If you want your music to be available on popular music stores, apps and streaming sites like iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify, you will be needing an online distributor to submit to these outlets for you. You don’t need a major label to release your songs to the world! Popular distributors for unsigned artists include companies like TuneCore and CDBaby, who charge a small fee around $20 per song or CD added, and/or as a small yearly fee. Some smaller, lesser-known companies offer free distribution! These companies will keep all your statistical data on who is buying your singles and album while distributing scheduled payments from the sales to your desired payment account.
There are 3 common codes you may come across while you are in the process of distributing your music: UPC, EAN, and ISRC codes. UPC codes are Universal Product codes; bar codes used to track items that are for sale. This term is also interchangeable with the EAN code (European Article Number). The UPC/EAN is used to identify an album as a whole. The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is used to identify an individual song or music video. Your album will include one UPC/EAN codes and multiple ISRC codes.
There are tons of music distribution companies popping up these days, but here are the top recommended choices:
TuneCore is one of the largest and first online music distribution companies to hit the net. They currently charge a flat fee of $10 for single tracks and $30 for albums. They don't take any parts of the royalties received for your songs and can usually get your project ready to sell on all of their outlets within 4 weeks. They also provide UPC codes for free.
CD Baby is another industry giant that distributes a large share of creations that are made in the independent music world. CD baby pays their artists weekly and charges a flat fee of $13 per song and $49 per album. They also charge a 10% royalty commission fee.
Distrokid brings something new to the music distribution world by charging a flat fee of $19 per year for an unlimited amount of songs. No matter if you distribute 1 song or 100 songs, they only charge $19 per year! Distrokidd also doesn't take any parts of your royalty earnings. Created by musician Philip Kaplan, this service is highly recommended for artists on a budget.
Ditto music fuses some of the best options above together to create a variety of options for independent music creators. They have an option of distributing a single for $9, album for $29, and unlimited amounts of releases for $79 all while taking no royalty commissions.
Mondotunes (newly names Octiive) is another distribution company that was started by an indie musician that has the music-makers pockets in mind. With Mondotunes, you can distribute an unlimited amount of songs for a flat fee of $39.99 per year. You also keep 100% of your rights and ownership and get free UPC codes.