Best Independent Music Publishers: A 2023 Guide - Independent Web Blog (2023)

As an independent musician, you undoubtedly put a lot of effort into creating and producing your music. Now is the time to bring your music to your fans. But how to distribute music effectively and efficiently? Enter the field of music distribution services. In this guide, we'll explore the world of music distribution services and help you choose the best one for your needs.

What is an Independent Music Publisher?

Music distribution services are platforms that allow musicians to get their music on popular streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. These services make it easier for artists to reach a wider audience and monetize their music. By using a distribution service, you can ensure your music is available on all major platforms without having to deal with each one individually.

Why Use an Independent Music Publisher?

There are several reasons independent artists can benefit from using a music distribution service. Music distribution services save time by simplifying the process of getting music across multiple platforms, so you can focus on your creations. They also ensure your music is available on all major platforms, maximizing your reach and thus increasing your chances of attracting new fans.

Collecting royalties from streaming platforms and digital sales has become easier with the help of distribution services. This way, artists can focus on their music while also ensuring they are making money from their creations. These services often provide valuable data and analytics on how your music is performing across platforms, helping you make informed decisions about marketing and promotional strategies.

Using a music distribution service gives you complete control over your music and career without relying on record labels. This independence allows you to make decisions that best suit your artistic vision and financial goals. In conclusion, using a music publisher is critical for independent musicians to maximize their reach, streamline the distribution process, and ensure proper royalties are collected.

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So should I use an independent music distributor?

As an independent musician, you might wonder why you need a music publisher when you can try to get music yourself on streaming platforms. In fact, there are several important benefits to using a music splitter that make it an indispensable tool for musicians today. Let's take a look at why you need a music publisher:

  1. Multi-platform access:The music publisher simplifies the process of getting music on all major streaming platforms. Without a distributor, you will have to contact each platform individually and navigate their unique submission process. Dealers save you time and energy by performing these tasks for you.
  2. Royalty Bureau:Music publishers not only bring your music to the platform, but also help you collect the royalties you earn from streaming and sales. They take care of complex royalty calculations and payments, so you can be sure you're receiving what you deserve. learn more aboutHow Much Spotify Pays Per StreamUnderstand the importance of royalty collection.
  3. Analysis and reporting:Publishers often provide valuable data and analysis on how your music is performing on different platforms. This information can help you make informed decisions about your marketing and promotional strategies, ultimately leading to greater success.
  4. Professionalism and Credibility:Using a music publisher can give your music a professional level and credibility that is difficult to achieve alone. Distribution services develop relationships with streaming platforms, increasing the chances of your music being accepted and promoted.
  5. Marketing and Promotional Support:Some music publishers offer additional marketing and promotional services, such as playlist promotions, social media integrations and pre-save campaigns. These tools can help you gain popularity and attract new fans. Check out our guideHow to Promote MusicMore tips on effective promotion strategies.
  6. independent:Using a music publisher gives you complete control over your music and career without relying on record labels. This independence allows you to make decisions that best suit your artistic vision and financial goals.

How to Choose the Right Indie Music Publisher

With so many music distribution services to choose from, it can be a challenge to choose the one that best suits your needs. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:

  1. cost:Some services charge an annual fee, while others charge a percentage of royalties. Consider your budget and decide which pricing model is best for you.
  2. Function:Different services offer different features, such as marketing tools, playlist promotions, and social media integration. Consider which features are most important to you, and choose a service that offers them.
  3. customer service:Check each service's customer support reputation, as this can be critical if you have problems with distribution.
  4. Ease of use:A publishing service should be user-friendly and easy to navigate, so you can focus on making music instead of struggling with technology.

First, let's take a look at some popular music distribution services and what they offer:

Who Are the Top Independent Music Publishers in 2023?

With countless music distribution companies to choose from, it can be a challenge for an independent artist to choose the one that best suits their needs. Amuse, AWAL, CD Baby, DistroKid, Ditto, Fresh Tunes, Horus Music, LANDR, ONerpm, RouteNote, Songtradr, Soundrop, Spinnup, Symphonic, TuneCore, and UnitedMasters are just a few of the options available. Each service has its own unique features, pricing, and benefits, so it's important to understand your specific needs as an artist before making a decision.

Now let's explore some specific publishers in the music industry to help you find the best music distribution company for your needs:

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DistroKid: A Comprehensive Overview

issue kidis one of the most prominent independent music publishers in the industry. For $19.99 per year, DistroKid lets you distribute an unlimited number of songs. While this may seem like an incredible value, there are a few caveats to keep in mind.

subscription model

DistroKid operates on a subscription model, which means that if you do not renew your contract every year, the songs you upload to your Digital Service Provider (DSP) will be deleted. So you have to understand that it's not just a flat annual fee for unlimited uploads, but an annual fee that you have to keep paying to keep your music available.

