So you’ve got your music recorded and you’re ready to start releasing it. The great thing about being an indie artist today is you DON’T have to go through a record label and print physical CDs or release your music online. You can do it on your own!
If you want to release your music to iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon, and other major online stores, there are a few different companies you can pay to distribute your music online. Here's a quick comparison of the top three:
Distrokid is by far the cheapest way to release your music online. You can upload unlimited tracks and albums for $19.99/year. You get to keep 100% of the sales. Distrokid is what I use, and I love it!
CD Baby charges a one-time fee of $9.95/single and $49/album, but they also take 9% of your sales. There are no yearly fees, but as you build your fanbase, that 9% might turn into a pretty large amount of money you’re missing out on.
Other ways to release your music
There are more distributors out there, but be careful choosing a smaller company, because a one-time fee to release your music won’t be quite as valuable to you if the company goes under within two years. (Which has happened with a few of them.)
You can also release your music independently (on your website) or on bandcamp, and you'll get a higher percentage of the sales. If you choose to go that route, I'd recommend putting your music on major platforms as well. It can help new fans discover your music AND it'll make you look more legitimate as an artist.
TIP: Once you’ve released your album, try submitting it to Pandora. It’s a really easy application process and they accept a lot of indie artists. It can take about 6 months to get your music approved and reviewed, but once it’s up, it’s a great way to get your music in front of new listeners. Plus, you’ll also get royalties every time your song is played (More info on royalties in How To Get Started As A Singer-Songwriter)
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