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DistroKid Review 2023: True Costs & Downsides Exposed

By Matthew Vultaggio

November 23, 2023

In this DistroKid review, we‘ll go over the music distribution service‘s features, pros and cons to find out if they are worth trusting to get your music on streaming services quickly, affordably, and properly.

Here’s everything you need to know about DistroKid in a nutshell:

DistroKid is the leading choice for artists that want a simple and fast music distribution service to release and collect royalties for original tracks and cover songs. Although the core price is affordable there are several hidden costs that users dislike.

I’ve used DistroKid to release music since 2019 and have tested all their plans myself – so I have firsthand experience in knowing if DistroKid is legit & really worth it for artists.

DistroKid Pros & Cons in 2023

Here are DistroKid’s pros and cons for artists, managers, and labels in 2023:

DistroKid ProsDistroKid Cons
Fast, unlimited song uploadsHave to stay subscribed to keep your music online
Low annual feesLots of hidden costs and “optional extras”
They don’t take a cut of your earningsPoor customer support
Easy to collaborate & share royaltiesBloated, unuseful features (ie: DistroVid, Mixea, etc)
Super simple cover song licensing

To get started with DistroKid for the lowest possible price, click here to save on your plan.

How Trustworthy Is DistroKid?

DistroKid has earned a reputation for being trustworthy within the music distribution industry. It is known for its affordable pricing, straightforward services, and the transparency of its business practices.

DistroKid’s excellent 4.7 Trustpilot rating as of October, 2023.

The main reason that over 2 million artists use and trust DistroKid is that they were one of the first distribution platforms to move from a pay-per-upload model to an unlimited annual fee model.

Although over 2 million artists trust DistroKid as a pioneer in shifting from pay-per-upload to a flat annual fee, there are 3 things worth noting:

  • Many DistroKid users have taken issue with their hidden fees, poor customer support
  • Several other distribution companies have adopted the same unlimited uploads model as DistroKid at cheaper prices and without the extra paid features
  • DistroKid quietly increased prices in 2023 without any warning or improvements to their service

The bottom line:

DistroKid is a great music distributor that is trusted by over 2 million artists. However, there are hidden fees and poor customer support that users should be aware of.

What’s It Like To Upload Music To DistroKid?

DistroKid is a music distribution service that launched in 2013 that lets artists upload their music to streaming services like Spotify and collects any royalties from when their music is streamed.

To get started with DistroKid, the first thing you need to do is create an account and choose a plan:

Note: DistroKid’s pricing is advertised to be priced monthly but is actually billed annually.

For help choosing the right plan, check out my complete DistroKid Pricing Guide for a breakdown of the costs and features of each plan so you can pick the right plan for you.

Next, all you need to do is click “Upload” in the navigation bar and complete the simple form:

You then input your artist or band name and DistroKid will even create your Spotify artist profile if you are new to releasing music online:

The rest of their music distribution form is extremely straightforward with DistroKid including lots of tips and additional info as you input your song name, release date, and other track information as well as upload your audio file and artwork.

Benefits Of Using DistroKid

The main benefit of using DistroKid is that you get fast and unlimited song uploads for a small annual fee without DistroKid taking a cut of your revenue.

And that really sums up the benefits of using DistroKid: they get the basics SO right by providing a fast, simple, and reliable music distribution service at an affordable price.

In my experience, I’ve had songs appear on Spotify in less than 2 days with the most time being around 3 or 4 days – it’s actually super awesome how fast DistroKid gets your music distributed.

DistroKid cover song licensing also allows you to easily distribute cover songs without having to track down, obtain, and manage the appropriate cover licenses all by yourself.

Personally, I’ve also benefited from how easy DistroKid makes it to release and share the royalties for collaborative tracks and albums thanks to their DistroKid Splits feature.

What Are The Downsides To DistroKid?

The main downsides to using DistroKid are that they have too many extra paid features and poor customer support.

Although these downsides are easy to get around, I want to take some time to go over the most common downsides to using DistroKid so you can have the smoothest music distribution experience possible.

DistroKid’s Hidden Fees Explained

One of the biggest complaints that are raised against DistroKid is a concern with hidden fees.

Although DistroKid doesn’t technically have any hidden fees and does not charge you extra to get your music released, there are 3 specific things all artists should be aware of:

  1. There may be standard bank fees, taxes, and PayPal transfer fees that you may need to pay when you withdraw your money from DistroKid.
  2. You need to be on the “Musician Plus” plan to be able to set a release date for your music
  3. DistroKid has several extra paid add-ons that they will push on you when you are submitting your music for distribution.

