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How To Pick The Best Distributor / Digital Aggregator For Spotify

By Matthew Vultaggio

June 1, 2021

If you’re looking for the best music distributor or digital aggregator that works best for finding success in Spotify, I’ve researched this topic quite in-depth, released a bunch of music myself, and wrote my findings down here for you.

DistroKid is the best music distributor and digital aggregator for Spotify because, for a small annual fee, you get fast unlimited song uploads while getting to keep 100% of your income.

Most of the other music distributors and digital aggregators either charge per song (which can add up and doesn’t make sense for any artist trying to succeed on Spotify) or take a cut of any earnings your music might make.

Straight up… when I first wanted to get my music on Spotify a few years ago and saw that THOSE were the industry-standard prices to get on Spotify, I assumed I couldn’t afford to properly distribute my music until DistroKid came along.

Check out my article on DistroKid pricing to learn more about their costs and how you can pick the right plan for you, or keep reading if you’d like to learn more about what should go into your choice of picking a distributor and how the competition stacks up against the top distributor, my friend. 🙂

What Matters Most When Choosing A Music Distributor For Spotify

When choosing the right music distributor for Spotify, there are really only 2 things that really matter:

  1. Being able to release unlimited songs
  2. Not having to pay a percentage of your music’s income

Being able to release unlimited songs for a small annual fee is important because you need to release music frequently and not have to break the bank doing it.

Making sure that you choose a music distributor that does not steal a cut of your music’s revenue is important because you want to have as much of that money go to you when your song’s finally pop off.

These are the 2 main things you should consider when picking a music distributor.

Although it may be obvious why you do not want to give away any percentages of your music income (essentially, the more for you the better), you may be wondering why unlimited uploads are so critically important in particular.

Why unlimited uploads are SO important

Today, established and emerging artists alike live and die by their streaming numbers.

Streaming numbers, and most specifically Spotify streaming numbers, are the sign of an artist’s success in 2021.

Spotify has straight-up told everyone that to succeed on their platform, you simply need to release more music and do it frequently.

Spotify CEO, Daniel Ek, set the internet ablaze in 2020 when he mentioned that it is “not enough” for artists to release music “every three to four years” and that, “artists today that are making it realize that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans“.

…when someone tells you who they are, believe them.

And, the proof is in the pudding: by leveraging unlimited uploads and a monthly release schedule, I ended up getting one of my songs getting on over 7 Spotify editorial playlists and racking up well over 300,000 streams on Spotify.

This is exactly why unlimited song uploads are SO important. You need to drop lots of music and paying a fee for every release is old school and a rich man’s game.

DistroKid has really made it easier for anyone to get their music up and (potentially) heard.

4 Things To Consider When Choosing A Distributor For Spotify

In addition to the 2 main things I mentioned above, there are some other things that you will want to pay attention to when making your choice of music distributor. These are:

  1. Reputation: make sure that your music distributor has been around for a while, has a good track-record, and is generally well-liked and praised by the community.
  2. Delivery Speed: you should make your best effort to set your releases as far in advance as possible, but it is definitely a major plus if your music distributor can get your music uploaded quickly af.
  3. Custom Release Dates: you want to be able to set customized and specific release dates so that you can plan marketing your release appropriately.
  4. Customer Service: ideally you will never need to hit up customer service but it is always a plus when a company has great customer service. They will be able to help you when you are in trouble AND the quality of a company’s customer support gives you insight into the company’s culture and how they view their customers.

All these things could be considered “nice to have” but they can make the difference between having a good or bad experience with your music distributor in the long run.

Pro Tip: By choosing a distributor that is on Spotify’s preferred list of distributors, you know that #1 and #2 will be checked off automatically for you.

Be sure to at least consider these 4 things a bit when choosing the right music distributor for you.

3 Things To IGNORE When Choosing A Music Distributor

There are a few things that you should avoid getting caught up on or paying too much attention to when choosing a music distributor.

Some of these may actually surprise you tbh.

