In this post I’m going to do a full, in depth DistroKid Review. I’ll cover the pros and cons of DistroKid vs the competition, how much it really costs, and just about every factor that’s worth taking a look at.
Without futher ado, onto the DistroKid Review!
Quick DistroKid Review
If you want to release a lot of music quickly and cheaply, then stop your research and just go with DistroKid. Starting at $19.99 per year, it’s a no brainer if you want your music released just about everywhere. (PS. Click Here If you fancy 7% off on DistroKid)
What is DistroKid?
DistroKid is an online digital music distribution service. It was founded in 2013 by Philip Kaplan, with the goal of making music selling and distribution as easy as possible for musicians and artists.
Fun Fact! In 2015, a song released in 2015 through DistroKid managed to reach number 1 worldwide in the iTunes charts, meaning the artists kept every penny of their royalties.
DistroKid Pricing – Is it Still the Best?
DistroKid has (had) one huge benefit when compared to a lot of the other online music distribution services, which is the price. It starts from $19.99 per year, which is close to the cheapest I have come across (apart from amuse.io). This subscription lets you, in theory, release an unlimited number of songs. If you’re like me and you release a heap of music, this makes a lot of sense. With how much music I release, it would cost at bare minimum $500 per year if I were to instead use CDBaby. Pricing used to be the main reason so many people chose DistroKid as their no-brainer pick, but with the likes of Tunecore and Landr providing much more competitive pricing than a few years ago, it isn’t quite as unique of an offering.
DistroKid Pricing – What if I Have Multiple Artist Names?
Pricing also isn’t always just $19.99 per year as you may think at first glance. Do you want your music to have YouTube Content ID? That’s $4.95 per year + 20%. Releasing to new stores? $7.95 per year. The list goes on. If these optional extras are something you think you would like to take advantage of, it might be worth looking elsewhere.
Another way DistroKid charges more money is if you have multiple artist names and projects. I run a small record label now, meaning I release music under quite a few different artist profiles, for which DistroKid charges extra. Although you can get started releasing your music for just $19.99 per year, I actually pay $79.99 as that’s the cost if you want to release music for 5 artists. This is roughly the same fee as Landr, which I also use a lot.
For this reason, where I would have given DistroKid a 10 a few years ago, it now gets an 8.
How Quickly Does DistroKid Release my Music?
This, THIS, is the reason I love DistroKid so much to this day. I am still yet to find another music distribution service that manages to push your music out quite as quickly as them. From personal experience, when I release a song through Landr, it takes 3-4 days. Soundrop typically takes a week. Distrokid, on the other hand, will sometimes get my music to Spotify within 24 hours! It’s honestly astonishing to me that I can release a 15 track album and within a day or two, Distrokid has reviewed it, sent it and got it published within such a short timeframe. This is the main reason I love DistroKid. Ignore the pricing or the ease of use, how quickly they put your music up keeps me coming back.
For Speed, I have to give Distrokid a 10. Nothing else I’ve used comes close.
How Painful is Uploading an Album Through DistroKid?
Honestly, I wish some other services made their upload forms as quick as DistroKid when it comes to uploading music. You don’t have to fill in a ridiculous number of textboxes, and the feature which lets you copy the songwriter name across all the songs is fantastic. It might seem like a little thing, but when you have to fill that exact same text box in 20 times manually, tell me that the automatic cloning isn’t useful.
I hate the upload process. It’s tedious, slow, and frustrating on all platforms. It’s got to be the worst part of being a musician. The less time I’m on that page, the better. To find out how much out of my day releasing a 5 track EP takes, I timed it with a stopwatch. On DistroKid it took just over 5 minutes. On certain other platforms, it takes 20.
If you hate the repetitive upload form as much as I do, then DistroKid is probably the least-worst option.
How Many Stores Does DistroKid Release To?
DistroKid releases to just about every digital platform you can possibly think of, with a couple of really cool ones that a lot of other platforms don’t yet offer. Firstly, Instagram and Facebook. Although the royalties you will likely get from Instagram are going to be tiny (read my article here for more on that), the more availability your songs have, the better. Points to DistroKid for that.
Releasing your song through DistroKid will also let you publish your music to Snapchat, which is pretty cool. Make sure you have 100% publishing rights before you do that though.
On top of these, it releases your song to all major digital platforms. Here’s a list:
- Apple Music
- YouTube Music
- Soundtrack by Twitch
- Many More smaller outlets
Apparently, DistroKid can release your music to 150 music platforms. Not bad at all.
DistroKid Royalties – Do They Pay Well?
DistroKid let you keep 100% of the royalties they receive. That sounds good at first, but here’s the kicker. It’s 100% of the royalties they receive. As it turns out, it seems that musicians using DistroKid may be leaving a tiny bit of money on the table. According to aristake.com, it seems that TuneCore pays slightly more on average for Spotify US Streams, but it isn’t enough of a gap that it would sway me either way.
Speaking of music royalty payouts, DistroKid pay on time, as they receive your royalties. To date I’ve earned over $45k from DistroKid, and they always pay quickly, without hassle. It’s worth bearing in mind that there is usually about a 3 month delay between when royalties are paid and when they were earned. For example, you can expect to get paid your September Spotify royalties in around December.
I haven’t noticed a particularly differing pay between any of the music distributors I’ve used, but it does at least seem like my rates are the best when using Landr.
I’ll give DistroKid a 8/10 for Royalties.
Can I Release a Cover Song Through DistroKid?
DistroKid makes it pretty easy to release a cover song, for an extra cost. They get a licence for you and automatically pay the original songwriter their cut of royalties. I haven’t personally released any cover songs, but DistroKid is pretty well regarded by cover artists.
Can I Get Verified on Spotify Through DistroKid?
Yes! And here’s how.
Click Goodies -> Special Access -> Spotify for Artists.
This will then ask you to sign in to your Spotify account and this will give you full access to some really neat extra statistics, and you get a nice blue tick next to your name. Logging into Spotify Artists lets you customise your profile picture, background and add a bio.
Who Should Use DistroKid?
If you find yourself aligning to some or all of the following, you will probably really like DistroKid if you:
- Make a lot of music
- Release a lot of music
- Don’t like paying a lot for distribution
- Release music under multiple different artist names
- Run a small record label
- Want your music on Instagram or Facebook
- Want your music on Snapchat
- Don’t really care about YouTube Content ID
- Want to get verified on Spotify and use Spotify Artists
Who Should Not Use DistroKid?
Moving on from who DistroKid is perfect for, there are a few instances where you and DistroKid might not be a match made in heaven:
- Care about YouTube Content ID
- Only release a couple of songs per year
- Want to use a lot of the add-on premium features
- Are the kind of person who interacts with customer service a lot
DistroKid Review Conclusion – Is DistroKid Worth It?
In summary – YES! Although in a few instances you may want to use a different music distribution company, I have no complaints with DistroKid. I’ve released hundreds of songs through them, and they release quickly, pay royalties on time, and very rarely get in the way between you and your fans.
So there you have it, DistroKid is still a fantastic platform and although there is a lot tougher competition than a few years ago, I will continue to happily recommend DistroKid to almost all musicians.
If you do fancy giving DistroKid a try, click here for 7% off 😉
Disclosure. I do receive a kickback if you get a DistroKid subscription, but this review is as unbiased as possible. I’ve used a ton of different services and DistroKid genuinely is really good.