Do you want your music to be released to Spotify, Apple Music, Tiktok and pretty much everywhere you can imagine? Although there isn’t an “upload music” button on most of these sites, it is possible to get your songs on these platforms without paying huge sums of money or working with a record label trying to take a huge cut of your royalties. The way I have released over 1000 songs over the span of 4 years, without a single record label getting involved is through a number of affordable platforms, known as music distribution services. Ready to release music on Spotify? Let’s get into it!
Why Would I Release Music on Spotify?
According to Company Published data, Spotify has over 365 million monthly active users. That’s a massive pool of music fans whose attention you might just manage to grab! The more places your music is accessible, the greater the likelihood of a person discovering you is. Some of the most powerful tools for growth as a musician are built directly into the system, such as public playlists and the “Fans also like” section at the bottom of artist profiles. I wonder how many new fans these artists got after Interplanetary Criminal recently exploded in popularity?
What is a Music Distribution Service?
A music distribution service (or at least a good one) does all of the back-breaking heavy work when it comes to releasing your music to all major digital music platforms. In essence, they all have a very similar workflow, but you will need to choose a platform that is right for you. Every year, new companies pop up in this sector as the digital music industry continues to boom. For the sake of this tutorial, I will be using DistroKid to show you how it’s done. In all honesty, I’ve used more than 5 services for countless releases over the years and I keep coming back to them. It’s cheap at $19.99 per year for unlimited releases, and they don’t take a cut of your royalties.
Psst…. if you fancy 7% off your DistroKid subscription, sign up here.
Okay, all ready? Let’s get to releasing your first song!
What Do I Need to Have to Release my First Song to Spotify?
So you’ve got your Distrokid account set up, what else are you going to need to get your release accepted and distributed to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and just about everywhere else?
I’ve come up with a quick checklist to go through, which should hopefully save a bit of time when it comes to finally uploading your song:
- Your Mastered Song – You will want to export it as a WAV file. DistroKid does let you upload songs in other file formats but I would recommend choosing as high a quality audio file as possible.
- Your Album Cover – Same rules apply here. I would recommend a 3000x3000px PNG or JPG. As long as when you zoom in a little and it isn’t super pixelated, you should be fine.
- No Copyrighted Material in your Album Cover – It might be tempting to steal an image off google images and just use that, but I would discourage it. If you want your release to go as smoothly as possible, ideally go for a completely original cover or at least make sure you are using images you have rights to.
- No Unauthorised Samples in your Song – it might be tempting to sample some groovy old funk song, or a beautiful acapella and simply cross your fingers and hope no one notices, but streaming platforms are getting pretty quick at identifying elements of a song that might not be original. Be prepared to be challenged in an email and asked for licences if you have used other people’s content in your song. If you don’t believe me, here’s what happens if you get caught – It’ll just get removed.
- Parental Advisory – If your song contains swearing or themes that aren’t appropriate for kids, it’s a requirement that you add a parental advisory notice on the album cover. I’m sure you have seen them before, but if you need to copy and paste one, I’ve added one below:
Uploading Your Song Through DistroKid
Don’t worry if you ended up choosing another service, the process is pretty much identical on each one.
To start, click on the Upload button at the top of the site.
Now that you’re on the upload page, take a look at the “Services” section. Your music is about to be released on a bunch of platforms! By default, the Snapchat one is unchecked. If you own 100% of the publishing rights to your song, then go ahead and tick the box for Snapchat too.
If this is your first ever release, then go ahead and Enter your artist name in the textbox. If another artist has the same name, make sure to select that you don’t have a profile, and it will create a new one for you.
Next up, the Album Cover. Distrokid have quite helpfully listed off a few requirements to help you out.
Make sure you try and add a genre and a secondary genre to the song, as it can help platforms with recommending it to the right people.
Make sure you specify whether the lyrics in your song are explicit or not, and also if your song is instrumental.
Finally, if any of the optional extras appeal to you, go ahead and tick them off. I don’t personally, but the YouTube Content ID option can be good if you think people might use your song in their videos.
If you agree with all the checkboxes at the bottom, you’re all set. Click upload and within a few days (If it gets through the checking process) your music will be everywhere!
So there you have it. That’s how to upload your first song to Streaming Services. Now that you’ve got your first single out, go ahead and get busy on your next release!
I hope this has been helpful to those of you who are new to releasing music to digital platforms.