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Completely Free Digital Music Distribution – Get Your Music On Spotify, iTunes and More For Nothing!

The article title reads like a bad attention grab, but it appears that more and more, I’m running into completely free offerings for music distribution and aggregation, so it’s time to look at your options.

When I say “distribution” or “aggregation” I mean a company or service that will allow you to upload your music to their system complete with tags and release info, and then “distribute” or “aggregate” that music to as many online stores and streaming platforms as they can on your desired release date.

This equates very simply to “get your music on Spotify and iTunes” for most people, but obviously there is more to it than that for those looking.

Totes Free

Amuse

These guys got in touch with me recently to mention their offering. I hadn’t heard of them, but it looks like they offer completely free distribution with no cut in profits. It also appears as though you need to use some sort of phone app, which I refuse to install, so I can’t vouch for the actual process involved – I think it’s aimed at younger people who want to just have a no-frills way to get their stuff online in stores. The only red card here is that if your music gets some serious loving, they can offer you a record deal with a 50/50 split – which in theory sounds good, but be aware that you’ll need to have a good look through the T&Cs to make sure you’re not signing away rights. Theoretically these guys look good though.

Music Kickup

I’ve been banging on about these guys for ages, since they were one of the first aggregators I knew of that offered completely free distribution. Based in Finland I believe. They have an annual fee for a “pro” account, but that’s still cheaper than most distribution platforms and their free tier is not feature limited in a way that will mean you need to upgrade. They used to have a fairly limited list of stores they could distribute to but I believe they’re fairly up to speed now with most places. Once you go beyond iTunes, Spotify and maybe Amazon and one or two others you’re not going to see a huge amount of revenue anyway – the top two (iTunes & Spotify) provide 95% of my money from selling/streaming music.

Freshtunes

Looks to be completely free. You can pay them for promo and such, but the base-line is free, and 100% profit to you.

Almost Free

Soundrop

Another one that won’t cost you anything to use, BUT they’ll keep 15% of your profits, which is where you lose out. Not a huge fee by any stretch, but if your music does extremely well it can all add up.

Routenote

See Soundrop – basically the same deal, just watch that if you want 100% of royalties, you need to pay a fee per year, per release so if you’re making megabucks from the music go for it, if not, maybe take the 15% hit.

Level

Free in beta, but they keep 8% of profits, so not as bad here, but it’s a newer company, so their distribution network might not be as wide.

Spotify

I put this in almost free, because it’s invite-only and it’s just one platform, so you’re losing out on other platform profit – but it’s a step in the right direction to allow more artists to directly upload. It means more crap to sift through as a user, but it means easier uploads as an artist.

Alternative

The alternative is to work with a digital distributor who will do all this for you – you have a relationship and they work with labels mainly, but they also provide solid advice and will help you with specials, scheduling etc as well as proper reporting and profits passed back. I work with Railbird who give me a good deal and only take a small cut off the top for their services. For electronic music these guys know their stuff. Oh and they partner with physical manufacturing and distribution guys so that if you decide to go physical with the odd release they can help you out too. I prefer this hands-off approach for one of my labels, but for the other I use a digital aggregator (Feiyr if you’re interested, but they have a horrible interface – they’re just cheap for labels with lots of artists you see.)

Anyway – did I miss any? Let me know and I’ll add them!

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