Our mission at The Audio Brew is to empower people who make music to do one thing: make music. Distributing your music to online streaming platforms and online stores is something you should be doing if you are an independent artist. DistroKid is a service that distributes your music to a large number of platforms, but most importantly the big ones: Apple, Google (Play and YouTube), Spotify and Amazon. We’ve compiled a list of our top reasons NOT to use DistroKid for your music distribution.
Let’s say you’re in an unstable relationship with your unknown experimental noise band and Fred, your drummer, owns the account that uploaded all of the band’s music to DistroKid. After the band breaks up, Fred stops talking to everyone and keeps the $0.025/mo from Spotify streams. But the joke’s on him because DistroKid is subscription based service and he’ll get charged once a year for the account. If this is your band, just release your music for free on SoundCloud.
If your band, duo, or solo act rarely releases music you might be better off releasing through another service. The advantage to using DistroKid really kicks in when you’re releasing a steady stream of new music to your fans. DistroKid gives you unlimited releases for a ridiculously low price. It doesn’t make sense to pay for an all you can eat buffet and quit after one plate. If you don’t think you’ll take advantage of this feature, you might want to release your music through a distributor like CD Baby.
If you’re super into analytics and data with pretty charts and graphs displaying a breakdown of sales and streams, then you’re out of luck. But, let’s be honest. I have yet to see a distribution platform with pretty reports. Still, if reports are your thing, then you will find very little that interests you here. You will get iTunes and Amazon in one report, Apple Music and Spotify individually. You can also filter your stats by album or single. But there’s no way to quickly get an idea of how everything is performing together. If you know of a service that is doing this let us know!
Imagine you want to terminate your annual subscription to DistroKid. You also want to ensure that your music catalog stays online. You really only have two options here.
If you have a large catalog distributed through DistroKid, this could cost you more than a small chunk of change. Keep in mind that standard album distribution at CD Baby, as of the time I’m writing this, is $29. DistroKid‘s current annual fee is $19.99, which is very reasonable – if you continue to publish new music.
This sounds silly, but there has been some noise about this recently. Some people claim that if your distributor pays you everything, like DistroKid, then they aren’t invested in your success. While I can see what people are trying to get at here, I don’t really buy it. My DistroKid releases have earned more each month over other platforms I’ve released through. If anyone is going to be invested in your success as an artist and drive real sales, it’s going to be you.
I’ve used several different distributors in my time as an independent musician. I’m also a habitual song writer and release music several times a year. DistroKid gets my solo music in the stores and streaming services as often as I want and at a crazy low price. When I release music in conjunction with other people, I like to use the CD Baby Pro Distribution. There are some added benefits going this route when working with other artists or if you need additional services. However, DistroKid has added the ability to distribute payments to multiple people. This might make them the perfect fit for small bands.