How To Choose The Best Music Distribution Site

Posted by Caleb J. Murphy on Feb 6, 2020 04:28 PM



What should you look for in a music distribution company? There are so many sites that will send your music to Spotify, Apple, and elsewhere, and the number is continuing to grow.

So how do you choose?

Well, the music distribution company you choose should make the process as easy as possible. They should be on your side, wanting you to get your music out there. If they are at all difficult to work with, get rid of them.

So, to you, that might mean you want them to take less of a commission. Or it might mean you want free distribution. Or you may want a one-stop-shop for distribution, admin publishing, and other services.

Whatever you’re looking for, I think there’s a distributor on this list for you.

Recommended Distribution Sites

I’d like to start with four music distribution sites that I’ve used to send my music to Spotify et al.


CD Baby

Overview: The longest-running distributor on the market, CD Baby offers several services on top of distribution, like publishing royalties collection and custom merchandise creation.

Best for: indie musicians with small to moderate budgets who don’t want to deal with multiple companies when it comes to royalty collection.


  • No yearly fees -- just one payment per distributed album, EP, or song
  • Admin publishing service that collects your songwriter royalties
  • They collect master recording royalties for you via SoundExchange
  • You can opt into their sync licensing program


  • 9% commission on all streaming royalties
  • They don’t split payments between co-songwriters -- you have to do that manually
  • Additional fee for a UPC (which you need to distribute your music)


Overview: Tunecore has been on the market for almost as long as CD Baby and has served many big-name artists.

Best for: musicians who plan to get a lot of streaming royalties, at least enough to offset the yearly fees.


  • You keep 100% of your streaming royalties
  • Admin publishing service that collects your songwriter royalties
  • Daily trending reports and clear revenue details
  • You can get advances on your royalties if you’ve had consistent streaming revenue in the past


  • High yearly fees per release
  • They don’t split payments between co-songwriters -- you have to do that manually
  • If you work with their admin publishing service, they don’t allow you to work with any other sync licensing company



Overview: formerly Loudr, a mechanical licensing company that helped you get the proper licenses to cover a song.

Best for: musicians with little to no budget who want an easy way to distribute their original songs, or artists who want to easily release cover songs.


  • No distribution fees for original music
  • They will split payments between you and your co-writers/collaborators
  • Easy-to-use platform/site
  • Affordable to obtain a mechanical license to distribute a cover song


  • 15% commission on all streaming royalties
  • Distribution to a limited number of platforms -- currently just Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, and Deezer
  • They don’t have an admin publishing service to collect your songwriter royalties



Overview: technically a record label with a distribution service for all artists, even those not on the label. A very new company based in Sweden.

Best for: musicians with little to no budget who would be interested in a 50/50 record label deal.


  • No distribution fees
  • You keep 100% of your streaming royalties
  • You have a chance to be discovered and signed to one of their 50/50 record label deals


  • No admin publishing service
  • Album title and artist name must be on the cover and they can be picky about the blurriness of your cover, even if it’s an artistic choice (I experienced these things with my release)
  • Stats and data available only on the app, not their desktop site


Honorable Mentions

Here are two distributors who I have not used personally but have heard positive things about.


Even though you keep 100% of the streaming royalties, you do have to pay an annual fee, although the fee covers unlimited releases. Plus, DistroKid stores all your songs on the cloud, so you’re sort of getting a storage backup service for your music on top of distribution services.


LANDR’s main service is automated mastering (which is honestly pretty good), but they also offer distribution services. If you have a subscription to LANDR (monthly or annually), you get free distribution and you keep 100% of the streaming payouts.

New And Notable

Here are two distribution services that are newer and may disrupt the game for the better.

United Masters

United Masters is similar to Amuse in that it’s a record label first that also offers distribution services to artists who are not on their label. It’s free to distribute and they take 10% commission. But currently, it’s by invite only, so you can enter your email address on their site to request an invite.

Record Union

Record Union is another newer company with a growing roster of artists who’ve released music through them. They have yearly plans starting at $7 (1-2 tracks, one streaming platform) up to $25 (6-12 tracks, all streaming platforms), and they take 15% commission.

Distributors To Avoid

Finally, here are two distributors who I’ve never used but have heard very negative things about. I’m not saying you definitely shouldn’t use these platforms, just be wary and do deep research on them before signing up.


Singer/songwriter and music business blogger Ari Herstand did an in-depth review of a plethora of music distributors (which you should read for A LOT more info on this topic). One of the distributors he put in the no-no column was Ditto. He listed negatives like hidden fees, horrible customer service, and (most compellingly) tons of complaints from customers. Also, they threatened to sue him.


“...This is the only company that I am confidently putting into the ‘do not work with them’ category,” Herstand says.

Fresh Tunes

Fresh Tunes is another distributor who doesn’t seem to be one of the better options. Again, I’m not saying you definitely shouldn’t use them, but there are plenty of other more reputable companies to work with. Even though they offer free distribution and take no commission, Herstand mentions issues with delayed payments and a lot of customer complaints.

Topics: Licensing & Publishing, Music Business 101


Get weekly updates on articles, gigs, and much more!

Posts by Topic

see all