TuneCore vs DistroKid

Updated: Jul 29



You've likely come this post because you want to see who is better.


Is it DistroKid or Tunecore?

We're going to give you an honest and impartial view of both so you can make your own opinion to see which one is better for you.


One our artists, Chares Cleyn, has also distributed his music on both platforms and has written and extensive post on TuneCore vs DistroKid. We recommend you check that you too.


There are a lot of things that come into play with choosing the right music distributor so let's structure this post:


1. Price


2. Behind the Scenes


3. Features


4. Pros and Cons


Let's first get on the same page.


What is a music distributor?


Basically, they get your music on streaming services. For example, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal. Pretty much all the services out there! They're the middleman you bring your song to and they're gonna upload it to a variety of streaming services of your choice. In return, they will pay you the music royalties that you earn from streaming. DistroKid and Tunecore both pay 100% of royalties.


If you're only looking at how to get your music uploaded to Spotify, then please check out this article.


How Much Do They Cost?


Let's start with Tunecore and then we'll get into DistroKid.


Tunecore charges you $10.00 to release 1 single. If you would like to release an album it is $30.00 for the 1st year and then $50.00 the following years.



Tunecore also has distribution credits. For example, you can purchase credits to get a small discount on bulk single releases. See the chart below.


Tunecore distribution credits for pricing
Tunecore Distribution Credits

Let's jump over to DistroKid.


DistroKid has three plans. The smallest plan costs $20.00/year for unlimited music releases. The next plan costs $36.00/year with unlimited releases and some extra features. The top plan costs $80.00/year and includes unlimited music releases. The top plan is mostly made for independent labels.


DistroKid Pricing Plan Optios
DistroKid Pricing Plans

The biggest limitations on DistroKid's Musician plan at $20.00/year is the inability to customize your release date and customize your label name. This can be significant if you're an independent musician and you're running a marketing campaign you cannot customize your release date.


So if you're a serious musician then you'll likely jump to DistroKid's Musician plus plan at $36.00/month. Here is where you'll have more options to customize your release date, customize your label name. Add a pre-order. Have 2 artists. Plus more.


So, let's do a comparison.


What's cheaper? What's better?


Well, let's say on average, as an independent musician, you would likely purchase the musician plus plan on DistroKid since you'll want to customize your release name and label name. Okay so let's say you're spending $36.00/year.


On Tunecore, if you want to release one song then you''ll be paying $10.00/year.


Therefore, we can immediatley see that if you just want to release one song a year. Well, Tunecore is going to be less expensive. It's ten dollars for one song vs DistroKid where you will spend $20.00/year.


Now, you might be asking yourself, well, sure, but I want to release many songs per yera!


So, if you're likely wanting to release more than one song then you can still remain on the $36.00/year plan on DistroKid. On Tunecore, you could release an album which is 10 songs for a total of $30.00/year. However, after the first year it bumps up to $50.00 a year. The difficult piece is, who releases albums anymore? Most independent musicians are focused on releasing singles.


You can also dive into the Distribution credits on Tunecore that we discussed above to lower your cost even more.


So, it really depends on how much music you will release per year.


If you know for a fact that you want to releases 50 songs per year then the answer is obvious. DistroKid would be cheaper.


Decide how much music you want to release per year and this will help you choose what platform is right for you.


If you would like a more detailed look on DistroKid pricing then you can check out this super detailed article by Best Friends Club that dive deep into pricing. If you would like more information on Tunecore pricing, the team over at Music Distribution Guru has put together this great informational article.


Behind The Scenes Look


Let's get a bit of a behind the scenes look if you've never seen what it looks like behind the curtain on DistroKid and Tunecore.


Let's start with DistroKid.


DistroKid Homepage
DistroKid Homepage

From the first time visiting DistroKid's website you'll notice that it's super user friendly and easy to navigate around. You can't get lost. It looks like they keep it super simple so they can force you to sign up.


Unfortunately, you cant' see the DistroKid pricing page until you sign up. Luckily, we have many accounts so we'll show you the pricing page below:


All Of DistroKid Pricing Plan Options
Inside the DistroKid Pricing Page

At the top menu, you'll a few different options you can check out:


DistroKid Main Website Navigation Bar
DistroKid Main Navigation Bar

Upload: This is where you will upload your music.


My Music: Here is where you'll see your catalog that you've uploaded


Splits: This is a feature that allows you to split your music royalties with your co-writers.


Stats: This is straightforward. On this page you get statistics of your music.


Bank: I think this is everyone's favourite page. This is where you get paid!


Goodies: This page has a variety of different added features or bells and whistles. For example, a hyperfollow page. This page includes links to sort people to their desired streaming service. It also acts as a Spotify pre-save campaign page that you can market before your release.


