DistroKid Music Distribution Review

distrokid music distribution review - decibel peak
distrokid music distribution review - decibel peak
distrokid music distribution review - decibel peak

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After using many of the free music distributors I recommended in THIS article, I knew it was time to move on. I had DistroKid on the back of my mind for quite a few months, so I finally decided to give them a try. If you’re wondering if this platform is right for you, you’ll want to read my DistroKid music distribution review to the end. Is it really too good to be true? Let’s find out!

DistroKid is in fact the most affordable music distributor on the market. At a glance, this platform allows you to distribute unlimited releases while keeping 100% of your royalties. DistroKid has even partnered up with Spotify (to your advantage), but you’ll be capable of releasing your music on all major streaming services (Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google, etc…). Most submissions will be processed within 1-7 business days which is incredibly fast! However, DistroKid does have some minor flaws which I’ve personally learned to live with. We’ll be addressing those and more, so stay tuned!

Table of Contents

An Overview of DistroKid


DistroKid has built a reputation for being one of the most affordable music distributors (if not the most). One of the main reasons for this is the fact that they charge you annually for unlimited releases.

Competitors with similar pricing models usually charge more than double, but why?

The answer lies in one of the major complaints users have about DistroKid’s pricing model; UPSELLS.

distrokid upsells - Decibel Peak

It’s true that DistroKid’s service is the most affordable UPFRONT, but they achieve this by making certain features optional upsells. The competition usually includes these features by default, but they do charge more upfront.

In reality, DistroKid would actually end up costing you more if you were to purchase these additional features for every release.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect:

  • Store Maximizer ($7.95/yr)
  • YouTube Money ($4.95/yr + 20% of your ad revenue)
  • Shazam and iPhone Siri ($0.99/yr)
  • Leave a Legacy ($29 for single/$49 for albums)

In my opinion, most of these services aren’t essential and I could personally do without them.

The “Store Maximizer” feature simply gets your music placed in newcomer streaming services (after you’ve released it). I’m happy as long as my music is in the ones people ACTUALLY use (Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google, etc…).

The “YouTube Money” feature is usually an add-on on most platforms, but it’s COMPLETELY useless and here’s why… You can monetize your music on YouTube/Facebook for FREE using Identifyy.

The “Shazam and iPhone Siri” feature could be useful if your music will be playing in public venues, but unless you’re on some Spotify playlist and/or famous… It’s not that useful.

The “Leave a Legacy” feature is unique to DistroKid and perhaps the most useful. Basically, your music will remain available even if you STOP paying your annual fee to DistroKid.

So there you have it!

DistroKid’s pricing model is perfect for people like me who don’t need those extra features. It helps me save money on my yearly subscription, so if you could live without these, DistroKid might be for you!

Marketing Tools

I have to admit, DistroKid includes some decent marketing tools for artists.

Of course, it’s nothing compared to actually designing your own landing pages and creating your own content, but hey, you might have more important things to do (like make music)!

HERE’S an example of the Hyperfollow landing page for one of my releases.

You also get access to…

  • Mini Videos
  • Meme Video Generator
  • Promo Cards

You can use these to promote your music on social media, but the most interesting one (Vizy Video Generator) will cost you extra.

It’s a shame, but it’s not that expensive and might be worth it for you.

There are also much more features to get your music heard and for your fans to keep track of you…

  • Slaps.com (kind of like SoundCloud)
  • Playlist Spotlight
  • Wheel of Playlist
  • Social Phone (connect with your fans via text messaging)
  • Upstream (connect with record labels)

Personally though, I don’t use ANY of this stuff and don’t know anyone who does.

If you do and have had success with any of these tools, let us know in the comments!


For starters, the fact that they have 3 tiers (Musician, Musician Plus and Label) isn’t obvious until you’re actually signing up.

YES, they’re basic plan is the most affordable on the market, but it omits one essential feature. Unless you’re willing to upgrade to the Musician Plus plan, you won’t be able to pre-determine the release date of your release.

distrokid tiers - Decibel Peak

For artists who rely on promotion, this may be a HUGE disadvantage.

