Ditto Vs. Distrokid Vs. CDBaby Vs. Amuse Vs. Everyone else!

Ditto Vs. Distrokid Vs. CDBaby Vs. Amuse Vs. Everyone else!

We're on a mission to discover the best music distribution platform available to musicians.

We compare every distribution company. Giving you all the details you need to know when selecting the right distribution service for your music.

RouteNote:

First up on our list, and for good reason, is Repost Network. This distribution company is for both artists and labels. They offer an extensive, feature rich platform for users to distribute their music through. It’s 100% free to sign up, with them taking 15% of royalties. You can distribute unlimited songs, and have as many artists as you wish – Making it a great solution for Record labels, small, and established. 

Pros:

  • Free to use. Unlimited releases.
  • YouTube Content ID, and SoundCloud monetisation.
  • Split-Pay functionality – Allowing you to automatically pay contributors.
  • Good Support. They usually respond within 12-24 hours.
  • Option to pay for premium (per releases) – You keep 100% of royalties.

Cons:

  • Although they do have split-pay, it’s not easy to set-up right away. You have to submit a form for each release for them to manually implement the splits.
  • Dashboard is slow. Can somethings make distribution feel like a chore.

Ditto Music:

Ditto music provides independent artists with a great, affordable option when it comes to distributing their music. Instead of paying per release, or taking a % of royalties, artists can pay a yearly subscription fee and distribute unlimited release while keeping 100% of their royalties. Although it’s a great option for artists, we can’t recommend it to record labels due to their pricing structure. 

Pros:

  • Only £19 per year, unlimited releases.
  • Great, user-friendly dashboard.
  • Fantastic customer support. They have chat in-built, so you can reach out to them anytime and they’ll usually respond within minutes.
  • If you don’t pay your membership, they won’t actively take-down your music – Something Distrokid do – Leaving previous customers feeling frustrated.
  • They offer promotional support to many of their artists, through in-house playlist placements.
  • Good analytics. You can track streams, stores and countries.

Cons:

  • Not a good option for record labels.
  • No YouTube Content ID.
  • No split-pay functionality.

LANDR:

At launch, LANDR’s focus was online, A.I. mastering. They’re rather new to distribution compared to the other distribution companies we feature on this list. Although they’re new, they pack quite the punch when it comes to simple, and affordable music distribution. There pricing has changed somewhat over the last year-or-so, but it’s still competitive. Like Ditto, we can not recommend LANDR to record labels due to their current pricing.

Pros:

  • You can release music for £9 per song – With them taking 15% of royalties.
  • Their Unlimited Plan allows unlimited releases. Price: £89, per year.
  • If you can’t pay your subscription, they will never take down your songs – Instead they will take 15% of royalties. This takes away the worry of yearly fees if you’re struggling financially.
  • Easy-to-use platform with a nice interface.
  • They now offer YouTube Content ID!
  • Good customer support.

Cons: 

  • Not suitable for record labels. $10 per additional artist, per year, which can add up quickly! 
  • No split-pay functionality.

iMusician:

iMusician is an amazing option for established record labels. One of our favourites, alongside RouteNote! Users can distribute unlimited songs, with unlimited artists, while keeping 100% of royalties from online stores and YouTube Content ID. Usually distribution companies that allow you to keep 100% from stores, will take commission from your YouTube Content ID royalties.

We have used both RouteNote and iMusician extensively for our record labels and we have never had any issues with either. The difference? RouteNote is free, but they take 15%. iMusician is €499 (per year) but don’t take any commission. So it really depends on the size, and success of your label. On top of this, if you struggle to pay the yearly fee, iMusician will not take your music down from stores! Instead, they will take 15% commission – Which matches that of RouteNote.

Pros:

  • Artists can get their music into stores for as little as €9 per song (one-time fee).
  • The only reputable distribution company that allows labels to keep 100% of ALL royalties for a yearly fee.
  • Super polite, and professional customer support.
  • They have an extensive list of stores. You can distribute to over 200+!

Cons:

  • No split-pay functionality – We have reached out to ask about this and they’ve confirmed it is something they are working on, and it should be available soon.
  • Analytics could be better, and easier to navigate. 

Repost Network:

I’ll start this by saying we used to absolutely love Repost Network. Their user interface is one of the easiest to navigate, and their split-pay functionality was one of the best we’ve come across. Alongside this, their support was fantastic – It took around 30-60 minutes to get a response.