Let's take a deep dive on the music upload section so you know what to expect. Tthis is the process of actually what you would do to get your song on the streaming services.


It's quite straightforward. Let's go through it now.


You'll need to decide what music streaming services you would like to distribute to. By default, they are all clicked. Here you can also choose how many songs you plan to release and if these songs are released yet too.


How To Upload Your Music To DistroKid
Uploading Your Music To DistroKid

Next, you'll want to fill out our artist name, your release date, a potential pre-order date, your record label (you can put your own name here if you want too), and your album artwork.


How you can upload your artwork and release date on distrokid
Uploading Your Artwork and Release Date On DistroKid

Next, you'll want to make sure to fill out the right genre of your music. Although, it may not seem important, the music streaming services use this information to properly catalog your songs.


Listing the styles of genres on DistroKid
Genres of Music on DistroKid

The next section is where you will upload your song. You'll need the title of your song and to declare if there are any featured artists as well. You'll noticed you will also include any other songwriters that need their credit too.


How you can upload your song title and song on distrokid
Uploading Your Song Title and Song on DistroKid


The next stage is fairly simple. It's a list of simple and short answers. For example, does your

music contain explicit lyrics or is this an instrumental song?



DistroKid asking if the song has explicit lyrics, for a preview time and if it's an instrumental
Explicit Lyrics, Instrumental, and Preview Time on DistroKid

At this point, you're pretty much done but DistroKid will try and upsell you on their extra bonus features. Take a minute and go through them. Some are fairly descent but some are just quick cash grabs. For instance, the youtube content id feature or the shazam feature, we think are worthwhile features. However, the store maximizer or loudness normalization seem like extra cash grabs that aren't essential.


DistroKid Bonus Features
DistroKid Bonus Features

Now you'll have to go through the legal stuff. Be sure to have a solid understanding of this before committed and clicking yes.


Accepting DistroKid's Terms and Distribution Agreement
DistroKid's Terms and Distribution Agreement

Once you've finished this. You're done. Sit back and wait between 2-10 days and your music will be uploaded. (Or whatever release date you've chosen).


Sidetip: Once your music is upload to your music distributor, you should also think about selling it on an online service like Shopify. Here's a great article if you'd like to learn more.


Let's dive into what it looks like on Tunecore now.



Right away when you go to Tunecore you'll notice that it's not a simple design like DistroKid. There's more to read and look at. For example, you can see the pricing page before signing up which is very helpful.


Let's see what the process of uploading a song to Tunecore is like.


You'll notice as we go through the different sections of uploading a song to Tunecore that it's very similar to DistroKid too. This goes for all music distributors. They're all asking for similar types of information since they are all releasing to the same streaming services. For example, Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, etc.


In the first screen, Tunecore asks us for our basic information.


How you can upload a song to tunecore
Uploading a Song to Tunecore

Next, we'll continue to fill out our release date and be asked for a UPC code. Don't worry if you don't have a UPC code. Tunecore will generate one for you. However, if you've released your song before and you are transferring your song over to Tunecore from another distributor then you'll need to carry over the UPC code as well.


Choosing your release time and date on tunecore
Choosing Your Release Time and Date on Tunecore

Just like in DistroKid, we'll have to make sure we give proper credit to any of the other songwriters involved. And of course, this is where you would upload your song to Tunecore.


Adding your song title and uploading your song
Uploading Your Song and Song Title

Just like the UPC code, Tunecore will ask if you already have an ISRC code. Don't worry if you don't have one since Tunecore will also generate this code for you. However, if you're transferring your song over from another distributor then make sure to copy the exact ISRC code over as well. This is important because the ISRC code tracks the number of streams on a song.


Have no idea what an ISRC code or UPC code is at all? No problem. This is a great video that will help you explain, what an ISRC code is.


Adding your song lyrics and ISRC code on Tunecore
Lyrics and ISRC Code on Tunecore

You'll have to upload your artwork to Tunecore. Make sure that your artwork is 3000 x 3000 pixels. A lot of our artists use Canva. It's a free service that can help you design your album artwork. t

Uploading your album artwork to tunecore
Uploading Your Album Artwork to Tunecore

Features


Let's talk about some of the features now and compare Tunecore vs DistroKid. Let's answer the question, who comes out on top when it comes to features?


Distrokid isn't really feature rich. They are really simple and get your music on the streaming services. However, they do offer a little bit extra. Most of these extra features are located in the Goodies drop down in the main navigation.


Some potential features on DistroKid
DistroKid Feature Navigation

The first few features are under Get Heard Now and they have to do with helping you get your music heard.