For music producers such as myself, it really doesn’t matter because I use these releases as portfolio material. In other words, I’m not counting on Spotify to pay my bills.

Another thing that could use improvement is the ability to list your own publishing/record label. Unless you upgrade to one of their upper tiers, you’ll get something default like “1945434 Record DK” which is fine if you’re someone like me.

Who looks at that stuff anyway?

DistroKid also seems to reserve advanced analytics for their higher tiers. What this means if you’re on the Musician plan is that you won’t get detailed information for your royalties. This doesn’t mean DistroKid isn’t trustworthy, they have an excellent reputation for paying artists.

It simply means that you’ll get less insight on how you can keep marketing your music.

I personally use my websites to market my music, so I’m not too concerned with that.


DistroKid offers a transparent and straightforward payout system. Artists receive 100% of their royalties, and DistroKid takes a flat fee per release, regardless of how many streams an artist receives. The platform also offers daily payouts, which means that artists can receive their earnings within 24-48 hours of a stream.

However, there can be potential issues for non-US residents when it comes to receiving payouts. DistroKid pays out earnings to artists through PayPal or bank transfer. PayPal is available in many countries, but not all, and some countries have restrictions on receiving money through PayPal. Additionally, bank transfer can be an option, but some non-US banks may not be supported by DistroKid, which can result in delays or additional fees.

Another potential issue for non-US residents is the requirement to provide tax information. US-based music distributors are required by law to withhold taxes from payments made to foreign artists, and DistroKid is no exception. As a result, non-US residents need to provide their tax information to ensure that they are not subject to excessive withholding taxes. This can be a complicated process, and it’s important for artists to consult with a tax professional to ensure that they are following the correct procedures.

Despite these potential issues, DistroKid remains a popular choice for independent artists around the world. The platform’s transparent and straightforward payout system, coupled with its daily payouts, make it an attractive option for artists looking to distribute their music. However, it’s important for non-US residents to be aware of the potential challenges they may face when it comes to receiving their payouts. By understanding these challenges and working with the appropriate professionals, independent artists can continue to use DistroKid to distribute their music and grow their fanbase.


DistroKid is a popular digital music distribution platform that has gained a strong reputation among independent artists and record labels. One of the features that makes DistroKid stand out from its competitors is its partnership with Slaps.com. Slaps.com is a social media platform dedicated to showcasing and promoting music from independent artists. In this section, we will review Slaps.com and how it works with DistroKid.

Slaps.com is a user-friendly platform that allows independent musicians to upload their tracks and showcase their talent to a wider audience. The platform has a simple layout, and artists can easily navigate and upload their tracks without any difficulties. Once an artist has uploaded their music, other users on the platform can discover and listen to their music. Slaps.com also allows users to follow their favorite artists, like their tracks, and share them on social media platforms.

DistroKid’s partnership with Slaps.com is an excellent addition to the platform’s features. When an artist distributes their music through DistroKid, they have the option to submit their music to Slaps.com for free. This submission will allow the artist’s music to be featured on Slaps.com’s homepage, where other users can discover and listen to their music. This feature is a significant advantage for independent artists, as it can provide them with a substantial amount of exposure.

Moreover, DistroKid and Slaps.com also offer an exclusive program for artists called “FastTrack.” This program provides artists with additional promotion and exposure opportunities. The program allows artists to submit their music for a chance to be featured on the Slaps.com homepage and other popular playlists. Additionally, artists who participate in the FastTrack program will receive a personalized marketing plan that can help them grow their fanbase and increase their streams.

DistroKid vs Ditto

DistroKid and Ditto seem identical on the surface, but pricing and unlimited releases aren’t everything.

For starters, it gets more expensive with Ditto if you want to use it for your independent label. You’ll also be missing out on some key features like payment splits and YouTube/SoundCloud monetization.

