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Does DistroKid Take A Percentage? Answered & Explained.

By Matthew Vultaggio

January 7, 2021

When comparing music distributors, you want to make sure you are getting the best deal, so naturally, you will want to know if DistroKid takes a percentage of your hard-earned Spotify dollars or not.

DistroKid does not take a percentage of your earnings. You keep 100% of your earnings, however, there may be banking fees, taxes, and PayPal transfer fees when you withdraw your money.

But.. there is a small exception to this rule.

And in natural clickbait fashion, you will have to continue reading to find out (heheh).

If you’d like to learn the ins and outs of where DistroKid stands on taking percentages, simply read on, my friend! 🙂

Does DistroKid Take A Percentage?

DistroKid does not take a percentage of your earnings.

However, they do have an extra “YouTube Money” feature that is extra and completely optional. If you do choose to opt-in to this service, DistroKid will only take 20% of the revenue from the YouTube videos they find that are using your music.

It’s important to note that you still keep 100% of the royalties that you get from having your music up on Spotify, Apple Music, and all the smaller streaming services and stores.

DistroKid simply takes a percentage if you want them to scour all of YouTube for any video using your music so that you get paid royalties for their use of your music in their video.

You should also know that if any store takes a cut (for example, iTunes takes a 30% cut), you obviously have to pay that store that cut. DistroKid will NOT take a cut on top of that.

Why this is important

This is important because the main reason you are (most likely) using DistroKid is to get your music on Spotify. Let’s be honest.

And DistroKid does not take a percentage of your Spotify royalties AND doesn’t charge you a fee per song you upload every year.

You pay the annual DistroKid fee and you get to upload unlimited songs and keep 100% of the royalties. BTW – you can save 7% on your first annual fee with DistroKid by clicking here. 🙂

A lot of other music distributors take a percentage or charge you for every song or album that you upload. And then make you pay for each song or album to stay up every single year.

So why is that a big deal?

There are two reasons, my friend:

  1. You have to pay more out of your own pocket to have songs up and don’t get as much royalty money headed your way.
  2. Uploading new music consistently (every 4 to 6 months) is one of the secrets to Spotify success.

In fact, using DistroKid in this way (uploading songs on a monthly basis) is one of the ways I caught the attention of the Spotify editors and landed my songs on 7 different Spotify editorial playlists.

How Much Does DistroKid Cost?

DistroKid costs $19.99 USD per year. However, DistroKid does have multiple plans available and even has optional extra features that you can choose to pay for.

In my opinion, the only two main plans you will want to consider are the Musician and Musician Plus plans that they offer. For a comparison of the two, check out my article, DistroKid Musician vs Musicians Plus, to help you choose the right plan.

DistroKid also offers “Label” plans, if you want to distribute music for 5 or more artists. You can check out a breakdown of their plans by clicking here.

What about these paid “extra features”?

I personally don’t even bother with these paid extras, but here is a breakdown of what DistroKid offers if you would like to know:

  • Shazam & iPhone Siri so that people can identify your music using Shazam or Siri is $0.99 per song per year
  • Store Maximizer so that DistroKid automatically adds your music to new stores as they add them is $7.95 per album per year
  • YouTube Money, as mentioned earlier in this article, is $4.95 per single per year / $14.95 per album per year AND 20% of YouTube ad revenue.
  • Leave a Legacy so that your music stays on all streaming services and stores if you stop paying the DistroKid annual fee or you die, is $29 per single and $49 per album.
  • Cover Song Licensing so that you don’t have to worry about legal stuff like obtaining licenses for your cover songs is $12 per cover song per year.

In my opinion, none of these things are really essential and I don’t bother with any of them when I am releasing my own music. But, at least you know they exist and how much they cost just in case. 🙂

What Royalties Does DistroKid Collect?

DistroKid only collects the money owed from your music’s sales on stores and streams from streaming services. This money could be looked at as Spotify royalties or streaming royalties, and are technically called mechanical royalties.

However, DistroKid does not automatically collect additional royalties such as songwriting royalties and performance royalties.

Publishing companies such as SongTrust or Kobalt can collect all your songwriting royalties and performance rights organizations (PRO) collect your performance royalties.

Performance rights organizations are usually specific to each country. Examples of PROs include:

  • ASCAP
  • BMI
  • SESAC
  • SOCAN

If you are starting to grow your Spotify streams, you should definitely look into properly collecting your performance and songwriting royalties.

It may not be a lot at first, but you are definitely leaving money on the table by ignoring the additional royalties you are owed.

If you’ve ignored these royalties up to this point, fret not, my friend. In most cases, these companies can collect the royalties you are owed retroactively. This means you will collect the previous royalties you are owed once you get set up.

How Does DistroKid Make Money?

DistroKid makes money by charging an annual fee to use their service and by charging for smaller optional features.

In a Reddit forum, the question “How does DistroKid make money?” gets brought up and the founder quite simply and bluntly addresses the question:

It’s actually a pretty funny and direct response to the question haha.

If you are looking for more detail, a Redditor also mentioned that the company stays in business by keeping employee counts low and not taking on any external investors.

This would mean that is very clear that DistroKid simply makes their money and stays in business by charging its users to use their service.

Simple as that.

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.

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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