Add-ons and additional services

Another aspect to keep in mind is that DistroKid charges extra for additional services that you would expect to be included in the standard plan. For example, the initial fee does not include the option to set an upload release date. If you want this feature, you will need to pay extra for important pre-orders and pre-saves.

Since timing is of the essence when releasing music, and controlling the release date of your music is also crucial, this plugin is highly recommended.

User Experience and Analytics

DistroKid is easy to use, with a simple interface for uploading music, and helpful tutorial videos to guide you through the process. However, their reporting on musicians can be polarizing. While they offer comprehensive sales figures and streaming figures, the way they format the information can be confusing at first.

Band benefits

DistroKid is a great option for bands because band members can be added and royalties can be automatically distributed among the members. Also, lyrics can be easily added to the platform.

With DistroKid, 100% of the royalties go to the uploader, a feature not commonly found with other music publishers. They also have a solid reputation for customer service, making them a solid choice for independent artists looking for a reliable distribution partner.

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CD Baby: A Deeper Look

cd-babyis one of the oldest independent music publishers, having been publishing since 2004. CD Baby has a great reputation and is used by numerous artists.

Levels and Prizes

CD Baby offers two levels: CD Baby and CD Baby Pro. The latter adds collections of publishing rights to the standard distribution service. Unlike competitors that offer unlimited digital distribution, CD Baby charges $9.95 for singles and $29 for albums. At $29.95 for singles and $69 for albums, CD Baby Pro includes a collection of publishing royalties, and it could be a worthwhile investment in the long run.

revenue sharing agreement

When using CD Baby, you should be aware of the revenue sharing agreement. In addition to the one-time cost of uploading work, CD Baby also accounts for 9% of digital revenue. For independent artists who are just starting out, this may not be a problem, but if you generate a lot of traffic, you may want to consider other distribution services, as 9% can represent a significant gain.

Hidden Costs and Customer Support

CD Baby charges a hidden fee for UPCs (digital barcodes), which can be an extra $20 for an album release. Despite its age, CD Baby has the highest number of complaints of any major publisher. Troubleshooting can be time consuming, but the upside is that they offer a host of additional services, such as music promotion, release management, and sync licensing.

Basically, CD Baby is a full-fledged distribution service with a variety of pricing options and add-ons. However, artists should be aware of revenue sharing agreements and hidden costs before deciding whether CD Baby is best for their needs.

TuneCore: A closer look

Tuning nucleusFounded in 2005, it is one of the well-known independent music publishers. It is known for its reliability and ease of use. However, it's the most expensive option among mainstream digital music distribution companies.

pricing structure

At first glance, TuneCore's pricing seems reasonable, charging $10 for a single and $30 for an album for the first year. However, after the first year, the cost of an album rose dramatically to $50 per year starting in the second year.

This pricing structure means that independent artists looking to release multiple albums or singles year after year face a huge financial burden.

Perfect for the DIY artist

With prices rising dramatically after the first year, TuneCore may not be suitable for most DIY artists, as the cost can quickly become unmanageable. However, for established artists who prioritize peace of mind when distributing their music to a DSP, TuneCore may be one of the safest options.

In conclusion, while TuneCore offers reliability and ease of use, its pricing structure makes it a less viable option for many independent artists. Those considering TuneCore should carefully weigh the financial implications before deciding whether it is suitable for their distribution needs.

Ditto Music: A Comprehensive Overview

ditto for musicIn 2007, they made history for an independent music publisher with the release of the first UK Top 40 single by an unsigned band, for which they were awarded a Guinness World Record. While Ditto is similar in price and features to DistroKid, it has a few key differences that set it apart.

Prices and Features

Ditto has a similar pricing structure to DistroKid, neither service publishing collections. However, Ditto includes most of the additional features that DistroKid offers as a paid add-on, included in its standard $19.99 unlimited uploads package.

Playlists and Analytics

A notable benefit of using Ditto is that the service has its own playlists, giving artists the opportunity to gain exposure through playlist inclusion. Ditto also provides users with detailed reports and analytics to track sales and trends.

Store updates and Shazam and Siri

Ditto's Store Update feature automatically adds your music to new streaming platforms as they come out, and DistroKid charges extra for this service. Ditto also includes Shazam and Siri integration, while DistroKid offers it for a small fee.

customer service reputation

Ditto's reputation for customer service isn't as consistent as DistroKid's. While the company claims to offer 24/7 artist support, online reviews and opinions about its customer service can be very negative.

Basically, Ditto Music offers competitive pricing and features along with playlist and store update features. However, artists should be aware of the mixed customer service reviews before choosing Ditto as their music distribution service.

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Pros and Cons of Free Music Distribution Services

The music industry is growing rapidly, offering independent artists a range of distribution services. These options include free indie music publishers, which may appeal to those on a budget. However, it's crucial to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether a free service is right for your music career.