It was recently taken over by SoundCloud, and re-branded to ‘Repost by SoundCloud.’. Although they now allow anyone to join, their pricing structure doesn’t really make sense, and their customer support is lacking… Like, a lot. Response times went from 30-60 minutes, to 7-14 days. This is of course, due to the massive influx of new users, and it not being SoundCloud’s primary focus. We have discussed this with them, and they told us it is something they’re aware of, and working on. Only time will tell..

On the plus side, if you want to monetise your music on SoundCloud, they’re the best distribution company for it, considering it’s operated by SoundCloud. You can, however, use them for SoundCloud monetisation, and use another company to distribute your music. A little bit of a hassle, but then you get the best of both.

Pros:

  • Split-pay feature is still one of the best around, but it requires each artist to have a SoundCloud account. Not a big issue, considering most artists have one anyway.
  • User-interface is also one of the best around. Really easy to navigate and looks great.
  • Catered to both artists, and labels!

Cons:

  • $30 per year, or free if you have a ‘Pro Unlimited SoundCloud Account’ – They will also take 20% of royalties. It should really be one, or the other. Charging $30, and taking 20% seems a little excessive.
  • Analytics could be better – Something they’re working on.
  • Terrible customer support – Again, something they’re working on.
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Distrokid:

Distrokid is one of the most popular distributors for independent artists. Their pricing is extremely competitive, allowing musicians to distribute unlimited songs for $19.99 per year. Their platform is user-friendly and it also allows all users to keep 100% of their royalties. Although their service is cheap, we’ve found customer support to be pretty good – Even though the 100’s of complaints online beg to differ. We can only go off of our own experience and we’ve never been let down where customer support is concerned. 

The unfortunate issue with Distrokid however, is that they actively take-down everything if you cancel, or struggle to pay your yearly subscription. LANDR, and Ditto (similar pricing) don’t actively take down your music. LANDR won’t take down your music at all, but instead take 15% – Which is completely fair. 

Pros:

  • Super cheap – $19.99 per year, unlimited releases.
  • Easy to use dashboard, with good analytics.
  • Good customer support, contrary to what we see through online feedback.
  • Split-Pay functionality, although each user must have a Distrokid account.
  • YouTube Content ID – Additional cost (per release).

Cons:

  • Terrible pricing for record labels.
  • Take down all releases if you struggle to pay yearly subscription.
  • We would recommend Ditto over Distrokid.

Spare Music:

A relatively new distribution company in conparison to all the other options we discuss throughout our distribution guide, but a fantastic service none-the-less. They stand out through their customer support alone. If you’re looking for great customer service, with a team that genuinely do care about their users, then Spare Music may be of interest to you.

You can distribute your music to all major stores, take advantage of YouTube Content ID and monetise your music on SoundCloud. Their dashboard is great but their analytics are lacking. With it being a new service, we do expect certain things to improve over the next year or so. They already cover what you would typically expect from other distributors, and they’re continually updating what they offer, alongside implementing new features.

Pros:

  • Great support. You can reach out anytime and they usually respond within minutes.
  • Good pricing, allowing users to distribute their music for as little as $3.99 per month, or $19.99 per year.
  • They also offer split-pay functionality.

Cons:

  • Analytics are lacking.
  • They don’t let you keep 100% of YouTube Content ID royalties, no matter what plan you choose. Not a major issue, as this is common amongst most distributors.
  • Poor pricing options for record labels, however, you can reach out to their team and discuss potential options further, and they’ll try to work out a deal that works.

EmuBands:

EmuBands take a different approach with pricing. They don’t offer subscription based plans, but instead, allow users to pay a one-time fee, per release. This is fantastic for those who release a few times per year, and don’t want to be held back with yearly fee commitments. Although it’s £24.95 per song, which is already more expensive than a yearly subscription of Ditto, and Distrokid, it’s a one-time fee, meaning your song will stay in stores for as long as EmuBands is in existence. If you release 1-2 tracks per year, this makes EmuBands the perfect solution.

Their platform is straight-forward with nothing over-the-top or too fancy. They’re committed to providing artists with a simple interface, that gets the job done properly. Their customer support is also pretty good. When reaching out with any queries, we received a response within 24 hours.

Pros:

  • One-time fee per release/album. They also offer a 20% discount if you order in bulk (over £100).
  • User-friendly interface alongside acceptable analytics.
  • Good customer support.

Cons:

  • Can be costly if you release a lot of music. If this is the case, you probably want to go with another distributor.
  • No YouTube Content ID or SoundCloud monetisation.
  • No Split-Pay.

Label Engine:

As the name suggests, Label Engine is catered towards record labels, however, they do accept artists as well. To use Label Engine, you will have to go through an application process, and be approved by their team in order to use their service. It is 100% free, allowing users to release unlimited songs, but they do take 15% of royalties. 

