving you a loan. But regardless in, it might be a really good way for you to start making some traction.

Speaker 3: (12:34)
And if you have a really good track that does really well in streams and you make something like 10 grand, 15 grand and fast forward, that can fund your life where you can focus more on music and with fast forward, it’s not like a publishing deal with a record label BS. Some of these record labels, handout publishing deals where they go, okay, we’re going to get, we’re going to fund you for the next six months. We’re going to pay for all your stuff. Or we’re just going to flat out pay you for six months or a year. You’re going to write your new EAP, right? Your new album, whatever. But you sign away the rights to your music when you do that. Most of the time when you do that, not with the muse, the muse, it’s basically the same thing. They advance, they give you an advance and pay advance where it helps you fund what you’re trying to do.

Speaker 3: (13:26)
Wow. Keeping all the rights you keep, everything. It’s, this is why amuse is so great and why I recommend them so much. Is there so much about the independent artists and just letting the artists do what they want to do creatively, uh, without these strenuous contracts that might lock you in place for years, which is just not fun. So if you’re interested in using a muse, just go to amused Iowa. Now you can’t really type, I think you might be able to type that and Google and it’ll probably be the first thing that pops up. But you might need to put in HTTPS colon backslash backslash amuse dot. I O also have a link to amuse in the show notes. Just go to NBS, audio.com/episode 14 but let’s talk about the second distributor we’re going to be talking about today, which is spin up. Spin up is a distributor.

Speaker 3: (14:24)
They’re a fairly new one, but they’re partnered and backed by universal. So you’ve got some big opportunities there. If your track does really well, distributed through spin up, spin up is fairly similar to amuse in the sense of where they distribute to. So they distribute to all the same places as a muse, but they’ve got some added bonuses in there for you. You can get on Beatport, you can get on Pandora. Um, so you, you have chances of getting some rate, you know, quote unquote radio play with Pandora, but it’s really, it’s streaming. But with B port you have that opportunity of getting charted in people and bigger producers, bigger DJs finding you and potentially working with you. Who knows what comes out of that. So before it can be very valuable. Here, it’s, you don’t want to discount Beatport but I will say with Beatport you have to look at your release and go, is this going to get purchased on Beatport?

Speaker 3: (15:25)
Is someone going to spend $2 and 50 cents on this release on Beatport? If you have a promo team set up where there are, you can get 20 people to buy your track so it charts so more people by your track. That’s a good idea. It’s a good good idea to get on Beatport. That’s a, it’s a good position to be on. You might potentially get more people to buy the track. However, if you don’t think people are gonna buy this track and you might have a better chance with streaming platforms, the port might not be a good idea. And I’m pretty sure starting next year, starting at the beginning of 2020 in January, they’re going to start removing tracks that have no purchases. So as this is something to keep in mind, is your tracking to get purchased at all? If not, it’s going to get removed from Beatport. [inaudible]

Speaker 3: (16:16)
gets removed from B port. The ones that point of distributing through something like spin up where you could release through amuse and just focus on the streaming platform. Now the reason why I say it might be a waste to S to release with spin up is because there is a fee associated with distributing through spin-up with these distribution platforms. Though fees are very small, it’s almost always a yearly fee. With spin up, you can release one to two tracks per year for $10 and then they’ve got an EAP program, which is three to six tracks for an entire year for $20 uh, and then their third one is an album, which is 70 25 tracks for $40. So this is something else that you need to keep in mind. How many tracks do you want to distribute throughout the year on these platforms? You’re only gonna distribute to then just do the $10 program.

Speaker 3: (17:13)
More than two, probably an EAP. But you also have to determine how good is my music, do you, should I be releasing? I work with a lot of people who are so eager to release and want to get music out, but I continually tell them slow down, like you don’t need to release every single track you make. I always tell clients it’s good to release maybe a track a month, maybe, maybe one every other month, maybe one every other month. And then at the six month part of the year you release an EAP and then other single after that maybe thrown in the mix there, you’re releasing with a record label as well. You’re releasing independently so you can really figure out the numbers of what, how many of your gang release, or maybe this is a good starting point to make your goals for the next year for 2020 because the years coming up.

