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DistroKid Musician vs. Musician Plus: How To Choose

By Matthew Vultaggio

November 5, 2020

When first figuring out how to get my music on Spotify, it seemed like DistroKid was the best distributor but I had a hard time picking between the Musician plan and the Musician Plus plan. I did research and wrote about it here.

The main difference between the two plans is that the Musician plan has unlimited song uploads for 1 artist, while the Musician Plus gives you unlimited uploads for 2 artists and the ability to set a release date.

The Plus plan does have a few extra features but, to me, the most appealing thing about the Plus plan is the ability to set release dates.

So what are these extra features that Plus has and more importantly is it worth the higher price?

Let’s dive in deeper to find out, my friend. 🙂

DistroKid Musician vs. Musician Plus: Which Is Right For You?

DistroKid, in total, has 3 plans available to artists and labels. These plans are the Musician, Musician Plus, and Label plans.

For a full breakdown of all of DistroKid’s prices and plans, check out my article: DistroKid Pricing Explained, for more.

All of these plans give you unlimited song uploads (for no extra cost), allow you to upload to any store/streaming service, and can even easily get you the blue verified Spotify artist checkmark with access to the Spotify For Artists app & dashboard.

Here’s a breakdown of their features and pricing:

PlanPriceUploadsArtistsRelease Date
Musician$19.99 USDUnlimited1No
Musician Plus$35.99 USDUnlimited2Customizable
Label$79.99 USDUnlimited5Customizable
A chart breaking down DistroKid’s plans for artists and labels.

If you are not yet with DistroKid, you can learn about the special DistroKid discount to save on your first year with them.

Remember: the pricing is annual, so you need to pay that amount every single year to keep uploading songs to Spotify and other streaming platforms (more on what happens if so stop paying later in the article).

Psst… you can save an extra 7% on any Distrokid plan by clicking here (I hope it helps!)

Additionally, the Musician Plus and Label plans give you these extra features:

  • Customize your label name
  • Customize your release date
  • Customize your preorder date
  • Customize iTunes pricing

Naturally then, the next question is: are these extra features worth the extra cost?

In my opinion, at least one crucial feature is definitely worth the price…

Are the extra features worth it?

When comparing the different plans that DistroKid has available to artists, there are basically just two extra features they provide at the higher tier:

  1. Increased customization options.
  2. A higher amount of artists you can release music under.

Whether these features are worth it or not to you, depends on your situation, what you are trying to achieve, and if you want to future-proof your distribution plan.

Let’s breakdown whether these features are good for you.

The higher amount of artists may be worth it to you if:

  • You are a label
  • You have multiple artist names, projects, or bands
  • You want to be able to help out other artists or friends by releasing music for them

If any of those resonate with you, then one of the higher-tier plans will be perfect for you.

If you are just 1 artist all on your lonesome, none of those may apply to you and you may find it hard to justify the higher price for those features.

For a full breakdown of prices and plans, check out my article on DistroKid pricing.

You may, however, find the customization options useful in your music release strategy.

The increased customization options may be worth it to you if:

  • You want your song to release on a specific date and time
  • If you are running a pre-order for your song
  • If you need to add a label name to your releases
  • If you want to set a specific price on iTunes (lol)

To be completely honest, I think most of the customization options are not worth it...

Adding a label name is either something to make you look cool or an actual legal thing you need to do. But who the heck is selling music on iTunes anymore?

With that said, I think the ability to set a specific release date and time is critically important to your music release strategy and is crucial to how I got on over 7 Spotify editorial playlists that got me over 300,000 streams.

P.S. I recorded myself doing a playlist pitch and it ended up landing me another editorial playlist! Check it out the video and article on my post about Spotify editorial playlist submissions. 🙂

Allow me to explain, my friend…

Why It’s Important to Set A Release Date Using DistroKid

Easily, 100%, without question the number 1 reason you should invest in DistroKid’s Musician Plus plan is so that you can set your own release date.

Being able to set your own release date allows you to be more tactical and strategic with the way you release your music.

If you were to use the plain old Musician plan, your music will simply release as soon as it is accepted by the streaming platform or store.

You have absolutely no control over when this happens and this means you will not be able to effectively promote your release.

If you can’t tell anyone when your music is releasing, how exactly are you supposed to do all the things you need to do to prepare for release day and get people ready to listen to your music?

These are the specific promotional strategies I personally use because I can schedule my release date using Musician Plus:

  • Run a pre-save campaign via email and (sometimes) Instagram in the week leading up to the release date so there is a large number of streams on release day
  • Schedule Instagram posts to go live on the day of release and for two weeks after so I don’t have to worry about posting
  • Schedule Facebook and Instagram ads to start running on release day so I’m getting additional streams as soon as possible
  • Set my song to release on a Monday so that it has time to get some streams so that it hits the Spotify algorithm harder on New Music Friday

The last point there is particularly useful. Being able to set a custom release date is particularly helpful if you want to game the Spotify algorithm with the legit Spotify algorithm hack.

Whether you want to do something similar, like drop your song a few days before New Music Friday, or if you want your song to drop on New Music Friday like every other release these days, you have the customization option available.

P.S. New Music Friday is really just important because that is when Spotify pushes out its Spotify algorithm playlists like Release Radar to all your followers. With enough positive data, Spotify’s algorithm will actually push it out to other people’s Release Radar playlist as well. 🙂

P.P.S. Aiming to get on algorithmic playlists is a crucial step in one of the 6 secrets to Spotify success.

What Happens To Your Music When You Stop Paying DistroKid?

If you ever decide to stop paying DistroKid the annual fee for one of their plans, DistroKid may actually remove the songs and albums you’ve uploaded using them.

