As an underground artist, one of your main goals is to build a constantly increasing audience. This can be challenging, especially without having an experienced manager. With the current state of the music industry, lots of artists are, understandably, steering away from signing contracts with record labels, for fear of losing ownership of work and not being able to continue to put out genuine art.
What underground artists struggle with doing today is making their content accessible to people all over the world. SoundCloud is a beautiful place to start, but as popularity increases, it is important to make music accessible on all streaming platforms so that they can be incorporated in emerging apps like Tik Tok and Triller, and to also be incorporated in new social media features like Instagram‘s music sticker.
However, releasing music on streaming platforms isn’t as easy as going to their website, you have to go through a Music Distribution Company (MDC).
What is a Music Distribution Company?
A Music Distribution Company signs deals with record labels or artists which then gives them the right to sell their music to shops. The distributing company acts as a middle man between the artist/record label and the store.Quote from horusmusic.global
Sound scary? It’s really not, we promise. MDC’s makes the process of releasing music easy, especially for independent/unsigned artists. In more simple terms, the artists picks and MDC of their choosing, uploads their music, and then the MDC does all the legal work and distributes the music to the multiple streaming platforms.
Now that we’ve got that out the way, let’s talk about the multiple MDC companies and which one would work best for you. There’s hundreds of MDC’s out there, so we’re just going to narrow it down to a few.
Create, We’ll do the rest.LANDR
If you want to work with a company that is current, easy to work with, and straight to the point, LANDR is the perfect MDC for you. Starting at $4/month ($48 annually), LANDR provides Mastering and Distribution which is very beneficial to independent artists, especially those who record from home. Additionally LANDR provides promotion tools, educational content, statistics, and the ability to collaborate with other artists and producers.
Pricing: starting at $4/month (for Mastering & Releasing), starting at $12/year (for releasing only)
- Instant AI Mastering
- Promotion Tools
- Artist-Friendly Distribution
- Collaboration Workflows
- Powerful Stats
- Free Educational Content
DIY shouldn’t mean you’re all alone.Reverb Nation
Reverb Nation is a very popular MDC. Seeing as though it is one of the originals, artists typically jump to use it because of its name. However, it’s not as beneficial for independent artists as other MDC’s. For starters, Reverb Nation has 3 plans Free, Basic, and Premium. Though the free plan sounds great, you’re actually not able to distribute music. The platform provides you with unlimited song uploads which can only be streamed through Reverb Nation, unless you upgrade to a Premium plan (19.95/month), completely skipping over the Basic plan (12.95/month). The Free and Basic plans on ReverbNation aren’t really worth anything, it just gives you the ability to have a cute profile. However, through the Basic & Premium plans, Reverb Nation does offer industry opportunities. They’ll send artists music to national and regional companies that host music festivals and also to a variety of record labels.
Pricing: Free Plan, Basic Plan (12.95/month), and Premium Plan (19.95/month)
Ideal Plan: Premium, it is the only plan that actually distributes music to streaming platforms.
- Industry Opportunities
- Website w/ Free Domain
DistroKid is a fairly new MDC. Launching in 2013, they’ve increasingly been building a strong clientele base. They provide the basics that all MDC’s provide which is distributing music to streaming platforms, but they also have features that some MDC’s don’t provide as well. With the competitive price of 19.95/a year, DistroKid is becoming a very competitive MDC.
Price: $19.95/ a year
- Releases to streaming platforms 10-20x faster than other MDC’s
- Unlimited albums and songs
- Keep all earning or set up “splits” which automatically splits the earnings with everyone involved on the projects
- Get paid when people use your music on YouTube
- Instant Spotify verification
- Ability to manage Apple Music profile
- Get lyrics uploaded to streaming platforms
- YouTube official artist page
Who Will You Choose?
There are plenty of other MDC’s out there, but these are the ones who offer the most for their price and that are beneficial to independent artists. As an Independent artists, dealing with these situations, especially legally, can be scary, but this will get you one step closer to your dream career.
Never feel like you have to depend on talent agencies or labels to get your music released to the world. If you feel like you’re ready to take on the industry, this is your wake up call to get started on your journey.
If you have any questions about MDC’s and streaming platforms, feel free to comment below and we’ll be sure to help to the best of our abilities.