I personally don’t use or recommend that anyone pays for any of these extra add-ons but I can definitely see how anyone can be upset that DistroKid chooses to charge extra for these services when other music distributors do not.

Common DistroKid Complaints

The most common complaints about DistroKid are:

  • Poor customer support
  • Extra fees for basic services
  • Having music taken off of Spotify
  • Useless services like DistroVid, Mixea, Spin The Wheel, etc
  • Account banning

I’ve personally haven’t had to contact DistroKid support often but when I did, I can confirm that the experience was either slow, unhelpful or both.

As a DistroKid user myself, I also find it annoying that there are so many extra fees and that they are spending their time and money on adding useless extra services to make more money of it’s users.

If you’re worried about any of these complaints your best bet is to simply take your time when completing the music submission form, avoid paying for any of their “optional extras” and never pay for unethical music promotion.

DistroKid Reddit Reviews: What Real Users Are Saying

Here is a roundup of positive and negative DistroKid reviews from Reddit:

Is DistroKid Worth It For YOUR Music Distribution Needs?

DistroKid is worth it for artists seeking a cost-effective, reliable, and fast service for unlimited music uploads to Spotify and other platforms.

And you wouldn’t be alone…

DistroKid claims to distribute 30-40% of new global music, serving over 2 million artists – including myself!

My Recommended DistroKid Plan

I highly recommend artists choose DistroKid’s Musician Plus plan for its custom release date feature, which really helps with music promotion for just a slightly higher cost.

However, I also recommend that artists avoid adding on any of DistroKid’s paid “extra” services to make sure they are distributing their music for the best value possible.

Which DistroKid Plan I’m Currently Using

I initially used DistroKid’s Musician plan, then switched to Musician Plus for over two years, and now use the Ultimate Plan for the extra artist slots essential for my numerous collaborations.

To get started with DistroKid for the lowest possible price, click here to save 7%.

DistroKid Vs Other Music Distribution Platforms

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

Although I personally use and recommend DistroKid, it is always worth your time to have a look at what else is out there and make your own comparisons.

DistroKid vs Tunecore

Comparing TuneCore with DistroKid is a much different beast since Tunecore has new pricing and plans available that are much more competitive with DistroKid.

Although not all of TuneCore’s plans offer the best value, I would highly recommend TuneCore’s ‘Rising Artist’ plan because it gives artists everything that they need to succeed in 2022 and beyond.

TuneCore’s founder has actually said positive things about DistroKid:

“DistroKid is simply the best distributor in the market.”

Jeff Price (via Twitter), Founder of TuneCore

DistroKid vs CD Baby

— Jeff Price (via Twitter), Founder of TuneCore

CD Baby has been around for a very long time, having been first founded in 1998. They first started in physical music distribution (like actual physical CDs) and were one of the first big companies to provide digital music distribution.

In my opinion, CD Baby is a great choice if you plan on releasing very little music and don’t play on seeing a lot of streams or sales for that music (this way you only pay once and the 9% cut doesn’t bother you).

If you’d like a more thorough look into how DistroKid compares to CD Baby, check out my article on DistroKid Vs. CD Baby. 🙂

CD Baby’s founder has also said nice things about DistroKid:

“This is amazing. I’ll be sending everyone I know to DistroKid now.”

Derek Sivers (via HackerNews), Founder of CD Baby

DistroKid vs Ditto

Ditto Music has been around since 2007, and when compared to DistroKid, they score big points with the simple fact that they do not seem to focus on trying to upsell their customers at every step of the way.

However, it is just too hard to recommend them at this point due to their poor reputation in the music community.

To learn more about Ditto Music’s reputation and how DistroKid compares to Ditto, check out my full article on DistroKid Vs. Ditto. 🙂

DistroKid vs Amuse

Amuse is a music distributor that popped up in 2015. One of the things that make Amuse stand out is that they are one of the only companies that offer a free plan without taking away a percentage of your streaming money.

Overall, Amuse has a pretty solid offering and only really falls short in the area of delivery speed. The Amuse ‘Pro’ plan is also more costly when compared to DistroKid.

To learn more about Amuse’s free plan and how DistroKid compares to Amuse, check out my full article on DistroKid Vs. Amuse.

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. 🙂

Click here to see a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 5,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist (called Best Friends Club).

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.

"Copy/Paste" Your Music Promotion with The FREE Checklist I Used To Get 3,000,000+ Spotify Streams

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