DistroKid is an independent digital distribution company founded by Philip J. Kaplan in 2013 and is based in New York City. DistroKid is a traditional digital distribution service — in the sense — that they don’t offer any label services, funding or promotional packages.

The company is considered to be the ‘best’ option when compared to CD Baby and TuneCore. Being held in high regards with most independent artists and record labels. DistroKid’s free add-on features and tier structure has earned the company a reputation of being an effective and easy-to-navigate digital distribution company.

DistroKid’s claim to fame came in 2015 after a musical release from Pop duo “Jack & Jack” that went #1 worldwide on the iTunes charts. The release made history because it was the first time that an artist went #1 on iTunes and was in a position to keep 100% of the earnings.

DistroKid initially began offering artists the convenience of distributing their music to multiple online retailers such as Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, iTunes, Tidal, Deezer, Amazon Music & Google Play Music.

As of recently, the company has grown to 150+ stores and streaming services. In 2018, Spotify acquired a minority stake in DistroKid and completely changed the landscape in the digital distribution arena.

The integration between Spotify and DistroKid opened up a global market that served artists who would otherwise solely upload their music to SoundCloud, YouTube or Apple Music.

The partnership allowed Spotify to become a one-stop shop, meaning anything uploaded to the platform would be distributed to all other music streaming platforms.

DistroKid prides themselves on putting artists in a position to keep 100% of their royalties and offering an unlimited upload distribution model. This is a feature that sets them a part from companies like CD Baby and TuneCore where you could be investing $50 or more per release.

The company is able to keep a fairly cheap overhead with less than 400 employees and provides a customer service infrastructure that is based on automation. Nevertheless, the company has continued to create value and provide an above average service for independent artists and record labels.

Let’s check out DistroKid’s three tier structure below.

  • Keep 100% of revenues
  • Serves one artists or band and can distribute an unlimited amount of music for a year
  • Access to Spotify’s artist verification platform
  • Unlimited lyric distribution
  • Keep 100% of revenues
  • Serves two artists or bands and can distribute an unlimited amount of music for a year
  • Access to Spotify’s artist verification platform
  • Unlimited lyric distribution
  • Syncs lyrics for Instagram
  • Daily sales stats
  • Customized label name
  • Customized release date
  • Customized pre-order date
  • Customized iTunes pricing
  • Keep 100% of revenues
  • Serves 5–100 artists or bands and can distribute an unlimited amount of music for a year
  • Access to Spotify’s artist verification platform
  • Unlimited lyric distribution
  • Syncs lyrics for Instagram
  • Daily sales stats
  • Customized label name
  • Customized release date
  • Customized pre-order date
  • Customized iTunes pricing

Paid Add-ons (Optional)

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DistroKid offers artists ‘optional’ paid add-ons through their subscription service. This is a great way to cater to the different needs of artists and also keep costs low by letting users choose which features they want to pay extra for.

Here’s a breakdown of the add-ons DistroKid offers:

DistroKid has a built a reputation around artists keeping 100% of their earnings and revenue earned from YouTube is the exception in that equation. On top of DistroKid’s annual fees, artists that want to monetize their music on YouTube will have to pay a one-time setup fee of $10 and a 20% revenue split. Given the value that YouTube creates for artists, it’s very much worth the monetization fees.

DistroKid has a long list of stores and streaming platforms that it distributes music to. This add-on will automatically distribute your music to new stores that DistroKid partners with.

This optional add-on makes your music identifiable through iPhones and the Shazam app. Shazam is able to identify music in movies, television shows, bars, venues, etc.

This paid add-on guarantees that your music will remain distributed on all music streaming platforms “forever” or “if you pass away” unexpectedly. The ‘Leave A Legacy’ could produce value for some artists given the circumstances.

DistroKid will also help you with licensing other artist’s music at a very expensive $12 a song/year. This is a feature that isn’t available through all platforms and is automatically built into DistroKid’s uploading process.

Free Add-ons (Complimentary with Subscription)

DistroKid is considered to be one of the best traditional digital distribution companies for artists because of the value that they create through their free add-ons. Providing an “ease-of-access”, these assets are presented in plain view on the Settings page and integrated with your account information.

Artists and Labels receive $5 for referring users to DistroKid.

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This is a free add-on that is in place to help DistroKid artists build awareness and add to their online communities. HyperFollow is essentially a digital asset with links to specific releases on Apple Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio and other streaming platforms.

The feature has the potential to be a fairly valuable asset to DistroKid artists because it tracks the music users listen to, collects emails and even pinpoints a listener’s geographic location.

This is probably one of my favorite features that DistroKid offers its users. Vault provides artists and labels with free, unlimited backups of their music files. This feature eliminates the need for hard drives or having to re-download music from other platforms.

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DistroKid offers “DistroLock” for free with your yearly subscription. This feature stops unlicensed uploads to other streaming services without your permission. DistroLock uses acoustic fingerprints that are affiliated with your music to detect duplicates.

In addition, DistroKid partners with YouTube Content ID, Audible Magic and AcoustID to provide this innovative service to independent artists and record labels.

This FREE add-on is a big play when it comes to SEO and making your lyrics more searchable on Google. This offering from DistroKid distributes your music and associated lyrics to streaming platforms like LyricFind, Facebook, Instagram, MusixMatch and Apple Music.

This is a feature that is good to have if you’re an artist that is just starting out and want to get a feel for your streaming numbers. Along with TuneCore and CD Baby, DistroKid provides access to analytic data from Spotify and Apple Music.

This is a helpful free add-on offered by DistroKid. It’s a built-in feature that links your Apple Music and Spotify pages to YouTube. Any artist can create a YouTube page, so this is a feature that usually works in conjunction with other YouTube assets.

This is a free add-on that is both innovative and forward-thinking. YouTube Whitelist is an automated feature that DistroKid users can use to give influential ‘Taste Makers’ or playlisters access to their music through YouTube’s monetization feature. Giving them the right to upload your music and share it with their fans. This is also a great way for concert promoters or platforms to introduce you to target markets/cities.

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This FREE add-on is a big plus if you work with multiple producers or collaborators. DistroKid’s Teams feature allows artists and labels to automatically divide the pie and change percentages when need be. This is a powerful asset because it saves time and helps avoid the trouble of paying artists directly.

Conclusion

DistroKid is an amazing digital distribution company for a lot of reasons. I specifically hold the company in high regards given its favorable business model, artists having the opportunity to distribute an unlimited amount of music and its automation tools that create value for users that choose to distribute their music on the platform.

Most importantly, if you’re an independent label that is looking for a digital distribution partner to team up with. DistroKid could be the perfect fit given its label tier and the free add-ons.

If DistroKid seems like a good fit for you. SIGN UP HERE

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Written by

Entrepreneur based in Minneapolis, MN. I write about Music, Inspiration, Economics & Business. Website: 227-mn.com & Newsletter: http://ow.ly/nBJJ50AbYAF

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