Speaker 3: (18:06)
So if maybe you don’t distribute the rest of the year, maybe you’re just gonna write some more tracks and get them prepped for the new year and when the new year comes or you can make your goals. Right now you’re going to say, I’m going to release six tracks throughout the year. That’s one every other month. Or maybe you were released three within the first six months and then you release an EAP in the last half of the year. Boom, you’ve got your EAP, $20 a month, or sorry, $20 a year for spin-up spin up also doesn’t have any costs or additional fees. So when you release your music, you’re keeping 100% of the royalties. They’re not taking any percentage of that at all. The only fee that they charge is this 10 20 or $40 per year for releasing your music. What’s nice and convenient with spin up, so I didn’t mention this, but with a muse, it’s usually about a two week buffer before your track gets released.

Speaker 3: (19:02)
But with spin up, you can actually get your muse and you can, like if you wind to release in two days, you could get your music uploaded and released in two days. Very convenient there if you’re trying to rush or release and you need something now, you also get the same kind of data and insights and all that information that you need and that you also get from amuse. You get that as well. With spin-up with getting paid on spin up. There’s a 45 day delay for your sales report and they mentioned this in their FAQ as well. Basically if your track is released in January, you’re not going to see the sales for January until about mid March. Same with February, you’re not gonna see those sales till about mid April. When you sign up for spin up and you registering account release, there’s an earnings tab within the website when you log in where you’ll actually be able to cash out using like a PayPal account.

Speaker 3: (20:03)
But this is one where you have to have a certain amount of money in that account in order for you to get paid out, which is, I think they say something like 10 euros, which comes out to be 11 or $12. So it’s important to keep in mind like you can’t just pay out whenever you want and $10 in streams is wide a few streams. It’s probably something around like 10,000 streams in order for you to get $10 if that, it might even be more, it might be double that 20,000 streams. But the point is is you’re not going to get paid out right away the way you will with amuse. Now if you get people purchasing on Beatport yes cause you need are about five people to purchase your song on Beatport that’s $2 per purchase, $2 to two 50. Uh, so you can get that pay out a lot faster.

Speaker 3: (20:58)
So you know with streaming platforms that takes a lot longer to make money. But with these other platforms like B port or iTunes, it’s a little bit quicker because you get that big payout right away. And this is more convenient with EPS and albums, people are more willing to buy an EPN an album than they are a single anymore. That’s pretty much it for spin up. So let’s move onto the third and vinyl distributor we are going to be talking about, and this is probably one that you all know you’ve all heard of. I bet you guys are signed up for them and it’s the almighty distro kid. They’re kind of the key distributor for electronic musicians. I see more people signed up on district kid. More EDM producers signed up on distro kit than any other platform and it’s because they do things really well.

Speaker 3: (21:50)
They’ve got huge library of partners that they release music through. It’s something like over 150 or a hundred or maybe even 200 different stores that meet their music’s distributed to, so you’re casting out a wide net Oh wide wide net and these are places all over the world that orange is streaming platforms, so you might be getting paid out a lot faster and a bigger amount of money. Now with district kid, they do have a yearly fee, which is $20 a year, but it’s not like spin up where there’s a certain amount of tracks you can only release. It’s unlimited. $20 is all you pay and you can release as many tracks as you want with district kit. The cool thing about distro kid though is that you could actually pick and choose where your music is placed on which stores. I do believe that some of them might cost an extra fee for you adding them to those stores.

Speaker 3: (23:01)
I’m not 100% on what that fee might be. I think it might only be a dollar or two, but there might be a fee associated with specific sources if you want them added to those ones. But you’re going to get on all the major streaming platforms for sure. Now, what’s really cool, as I mentioned tick talk a couple episodes ago, um, and about how I think it’s very powerful app for producers, especially EDM producers. What’s bad ass about distro kid is you don’t need a tick talk account and you can get your music on tick tock through district kid. You can just check a box to add your track too. Tick tock so people can use that audio. Fucking sweet. It’s amazing. It looks real professional. Sounds great. And people can find your music on there and start using it too. Make videos with, they do have a couple of different plans though.