  1. # of streaming services and stores: what’s really important is getting your music on Spotify and Apple Music. Sure, it might be important for some artists to get their music on Abu Dhabi’s premier streaming service, but for most artists, you will see most of your streams come from Spotify.
  2. Websites / Pre-Saves / Etc: These webpages are always limited and crappy. Don’t believe the hype. Also – no one (and I really mean no one) is going to jump through all those hoops to pre-save your song.
  3. Extra promotion: if you want something right you’re going to have to do it yourself. Spinning a wheel to get on a playlist that no one is listening to that has 1,000s of artists that aren’t even the same genre as you will get you nowhere.

It can be easy to get caught up on these things but they are really just shiny objects that should be avoided. Especially the company is charging you extra for any of these things.

DistroKid pulls some of this crap too, even though they are the top music distributor that I would recommend to any artist.

Stay focused on releasing great music and releasing that great music often. That is what is most important. That is what will grow your music career.

DistroKid Alternatives

Although my top suggestion for a music distributor is definitely DistroKid, I’ve gone ahead and compared DK to other popular services in case you are in the market for a new digital distributor or are simply just curious.

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:

Or, if you would like a more detailed look into what DistroKid has to offer, you can check out my big fat DistroKid review. 🙂

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:

Music Aggregator vs Distributor

A digital music aggregator is a music distributor who focuses on releasing music on digital services like Spotify and Apple Music, compared to a music distributor which could focus on digital releases, physical releases, or both digital and physical releases.

Online music distributors and music aggregators are essentially the exact same thing since they both distribute/aggregate music digitally.

When it comes down to it, in the year 2021, they are basically the exact same thing. Look at the dictionary definitions of both of these for even more proof:

  • Aggregator: a company that negotiates with producers of a utility service such as electricity on behalf of groups of consumers
  • Distributor: an agent who supplies goods to stores and other businesses that sell to consumers

If you are wondering why a middle man is needed in the first place, check out an article I wrote about Spotify Direct Uploads to learn why you can’t just upload your music to Spotify directly. 🙂

What is an aggregator in music?

A digital music aggregator is a music distributor that focuses on releasing music on digital services like Spotify and Apple Music.

Aggregators in music distribute songs to digital stores and streaming services by charging an upfront fee or taking a percentage of any revenue earned from the artist or label.

What main service does a digital aggregator provide?

The main service that a digital aggregator provides is the distribution of an artist’s music to online stores like iTunes and digital streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.

Digital aggregators also handle sending over digital rights information such as copyright and publishing rights to online stores and streaming services, so that artists and labels can later collect on music publishing rights that they are owed.

To learn more about music publishing, check out my article on SongTrust pricing to learn about how publishing works and how you can easily collect your music publishing royalties. 🙂

Digital aggregator examples

Examples of digital aggregators include DistroKid, CD Baby, TuneCore, and Ditto Music.

Here are some links where you can learn more about popular digital music aggregators:

Is Spotify A Music Aggregator?

Spotify is not a music aggregator but is instead classified as a “Digital Service Provider” (DSP) as it is a streaming service that provides its users access to songs, albums, and podcasts. In comparison, music aggregators are companies that distribute music to digital service providers like Spoitfy or Apple Music.

Can I Distribute My Own Music?

It is not possible to distribute your own music unless you have established a partnership with the online store or streaming service that you would like to distribute your music to. The easiest way to get your music distributed to online stores and streaming services is to partner up with a digital music distributor that has already established these partnerships.

To learn more about how you can easily get your music distributed, check out my article on How To Upload To Spotify As An Artist. 🙂

Here are some links where you can learn more about popular music distributors that have already established partnerships with popular streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music:

How Do I Release A Song Without A Label?

To release a song without a label, all you need to do is sign up with a music distributor and submit your music through them. Digital music distributors like DistroKid have already established partnerships with popular online stores and streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.

Thankfully, it is a lot cheaper and easier to release music without a label today compared to 5 or 10 years ago due to new music distribution companies like DistroKid offering unlimited song uploads for a small annual fee.

In the past, music distributors would charge artists a fee per song that had to be repaid every single year – which really adds up and made proper music distribution a challenge for the every day artist.

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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