Different Options That DistroKid Helps You Get Heard
Get Heard Now DistroKid Features

The first feature, slaps, is a social network that shares independent artists music. You can kind of think of it like a smaller Soundcloud. It's a good feature to share your music in order to get feedback. However, if you're planning to blow up on slaps, don't count on it.


Playlist Spotlight and Wheel of Playlist give you different opportunities to vote on songs that should be featured on DistroKid's playlists and allow you the opportunity to pitch your song to DistroKid's playlists as well. Their playlists have significant followings but we are unaware if the listener base is truly active.


DistroKid Wheel of Playlist Feature
DistroKid Wheel of Playlist

DistroKid Playlist Spotlight Feature
DistroKid Playlist Spotlight


Below are a few examples of DistroKid's Spotify playlists, if you want to see them all you can go to their Spotify profile here.

Some examples of DistroKid Spotify Playlists
DistroKid's Spotify Playlists

If we go to the next dropdown window under Promote Yourself you'll see there are a number of other features too.


Example features of how DistoKid helps with music promotion
DistroKid Promote Yourself Features

Our favourite feature out of all of these is the DistroKid hyperfollow link. This link is very valuable to direct listeners to their preferred streaming service. But also, this hyperfollow link gives you the opportunity to run a Spotify presave campaign for any upcoming single.


Here is an example of a DistroKid hyperfollow link for the artist Charles Cleyn.



Let's talk about Tunecore now and some of the features Tunecore offers.


One of the biggest features that is offered by Tunecore has to be Tunecore Music Publishing. If you've never heard of music publishing, that's okay, we'll go over it below.


Tunecore Music Publishing Feature
Tunecore Music Publishing

What is Music Publishing?


You can think of music publishing as someone helping you collect money that you own. Sounds pretty good, right? Yes, we think so too. Let's keep going though...


When you write a song and your song is played on the radio. Or in a café, on the internet, or out loud in public, this triggers a music royalty. Which means you get paid for it. It doesn't matter where it happens, it can be anywhere in the world.


So, how do you know if your song is being played in a café in Spain?


Well, you don't. But a music publisher will. See where we're going with this?


If you work with a music publisher they will help collect and organize all the royalties that your music is making. The only other alternative is if you do it yourself and that can include a lot of time and headaches.


Tunecore offers this as a service which is hugely beneficial if you think your music will be played at a global scale.


Here's how much Tunecore will charge if you want to sign up for their music publishing service.




All things considered, this is a good price and a standard rate with regards to other music publishing services out there.


So what other features does Tunecore have?


Tunecore also offers another large feature called Tunecore Social.




Tunecore Social is an all in one solution for social media management. Post to your social media, get stats and insights, and get provided customer links. (very similar to DistroKid hyperfollow). This will allow you to run Spotify pre save campaigns and route your fanbase to their preferred streaming service.


Tunecore linkshare feature
Tunecore LinkShare Feature


Tunecore social could be a really big benefit for you if you'd like to have all your social media management in one place. This can sometimes save a lot of headaches from having to use multiple different social media apps. Have everything organized in one place.


Is Tunecore Social for everyone?


Not really. If you have experience with music marketing and you'd prefer to manage your social media independently then we would recommend not paying for the Tunecore social feature.


How much does it cost?


Tunecore social has two different options. Free and paid. With the free plan you're limited to the features but this will help you get an understanding of what the platform is like. With the paid option you'll be able to fully automate posts to Facebook and Twitter, get acces to a photo editor, and more. See below.


Tunecore social pricing plans
Tunecore Social Pricing Plans


What About Youtube Content ID?


Youtube Content ID is offered on both DistroKid and Tunecore. However, each service prices their youtube content ID service differently.


What is Youtube Content ID?


Youtube Content ID makes sure that you get paid if anyone uses your song on Youtube. For example, let's say you release a song on Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, and every other streaming service.


Now let's say, a vlogger, let's call her Sandy. Sandy goes and makes a travel vlog video about her time in Rome and she downloads your song and uses it in her Youtube video. If you pay for, Youtube Content ID, your song will be recognized and they'll tell Sandy that she must split any ad revenue that she makes from this video.


If Sandy is signed up for video monetization and she has a big channel then it could be a significant amount. Which is great for you! Youtube Content ID means you can rest assure that you will get paid if anyone uses your song on Youtube.


When it comes to Youtube Content ID, who is better, DistroKid or Tunecore?


Well, essentially it's the exact same service. Just a different price. Both of them act the same as they're offering the service from Youtube itself.


DistroKid offers a Youtube Content ID plan that costs a $5.00/year and then giving a 20% share of all revenue that you make from Youtube.


DistroKid youtube content id service pricing
DistroKid Youtube Content ID Service

Tunecore offers a Youtube Content ID plan that costs a $10.00 setup fee and then giving a 20% share of all revenue that you make from Youtube.