Speaker 3: (23:56)
So they’ve got the musician one, which is just one artist. You can upload however many truck tracks you want. You also get a Spotify verify check Mark as well, so you kind of get that notoriety with that check Mark. But then they’ve got the musician plus plan, which you can have two different artists names on that plan and you get daily sales stats, customized label name, customized release day, customize, preorder day, customize iTunes pricing, uh, you get a lot more out of it. You don’t get those extra stuff with the jet with just the musician plan that the musician plus plan is a $36 for the entire year, but you get a lot more out of it. And then they have a record label plan, which basically you can have five or more artists or band names obviously. And then all this stuff that comes with the musician plan.

Speaker 3: (24:51)
Now with a, with a labeled plan, you basically get to have as many like way more artists on that plan. Then you would just a musician playing obviously because it’s for a record label. That one comes out to be $80 a year. So how do you get paid with district kid? When do you get paid? It’s similar to spin up where takes about three months for them to get the sales report for them to pay you out. And then once you actually request a withdrawal, it can take up to two weeks for you to actually get paid for that. So you don’t have to have a certain amount in your account, uh, but you do have to wait about three months for you to get that payout for your release or whatever month your sales we’re coming in. Now, as I said before, you keep 100% of your royalties from your sales. How ever they do have a YouTube money service, and this is basically, uh, your music gets put on YouTube videos and gets monetized and distro kid goes out and gets the payment for that monetization of your music. You can opt out of this, so your music won’t be on YouTube videos to get monetized, but if you opt into this, they’ll actually take 20% of that revenue because it takes time for them to actually go and find your music in request though royalties for those payouts.

Speaker 3: (26:18)
That’s the only fee that they charge. And this is something that you can get out of. You don’t have to enroll into it, so you have the option of whether or not you want them to be on the lookout for you and get those royalties. But they do take a fee. So that is about it for distributors. It’s a real simple, quick and easy one. I kind of wanted to go over because I feel like a lot of producers are so worried about releasing through record label and they’re unsure of how to distribute or what to look out for with distribution. So I wanted to make this as kind of a guide for you guys. So take this information, do some research on these distributors, go to envious audio.com/episode 14 I’ll have all the distributors on there. You can click on them, look at their FAQ and do some research on them.

Speaker 3: (27:09)
Find which one you like the most, which fits the best for you. If you’re focusing on streaming, I do think amuse is just going to be your best bet. But if you want the variety of stores, district kids, probably your best bet. I will say the big benefit with spin up, if you have really good tracks that people really dig putting them and releasing them on spin up opens you up to universal music cause they do send tracks that do really well on spin up. They send them directly to a and R for universal. So you have a lot of opportunities there. So just keep those things in mind when you guys are researching these and deciding where you want to distribute with. Oh and by the way, this isn’t like publishing organizations. You can be on multiple distributors. You just can’t distribute the same song over multiple ones, if that makes sense.

Speaker 3: (28:00)
So you could release one song with a muse, a different song with spin up and a third different song with distro kid all on separate distribution platforms. But they’re all gaining revenue on different platforms. However, I don’t recommend doing this because it can get confusing where releases are and you gotta kind of keep track of everything. It’s a little too much. I recommend just picking one and sticking with it. And last. You stick with the muse and then you go, no, I want to start getting on the port. Then look at either district kid or spin up, and by the way, there’s a few there. There’s plenty of other distributors out there. If you just look up music distribution sites, you’ll get a good Google list of other ones you can research. By the way, I do have a district kid affiliate link where you’ll save up to 7% I believe it is.

Speaker 3: (28:49)
It might be 5% go to envy, saudia.com/distro kid. Just click on the link there and I think you’ll save something like five or 7% on your signup fee for distro kid too. You’ll get that five or 7% off of the $20 or maybe the $36 fee and you can start enjoying district kid right away. But thank you guys so much. I’m excited. For the next episode we’re going to have Shawn Johnson on. We’re going to be discussing deejaying and starting a business. With that. If you have any questions, feel free to email me@podcastatnvsaudia.com don’t forget to go to iTunes rate review and subscribe to the show. I would really appreciate it. I want to see some more reviews. I want to know how you guys are liking the show. Head to facebook.com and you can look up the electronic dance money community.

Speaker 1: (29:42)
Join it. Lots of good conversations going on in there. Can’t wait for the next episode guys. Take care.

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