  1. Cost-effectiveness: The main advantage of independent music publishers is that they allow artists to distribute their music without an upfront fee. This is especially beneficial for independent musicians or bands on a budget.
  2. barrier free: Free independent music distributors are opening up the world of music distribution to a wider range of artists, allowing those who might not have the means to invest in paid services to make their music heard by a wider audience.
  3. low risk: With no financial commitment, artists can try independent music publishers for free without worrying about losing money if their music isn't popular. This can be a great opportunity to test the waters and gain experience in the music industry.


  1. limited functionality: Free independent music publishers may not offer the same range of features and support as paid services. These may include limitations on the number of publications, access to analytics and promotional tools.
  2. Profit Distribution: Some free indie music publishers may take a percentage of revenue from streaming and sales, which means you may not keep 100% of your revenue. This can be a disadvantage if your music is successful and generates a decent amount of money.
  3. less control: Free independent music distributors may not offer the same level of control over release dates, promotional strategies, and other aspects of music distribution as paid services. This can be a drawback for artists who want to take a more hands-on approach to their music career.
  4. customer service: Free indie music publishers may not offer the same level of customer support as paid services. This can lead to delays in troubleshooting or a lack of help when needed, which can be frustrating for artists.

Distribution and promotion: a win-win combination

While distributing music is critical, having a solid foundation is just as importantMusic Promotion ProgramIn situ. Linking your distribution services with an effective promotional strategy can significantly increase your chances of success. Here are some important steps to take after distributing your music:

  1. Build a strong online presence:Set up social media profiles, create a website, and build a mailing list to connect with your fans. usTop social media tips for musiciansGuides can help you.
  2. Network with industry professionals:Connect with other musicians, producers, and playlist curators to increase your visibility in the music community. studyHow to Find Musicians and Band MembersExpand your network.
  3. Playlist Tones:Putting your music on popular playlists can greatly improve your streaming. look at ourSpotify Playlist CuratorArticles on tips on how to effectively market your music.
  4. Collaborate with other artists:By collaborating with other musicians, you can expose your music to new audiences and help build relationships within the industry.
  5. Tree live operation:Engage with fans by hosting concerts and live shows. studyHow to promote the concertfor maximum impact.

By combining effective distribution and promotion strategies, you'll be well on your way to building a successful music career.

When will the music distribution company pay me?

The timeline for receiving payment from an independent music publisher can vary based on a number of factors. Here's a general overview of when you can get paid from a music publisher:

  1. payment schedule: Every independent music publisher has their own payment schedule, which can be monthly, quarterly or even yearly. Be sure to check your reseller's payment terms so you know when you can expect to receive your earnings.
  2. payment threshold: Some independent music publishers require you to meet a minimum payment threshold in order to post your earnings. This means that you must collect a certain amount of royalties before you can receive payment. The threshold amount may vary by reseller, so it is worth checking their terms and conditions.
  3. payment processing time: Independent music publishers usually take some time to process your payment once you've reached the payment threshold and the payment deadline has passed. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the company and payment processor.
  4. Streaming Platforms and Stores: The time it takes streaming platforms and online stores to transfer revenue to independent music publishers can also affect when you get paid. Certain platforms may take longer than others to report earnings, which may cause delays in receiving your royalties.
  5. Bank and payment method: The way you receive your payment can also affect the timeline. For example, direct deposit or electronic payments may be faster than receiving checks in the mail. Make sure you choose the most efficient payment method for your situation.

in conclusion

Independent Music Publishers are an essential resource for independent musicians looking to get their music on popular streaming platforms. By selecting the right independent music publisher and combining it with an effective promotional strategy, you can maximize your reach and increase your chances of success. When choosing a music distribution service, consider factors such as cost, features, customer support, and ease of use, and always make sure your fans are at the center of your promotional efforts.

frequently asked questions

1. Can I distribute my music for free?

Some independent music publishers offer free plans with basic features, but these often have limitations, such as fewer platforms, lower royalties, or limited customer support. It's usually worth investing in a paid plan to get full features and benefits.

2. Can I switch to another music distribution service?

Yes, you can switch independent music distributors, but you will need to delete your music from your current distributor and reupload it to the new service. Be sure to keep track of your ISRC codes to avoid losing stream counts and playlist positions.

3. How long will it take for my music to be available on the streaming platform?

Each independent music publisher has its own processing time, but it usually takes one to two weeks for your music to appear on the major streaming platforms. It is crucial to plan your release schedule accordingly and keep these schedules in mind when setting your launch date.

4. Do I need to copyright my music before distributing it?

While not required, copyrighting your music can help protect your intellectual property and uphold your rights as a creator. read our guideHow to Copyright Songs for Freeto know more information.

5. How do I get paid for music distribution services?

Most independent music publishers pay artists via direct deposit or PayPal. Make sure your payment information for distribution services is up to date so you can receive your earnings quickly.


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