Here, take a look for yourself…

DistroKid (Musician)DistroKid (Musician Plus/Label)Ditto
Pricing19.99$ per year35.99$/79.99$ per year*19$-299$ per year
Release Time1-7 days1-7 days1-5 days
# of ReleasesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
# of Stores150+150+200+
# of Artists12/5-1001-40
Commission Fee0%0%0%
Payment Threshold0$0$25$
Payment MethodWithdrawal (1-2 days)Withdrawal (1-2 days)Automatic (instant)
Cover License12$ per year12$ per yearNO
YouTube Monetization4.95$ per single or 14.95$ + 20% of your ad revenue4.95$ per single or 14.95$ + 20% of your ad revenue**NO
SoundCloud MonetizationNONO**NO
Split PaymentsYESYESNO
Release DateNOYESYES
Daily ReportsNOYESYES
Tax WithholdingYESYESNO
Email SupportNONOYES
Phone SupportNONONO
*Pricing is dependent on # of artists to be released
**Only available to select artists

If you ask me though, there are definitely some significant advantages with Ditto.

They’ll distribute to more outlets (especially in China) and more importantly, they won’t withhold any tax from non-US artists! How does that sound?

DistroKid vs LANDR

If I were truly invested in music streaming, I’d definitely go with LANDR instead of DistroKid.

Sure, it might seem expensive to go with the “Unlimited” plan (which is the only one that’s worth it in my opinion), but the additional features and high-quality distribution is 100% worth it!

Here, take a look at the differences for yourself…

DistroKid (Musician)DistroKid (Musician Plus/Label)LANDR (PAYG/Complete)LANDR (Unlimited)
Pricing19.99$ per year35.99$/79.99$ per year9$-29$/5$-19$ per release89.99$ per year
Release Time1-7 days1-7 days1-2 days1-2 days
# of ReleasesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
# of Stores150+150+150+150+
# of Artists12/5-1001/37
Commission Fee0%0%15%/9%0%
Payment Threshold0$0$0$0$
Payment MethodWithdrawal (1-2 days)Withdrawal (1-2 days)Automatic (monthly)Automatic (monthly)
Cover License12$ per year12$ per year15$15$
YouTube Monetization4.95$ per single or 14.95$ + 20% of your ad revenue4.95$ per single or 14.95$ + 20% of your ad revenue15%/9%0%
SoundCloud MonetizationNONONONO
Split PaymentsYESYESNONO
Tax WithholdingYESYESNONO
Phone SupportNONONONO

Do you need more information on LANDR Music Distribution? Check out THIS article.

I hope you notices that the distribution speed is one of the highest in the industry. It might not be what you need most, but I guarantee that it’ll come in handy.

It’s also great that LANDR includes YouTube monetization and only charges you a one-time fee for mechanical cover licenses.

The support is also 100x better than DistroKid’s!

DistroKid vs RouteNote

I actually used RouteNote for a bit and was really pleased with the experience!

If you don’t want to put any money down, it’s the best place to get yourself started with music distribution. However, I personally don’t like the pricing for the premium service.

Let’s see how DistroKid compares…

DistroKid (Musician)DistroKid (Musician Plus/Label)RouteNote (FREE)RouteNote (Premium)
Pricing19.99$ per year35.99$/79.99$ per year0$9.99$ per year + 10$-45$ per release
Release Time1-7 days1-7 days1-5 days1-5 days
# of ReleasesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
# of Stores150+150+200+200+
# of Artists12/5-10011
Commission Fee0%0%15%0%
Payment Threshold0$0$50$50$
Payment MethodWithdrawal (1-2 days)Withdrawal (1-2 days)Automatic (monthly)Automatic (monthly)
Cover License12$ per year12$ per yearNONO
YouTube Monetization4.95$ per single or 14.95$ + 20% of your ad revenue4.95$ per single or 14.95$ + 20% of your ad revenue15%0%
SoundCloud MonetizationNONO15%0%
Tax WithholdingYESYESNONO

To be honest, the 15% commission isn’t going to hurt you (especially at first).