However, I found out it turns out that this is very similar to how other music distributors work when I did research on DistroKid vs United Masters.

When it comes to DistroKid, you can still log in to their backend and do things like withdraw any earnings and Spotify royalties you’ve made, but you may get your songs pulled.

So…

Why do they do this?

Apparently, DistroKid mentions that it costs them money and time to continue providing you revenue reports, pay earnings, and provide customer service.

It makes sense, all those things do cost DistroKid time and money to maintain and the annual membership fee is meant to cover all those costs.

But… it would obviously suck for you to have your songs pulled.

What you can do about it

There are 3 options you have available to you:

  1. Use DistroKid’s “Leave a Legacy” feature. This allows your song to stay up even if you stop paying the annual fee, however, it does cost extra per song to do this.
  2. Leave on automatic billing. DistroKid will automatically re-bill you every year, so you don’t have to worry about not paying. They also give you some time before removing songs if your card fails.
  3. Re-upload your songs later. If you ever leave DistroKid, you can always come back later and re-upload your songs with them or another distributor.

If you go with the option to re-upload, just make sure to note your ISRC code and upload the exact same audio file for the best chance of retaining your previous play stats and playlist adds.

DistroKid Review: Is It Worth It?

All in all, I personally use DistroKid on the Musician Plus plan and definitely think that it is worth it.

The price is fair, unlimited uploads are essential, the experience is great and the DistroKid wait times are not too shabby as well.

Plus, if good customer support is important to you, DistroKid is really great with that (although you may want to brush up on the best way to contact DistroKid for the best results).

What’s the best benefit of DistroKid?

The ability to upload unlimited songs and set release dates for them is easily the best benefit of DistroKid and is absolutely paramount to my release strategy.

I like to release a new song every 4 – 5 weeks so that I am constantly getting a chance to place in Spotify’s Release Radar playlist as well as pitch to the Spotify editors.

Plus, being able to set a release date allows me to effectively promote my song and set myself up for the best possible algorithmic push on New Music Fridays.

Because of my release strategy, the other distributors just don’t work for me because I don’t want to have to pay per song, let alone have to pay per song every single year.

Those are my thoughts based on my personal experience and a bunch of research, at least.

Hopefully, you found that helpful and are ready to get started and then learn how to check Spotify streams as they start to roll in for you.

And then?

Once those sweet, sweet streams are rolling in, you will want to properly track your stats using a Spotify Tracker For Artists.

DistroKid Alternatives

If neither the Musician nor Musician Plus plans are tickling your fancy, you may want to either take a closer look at everything else DistroKid has to offer in my big fat DistroKid review or simply look at some alternatives to DistroKid.

Popular alternatives to a music distribution service like DistroKid include TuneCore, CdBaby, Ditto, and Amuse.

If you would like to see how DistroKid compares to these services, more closely check out this articles:

P.S. If you also want to learn about music publishing and make sure that you are not leaving any money on the table with your music distribution setup, I’d recommend checking out these 2 articles:

Related Questions

Does DistroKid pay on time?

Great question! DistroKid pays out earnings within 14 days of requesting a withdrawal in the DistroKid backend. In my experience, I have indeed gotten paid within 14 days.

Learn more about this in my article on DistroKid wait times.

Does DistroKid take a cut of your money?

Another great question! DistroKid does not take a cut of your earnings – 100% of your earnings go to you. However, you will still have to pay a cut to any specific stores, like iTunes, if they are set up to take a cut.

Learn more about this topic, by checking out my article: Does DistroKid Take A Percentage?

How does DistroKid pay you?

Another great question! DistroKid pays you via PayPal, 1 – 14 days after you request a withdrawal in their backend. Sales reports and earnings are available as soon as the streaming platform or store makes them available (usually there is a 3-month delay).

To learn how much money you stand to make, check out my article: How Much Does Spotify Pay Per Stream.

If you want to take that one step further and calculate how much you would make for a specific amount of streams, check out the Spotify Royalty Calculator.

Some of my favorite music marketing tools

Thank you for reading this article, my friend, and I hope you found it helpful as you build your own successful career in music. 🙂

Here is a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist.

Any of the paid services or tools listed here are most likely affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a small commission.

But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I personally use, love, and recommend to anyone – including my own friends and family.

Music Distribution

To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.

If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the in-depth DistroKid review that I’ve put together.

Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.

Facebook Ads For Spotify Success

Although Facebook Ads can be a real pain to get working properly, there is no denying that they are incredible for growing Spotify streams and getting your music in front of real fans.

This is why I’ve put together a completely free course that you can check out called Facebook Ads For Musicians’ Spotify Streams. 🙂

Music Publishing Royalties Collection

For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.

Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.

To learn if Songtrust is right for you, I’d recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.

And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, I’d recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price. 🙂

Website & Smart Links

I’m personally not a big fan of the link-in-bio and smart links for music pages like ToneDen and Hyppeddit.

Instead, I prefer having a full-blown WordPress website that allows me to have a full website in addition to unlimited music links.

For getting started with this, I really like Bluehost because it is the cheapest and a theme called Thrive Themes because it is the most flexible and easiest to use.

I’ve actually created a free Smart Links Course that you can take to learn how to get set up and start getting more streams with custom smart links (I’ve even included the templates I am using!).

Want more tools and resources for your music career?

If you’d like to see even more of my favorite marketing tools and resources for musicians and music artists, I’ve created an even larger list on this page: Best Marketing Tools & Resources For Musicians (& Music Artists).

P.S. There are even some free tools and resources included on that page as well! 🙂

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