Getting Your Music on Spotify: All You Need To Know

A picture of a man with headphones on, smiling and holding his phone in his hand: Getting your music on Spotify
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

As a record label, an independent artist, or an upcoming artist, if you’re still contemplating on getting your music on Spotify, then there’s no better time than now. There’s a lot of hype about music streaming subscription services provided by brands like Spotify these days. Many believe this new trend will change the face of the music business, while some are yet to get convinced. We often get to hear some artists complain about how streaming platforms have low royalty rates, and they seem to be shortchanging the music industry’s potential. However, most of those artists that complain are mainstream artists. They probably are already used to high-income earning and want the same return from streaming services.

They don’t know or have failed to acknowledge that with the increase in acceptance of streaming services comes the desired increase in the number of users, which automatically translates to a rise in income. Going by the statistics dated February 2021, Spotify is said to have nothing less than 340 million active users every month. Out of the 340 million, over 150 million users are paying subscribers. Not only that, there are over 60 million songs on the Spotify library, and users have created over four billion different playlists. By now, you should see why you need to get your music on Spotify. But first, you need to find a suitable Spotify music distributor.

Who is a Spotify Music Distributor?

As a record label or an independent artist wanting to get your music on Spotify, you must go through a music distributor. That’s because Spotify, by design, only accepts content uploaded through these music distributors. These distributors are separate from the Spotify brand that helps handle music licensing, distribution, and pay artist or labels streaming royalties. The distributor you choose must meet Spotify’s anti-infringement measures and high standards metadata.

Note that most distributors charge a fee or commission to help you with Getting Your Music on Spotify and other services. Therefore, there’s uniqueness in how each Spotify distributor offers its services. You will need to research before you choose a distributor. But, if you’re signed to a label, you will not need to worry over choosing a distributor because your label will do all that for you—most record labels already have a distributor they use.

Some Preferred and Recommended Spotify Distributors

There are so many Spotify distributors out there, and there seem to be new ones almost every week. Therefore, which one should you choose? The answer to that question can quickly become tricky because it depends on several factors. However, the most significant factor is understanding why Getting Your Music on Spotify is essential to you. Once you can answer the “Why,” you will find a distributor that suits your needs; however, other factors are also important. 

For example, some artists need to work under a budget. For such artists, they will need a distributor that has a commission-based system or has a payment plan—there are several such distributors. Some artists may need additional services like admin publishing, music promotion, artist profile management, and several other services. Whatever you need, you will find a Spotify distributor that offers such. However, here are some top distributors identified and recommended by Spotify;

DistroKid

Amongst all, this distributor offers the easiest way for artists to get their music on Spotify. That’s because it has an easy-to-use, one-page sign-up process.  

Check out DistroKid’s features below;

  • Startup Risk: Moderate
  • Pricing: you pay $19.99 for unlimited songs and album uploads per year
  • Withdrawal Frequency: lets you request withdrawal anytime, and you get the payment within one to fourteen days after you place the withdrawal request.

Additional services: DistroKid offers the following other services on Albums;

  • Shazam and iPhone Siri: makes it easy for Spotify users to identify a particular song when they hear it is playing anywhere. It costs $0.99 for each song annually.
  • Store Maximizer: as you add your singles and songs, with this feature, DistroKid automatically delivers them to online stores and streaming services as a way of promotion.
  • YouTube Content ID: if you’re familiar with How Musicians Make Money on YouTube, you’ll know the importance of this feature. It identifies your music when used on any YouTube content and pays you for it.

Other additional services include;

  • Cover song licensing
  • Leave a legacy
  • Tidal Master
  • Social Phone, and
  • Dolby Atmos

CD Baby

CD Baby is the most trusted Spotify distributor in the market. It’s believed to offer a complete music distribution package, especially for independent artists. Currently, statistics show that it helps over 750,000 artists get their songs on Spotify. 

Some of its features include;

  • Startup Risk: Very Low
  • Pricing: 
    • $9.99 for a one-time single’s release (standard)
    • $29 for a past Album release
  • Other additional plans: check here
  • Payment Frequency: Pays once every week on Mondays
  • Additional Services:
    • Music Licensing
    • Social Video Monetization
    • Publishing Admin (with the pro plan)

This distributor is good for you if you don’t want recurring annual fees and are willing to pay up to a 9% commission from your royalty fee.

Record Union

According to Shopify, Record Union is the first independent distributor to partner with them. It’s a relationship that has lasted since 2009 and has helped several artists—especially independent musicians—to distribute their music. 