Not only do they offer straight up distribution, but they also offer an extensive list of marketing tools, focused around established labels with a large catalogue of music. This sounds fantastic, however, it’s not included within their distribution service. Instead, you have to pay for the extended features which takes away the effectiveness, and incentive for anyone to consider Label Engine as their prime distributor. You can use another distributor, and use Label Engine for their marketing tools though – And you don’t have to be approved.

Pros:

  • OK Support.
  • Good interface, allowing users to distribute with ease.
  • They cover all major stores and many others.
  • YouTube Content ID.

Cons:

  • Take 15% of royalties while also charging for additional services.
  • Not an all-in-one solution for labels because of the added fees. 
  • Not cheap either, with the bundle costing artists/labels $384 per year.

AWAL Distribution:

AWAL is completely different to all the other distribution companies we cover, as they offer a variety of services alongside distribution. When using AWAL, it all depends on how successful you are as an artist when trying to get the most out of what they offer. We would highly recommend you read or full in-depth review on AWAL because it is quite extensive. They have three tiers: AWAL Core, AWAL+, and AWAL Recordings. The more success you have, the more they will help you with marketing/promotional campaigns.

Although we would never tell you to base your decision on promotion services when looking at the right distributor, if you was to do so, AWAL would be your best bet. Their promotional services are extremely powerful.

Even if you were just using them for distribution alone, it’s a solid service, and they only take 15% of your royalties, while cutting out up-front costs or yearly subscriptions.

Pros:

  • The only distribution company that offers promotional campaigns that are worth your time, without up-front fees.
  • Fantastic option for independent artists that are already gaining traction. They also offer project funding, allowing artists on a tight budget to stay independent. 
  • Great analytics, allowing you to track stores, skips rates, completion rates, countries etc. 
  • OK customer support.

Cons: 

  • You have to be approved. This isn’t to much of an issue, because we wouldn’t recommend AWAL to artists without traction/who wouldn’t be approved by their team.
  • The more you succeed, the more they take care of you – Which is great, but limits the amount of support those at the bottom tier receive.

FreshTunes:

FreshTunes isn’t a distribution company we would usually cover, because we wouldn’t recommend it, considering there’s so many better options out there. However, it is 100% free to use, and anybody can sign up. They cover only the absolute basics. You can distribute your music to major stores: iTunes, Spotify, Deezer etc. 

If you’re looking for anything extra though, this won’t be the company for you. 

Pros:

  • Free to sign up. Keep 100% of your royalties.
  • They do offer Twitter & YouTube promotion at a cost, but this can be done outside of their service anyway – Making it rather pointless.

Cons:

  • Extremely basic service, with an out-dated dashboard.
  • Terrible customer support, unless you pay $25 per month/$600 per year.
  • You have to pay for analytics.. Something we’re strongly against. If you’re earning royalties, you should always have the right to track where they’re coming from, at all times.

Amuse:

Amuse, like Spare music, is relatively new in comparison to the other services we discuss. When it was originally launched, it was app only – Something that we found rather strange. Anyone who cares for their music, shouldn’t be distributing it through an app. They recently made their service available on both desktop/laptop and expanded on everything they offer.

Like AWAL, they market their platform by offering promotional services. With it being a new company, we can’t find any real success stories to back this up. Either way, distribution alone, it’s still a good option.

Pros:

  • 100% free, with limited functionality – Great for those just starting out.
  • Keep 100% of your royalties. You also get 100% of YouTube Content ID royalties!
  • Fantastic Split-Pay option. One of the best we’ve encountered.
  • Pro Account is competitive in price, considering they do offer YouTube Content ID, and Split-Pay with no paid ad-ons. 
  • Simple, user-friendly dashboard.
  • Good customer support, if you’re using ‘Pro’.

Cons:

  • They only cover the major stores – Something we feel they need to improve upon.
  • Customer support is lacking for free users.
  • No SoundCloud monetisation options.
  • Not suitable for record labels. Although their Pro plan does allow additional artists, you always have a primary artists set for each account, that you can’t remove for each release. 

Symphonic Distribution:

Although Symphonic Distribution is one of the most popular options for record labels, we find it difficult to understand why. They do cover a bunch of stores, while offering great analytics, alongside a good, user-friendly interface. They also offer a lot of extended services such as marketing, video distribution, copyright protection and publishing administration. Like ‘Label Engine’, it looks to be an all-in-one solution, however, all of their features outside of straight-up distribution comes at a cost.

