We're on a mission to discover the best music distribution platform available to musicians.
Today we’re going to discuss Symphonic Distribution – Giving you all the details you need to know when selecting the right distribution service for your music.
What Is Symphonic Distribution?
Symphonic is a distribution service that also offers a variety of other services within it’s platform. These features are extensive, but all of them require extended fees alongside the commission they take from your royalties. Not everyone can access Symphonic Distribution, instead, musicians/labels have to go through an application process and be approved by their team.
At the surface, Symphonic distribution looks like an all-in-one solution for both artists, and labels but again, to get the most out of the service, expect to depart with a large chunk of your promotional budgets in order to take advantage of everything they offer.
This is different from other services we review, such as Amuse and AWAL – who take similar commissions (15%), but they scout new talent using their in-house A&R teams. If selected, they will help with promotion and AWAL, in-particular, is extremely powerful in terms of what they can achieve.
Do You Have To Pay To Use Symphonic Distribution?
If you only wish to use their distribution services, it is completely free, with them taking around 15% from your royalties. On top of this, if you wish use YouTube Content ID, or monetise your music on SoundCloud, they take 30% commission from those areas. This is a major reason why we don’t usually recommend their service, but some may not see this as an issue – It depends what portion of your royalties come from these areas. Even though it is free to use, you will have to go through an approval process.
Does Symphonic Distribution Promote Your Music?
They do, and they don’t – It depends how you look at it, and if you view Symphonic distribution a distribution company or a full blow music marketing company, with the inclusion of music distribution. I say this because alternative services that offer promotional tools will have it included within the cost, or offer, of the distribution service itself. With Symphonic, there’s a fee for pretty much everything they do.
This is not wrong, or bad, but it’s unusual to see. It also makes it difficult to give musicians a true representation of everything they offer. Lets try to cover everything…
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In-depth analysis of of your audience, going over location, age, gender and interests. Alongside this, they include hashtag, and optimisation recommendations. Price? $250.
Detailed aesthetic review – Going over your branding. Content recommendations and social style coaching, giving you the best methods to optimise your brand when trying to look professional. It should be noted that they do not create any content whether it be social media posts, logos or covers. Price? $500.
Detailed release strategy – They will assist you, and/or your team on how to best optimise content and create engagement through advertisements. With this, they do help with the creation of content but they do not promote the content for you. All advertisement will require your own budget, unless you pay them extra to cover this. Price? $3000 (single/EP) for 3 months | $5000 (album) for 6 months.
Social media management – Creating content for social media, scheduling posts, and ‘online follower growth/fan mining execution.’ Price? $500 per month.
Digital advertising strategy and implementation – Full execution of release/brand campaigns, giving them the freedom to advertise your music using their own techniques. Price? Minimum spend $1000.
Not only can Symphonic distribute your release to stores such as iTunes, Spotify and others, they can also distribute your music videos. For $95 you can get your music videos on TIDAL, Apple Music and Vevo. At $150 you can also reach stores: Latido Music, Xumo, Xite, Noisep*rn, Viewlift, and Mood!
- Copyright protection for your music – $20
- Publishing administration – $100 + 15% commission.
- Song mastering – $50
Symphonic Distribution stores:
This is where Symphonic Distribution shines through, because not only do they cover all of the major stores, they have another 100+ stores and counting within their reach. On top of this (very important) they use their own technology to reach these stores, which means you’re getting a complete, true statement of royalty earnings with no hidden services taking a percentage during the process.
What We Like About Symphonic Distribution:
Distribution alone, they cover a lot of stores alongside great analytics and an easy to use platform. It’s a popular service for many labels. Everyone I’ve spoken to, who has used Symphonic Distribution extensively, speak highly of the service, and the customer support they have received.
What We Don't Like?
Although the business as a whole covers a lot of ground, it’s hard to distinguish exactly what Symphonic Distribution is, as a company. Is it a distribution company as the name suggests, or a music marketing company? Again, it could be an all-in-one solution, but everything isn’t included upon approval. All of the powerful promotion features etc, that they offer comes at a price.
That’s not me saying these services lack, or they’re not worth the cost, but I do feel if they wish to take 15% of royalties from stores, 30% from YouTube Content ID and SoundCloud monetisation, then they have to offer a little more than distribution alone.
I’ve reached out a few times over the years, and only ever got one response, which took 7-14 days. However, people that use the service and have distributed music through the platform seem to be happy with the service and customer care provided.
This is also the case with services such as AWAL – Once you add value through distribution and royalties, they return the value with good customer support.
Great customer support is vital when selecting your distributor – So I’d recommend asking others who use the service before submitting your application.
Final Thoughts On Symphonic Distribution:
As a whole, their service is powerful, but to get the most out of it, you’ll have to pay fees for extended services, which many independent artists and small/medium sized labels will struggle to afford.
As a distributor, they cover a lot of stores and are considered reputable amongst established artists and labels. The only thing that takes away form us recommending it though, is the high commissions on YouTube Content ID and SoundCloud monetisation. 30% is way too much – No matter what stage you’re at with your music/business.
It should be noted that you can use a different distributor and also use Symphonic Distribution for their extended features. You don’t necessarily have to use Symphonic Distribution for both.