Some of its features include;

  • Startup Risk: Low
  • Royalties: Lets you keep it 100%
  • Pricing:
    • $20 per year to distribute EP
    • $15 per year to distribute singles
    • $25 per year for an Album

This pricing is subject to only those who want to distribute to all available music services. If you wish to select fewer music services, you’ll pay the lower price.

  • Additional services:
    • Opportunities such as Record union Spotify Playlist Consideration and Spotify Playlist Pitching.

Best for you if you want a distributor with excellent promotional services.

Amuse

Who doesn’t like free stuff? Amuse is that free distribution service that most musicians want. They give you your royalties in full, yet they do not charge anything to distribute your music. They generate revenue from the 50/50 deals artists sign with their label.

Some of the features they offer are;

  • Startup Risk: Moderate
  • Pricing: Using Amuse is free, but you may need to check here for further details and clarity. Know and understand what’s in it before you get yourself into it.
  • Payment Frequency: Once you have up to $10, you can withdraw your earnings anytime.
  • Additional services:
    • Label Services: This gives you the chance to be signed to the label and getting your music on Spotify on a 50/50 split.

Amuse is best for those who don’t have the budget for music distribution and those who use music as a side hustle or just a hobby. It is also suitable for you if you are willing to make a few tradeoffs in customer services, additional whistles and bells, and a mobile app in exchange for free music distribution.

TuneCore

For TrueCore, the price you pay in consecutive years after your first differs significantly. But, you get a full-service package designed to help you get enough stream that will pay you enough money to pay back the subscription cost.

Some of truecoRE’s features are;

  • Startup Risk: shallow
  • Pricing;
    • Pay $9.99 to release your singles
    • $29.99 for a one-year subscription. You get to pay $49.99 for each following year.
  • Payment Frequency: you get to request withdrawal anytime.
  • Additional Services;
    • Publishing Admins that lets you pay only one time $75, and they will let you keep your royalties in full.
    • YouTube services that let you keep 80% of your yearly revenue, and you get to pay only 10%
    • Tunecore Social: offer a free service as a starter package, and you later pay 7.99/month for her Pro Plan

TuneCore is best for those who don’t care about the budget and are willing to pay annual fees. They are one of the biggest in this business, so it is fascinating to work with such brands.

What you should know before getting your music on Spotify

It is essential, or at least so that you don’t waste your time working on unprofitable events, that you only strive to upload the music unique to you on Spotify. The platform frowns at taking other people’s intelligent work in hopes of getting a royalty for them. However, it’s understandable that there are times you want to throw your intelligence on some other artist’s work. There’s room for that, but there are ways to go about it. Some of which includes;

Copyright Authorization

 Spotify permits you to get authorization from the copyright owner for an original version of a song if you desire to make its remix. Most times, you’ll deal with the label that produced the track for this authorization, and in few cases, you deal directly with the author, publisher, or composer. Spotify will consider any music you upload as a remix if you use all of the original recording or even any part of it. There’s no problem with doing this, but make sure you get the needed permission.

Compulsory License

You need a compulsory license from a collecting society such as Songfile, etc., if you want to make the cover of a song from a United States-based writer. You may also need to make a commission payment based on the number of streams the song gathered. However, this condition is only applicable to a songwriter from the United States. If not, you can distribute the cover freely. The significant difference to the cover version of a song is that you are the performer. It must bear similarities to the original song in terms of lyrics, basic arrangement, and melody to the original version. According to Spotify, if you change any of these three things, the song is no longer a cover.

In summary, to upload a song on Spotify;

  • You have to own the master recording right to the song
  • The original owner of the song has approved you to distribute their content for royalties
  • Get the needed permission if you intend to upload a song cover or change the lyrics, basic arrangement, and melody
  • You have the right to every specification of the artwork
  • You have your name correctly spelled, so it doesn’t get mixed up with a different profile, and you begin to get penalized for it.

While Spotify supports artistic expressions and gives everyone the platform to make their voice heard—as a right, they frown vigorously at eliciting content. In other words, contents that have illegal, hateful, or explicit content. The penalty for such content is outright removal. So, aside from uploading content protected by royalties and copyright without permission from the holder, those with hateful contents that can incite racial hatred, the violence of any kind, etc., will all suffer outright removal and loss of royalties.

Conclusion

Now, that will be all we have to say about getting your music on Spotify. The process is not complex but as simple as choosing a distributor to use, creating and subscribing to the distributor’s package, uploading your music to the distributor’s platform, and watching your music go far and wide to bring you royalties. The most challenging work you would have done is to find a distributor, but we’ve done that for you in the curated list above. Check them out and pick anyone that suits your needs.

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Thomas Brownlees

Thomas Brownlees

Ever since I can remember, music has always been my passion.

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