We like their distribution service, and 15% commission is respectful while allowing artists/labels to release unlimited songs. The major downside is that they take 30% from YouTube Content ID, and SoundCloud monetisation, which is way too much.

With this, there’s better options available, allowing you to keep more royalties. We’d suggest using another distributor, and only use Symphonic Distribution for their marketing options.

Pros:

  • Popular option amongst record labels.
  • Good analytics.
  • Their distribution is free – Good if you’re on a budget.
  • They cover a lot of stores.

Cons:

  • From experience, their customer support is lacking.
  • They take 30% of both YouTube Content ID, and SoundCloud monetisation.
  • No extended services are included within their distribution – Taking away the incentive for people switch, or choose them as their primary distributor.

CDBaby:

Probably one of the most reputable and long-standing distributors that we cover. CDBaby was launched over 20 years ago and is used by over 650,000 artists/labels. Over the years, they’ve kept up with all the new-comers, by adding stores, new features such as YouTube Content ID, while keeping their pricing extremely competitive. 

Pros:

  • Pro features allow users to collect worldwide publishing royalties, alongside global registration, and performing rights.
  • You can distribute your music to over 150 stores.
  • Great analytics.
  • Good customer support.
  • YouTube Content ID.
  • Only $9.95 (one-time fee) per song – Cutting out the headache of monthly/yearly subscriptions.

Cons:

  • They take 9% of all royalties, no matter what option you choose. 
  • Dashboard is out-dated. Although they’re always extending what they offer, this is something they’ve not taken much consideration to.

Distributors that we wouldn't recommend:

These are services we can’t recommend due to their pricing structure. All of them charge yearly fees, per song. It’s baffling how many artists don’t consider how expensive this can be long term. For example, although it may be around $9 to distribute your song, it’s a yearly fee! So if you’ve got 10 songs, that’s $900 within 10 years – Just to have your music distributed to stores.

If you don’t pay your yearly fees, expect to have your releases taken down. It doesn’t make financial sense for any artist/label to use these services with so many great alternatives available.

TuneCore:

TuneCore, like CDBaby is extremely popular and has been around for a long time. They cover pretty much everything you would require from a distribution service. Where not going to go in-depth due to their pricing – £7.49 per year, per song.

Spinnup:

A relatively new distribution company that covers the basics, alongside adding incentives such as music promotion. During our research, we haven’t found any real success stories coming from any users of Spinnup. We also don’t agree with their pricing. It’s £7.99 per year, per song.

IMPORTANT!

Through our time researching each distribution company, we also noticed that many do not have their own tech, or private deals with DSPs. This means that they’re using third-party services to get your music into stores. These services often take a cut of royalties between 10-20%. Although many claim to give you 100%, you’re only receiving 100% of what they receive, after third-party services take their cut. We suggest that you carefully read any terms & conditions, alongside contracts if you have to sign anything.

We are unable to name companies doing this due to legal reasons.

BE CAREFUL!

Who has the best support?

  1. Spare Music
  2. Ditto
  3. iMusician
  4. LANDR
  5. RouteNote

Who has the best interface?

  1. Repost Network
  2. Ditto
  3. Amuse
  4. Distrokid
  5. Spare Music

Who is the cheapest?

  1. Amuse
  2. FreshTunes
  3. Ditto
  4. Distrokid
  5. LANDR

Who offers the best service for those who release 1-2 songs per year?

  1. EmuBands – £24.95 – Keep 100% – No YouTube Content ID.
  2. CDBaby – $9.95, but take 9%.
  3. iMusician – €39 – Keep 100% of everything.

Who offers the best service for those who want unlimited songs?

  1. Ditto – £19 per year.
  2. Spare Music – $59.99 per year.
  3. Amuse – $59.99 per year.
  4. LANDR – £89 per year.

Best option for record labels?

  1. RouteNote – Free/Unlimited – Keep 85% of royalties. Option to pay $10 to keep 100%.
  2. iMusician – Great for established labels. €499 per year, keep 100% of everything.
  3. Repost Network – Perfect for SoundCloud monetisation and split-pay options. They do, however, take 20% of royalties and their customer support is lacking.

Final Notes:

We can’t tell you which distributor to choose, because it depends on your specific requirements. Keep in mind that good customer support is vital. Always reach out to which-ever distributor you like the look of, so you can get an idea of the customer support they offer.

If you’re a member of Sonadex, you can reach out to our team anytime, and we can help you with your decision. Let us know your requirements, where you’re at musically, and what your future goals are. We will always do our best to assist.

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