Updated: Jul 29, 2022
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:
2. Behind the Scenes
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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
At the top menu, you'll a few different options you can check out:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Now you'll have to go through the legal stuff. Be sure to have a solid understanding of this before committed and clicking yes.
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.