I’d only upgrade the premium plan if it ever became more profitable to do so. You essentially have all the same features, including the same distribution speed, on the free plan.

You even have YouTube and more importantly, SoundCloud monetization included!

RouteNote is also one of the few music distribution services that has phone support.

DistroKid vs Amuse

Alright, Amuse might seem like a really sweet deal.

It’s FREE and you get to keep 100% of your royalties. However, the distribution speed is atrocious and it’s just as bad on the premium plan (which is pretty expensive).

Take a look for yourself and see how it goes up against DistroKid…

DistroKid (Musician)DistroKid (Musician Plus/Label)Amuse (FREE)Amuse (Premium)
Pricing19.99$ per year35.99$/79.99$ per year0$60$ per year
Release Time1-7 days1-7 days3-4 weeks2 weeks
# of ReleasesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
# of Stores150+150+1414
# of Artists12/5-100UnlimitedUnlimited
Commission Fee0%0%0%0%
Payment Threshold0$0$10$10$
Payment MethodWithdrawal (1-2 days)Withdrawal (1-2 days)Automatic (2-3 months)Automatic (2-3 months)
Cover License12$ per year12$ per year
YouTube Monetization4.95$ per single or 14.95$ + 20% of your ad revenue4.95$ per single or 14.95$ + 20% of your ad revenueNO0%
SoundCloud MonetizationNONONONO
Tax WithholdingYESYESNONO
Phone SupportNONONONO

If you’d go with the free plan, I’d be okay with that.

I just really can’t see why anyone would pay 60$ per year for this service. The payments are also delayed to every 2-3 months so it just seems like you’d need to have a lot of patience to deal with Amuse.

Of course, they don’t withhold tax to foreigners so that’s a HUGE plus over DistroKid.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can you upload music videos through DistroKid?

A: Yes, DistroKid allows you to upload music videos along with your audio tracks.

Q: Is there an additional fee for uploading music videos through DistroKid?

A: Yes, DistroKid charges an additional fee of $4.95 per video upload.

Q: What video formats does DistroKid support?

A: DistroKid supports MP4 and M4V video file formats.

Q: Is there a limit to the length of the music video I can upload through DistroKid?

A: No, there is no limit to the length of the music video you can upload through DistroKid.

Q: Can I upload music videos for all the tracks on my album or EP?

A: Yes, you can upload music videos for all the tracks on your album or EP.

Q: Can I edit or replace my music video after it has been uploaded to DistroKid?

A: Yes, you can edit or replace your music video at any time after it has been uploaded to DistroKid.

Q: Where will my music video be distributed once I upload it through DistroKid?

A: Your music video will be distributed to all the stores and streaming platforms that DistroKid distributes your music to, including YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, and more.

Q: Do I need to have a separate YouTube account to upload my music video to YouTube through DistroKid?

A: No, you do not need a separate YouTube account to upload your music video to YouTube through DistroKid. DistroKid will automatically create a YouTube channel for you and upload your video to it.

Q: Can I see how many views my music video has on YouTube through DistroKid?

A: Yes, you can see how many views your music video has on YouTube through DistroKid’s dashboard.

Q: Can you release covers on DistroKid?

A: Yes, you can release covers on DistroKid.

Q: Do I need to obtain permission to release a cover song through DistroKid?

A: Yes, you will need to obtain a mechanical license to release a cover song through DistroKid.

Q: How can I obtain a mechanical license for a cover song?

A: You can obtain a mechanical license for a cover song through a third-party provider, such as Easy Song Licensing or Harry Fox Agency.

Q: Does DistroKid offer assistance in obtaining mechanical licenses for cover songs?

A: Yes, DistroKid offers a cover song licensing service for an additional fee, which can simplify the process of obtaining a mechanical license for your cover song.

Q: Can I release a cover song on DistroKid if I do not have a mechanical license?

A: No, you cannot release a cover song on DistroKid without a mechanical license. DistroKid requires proof of mechanical licensing before allowing the release of any cover songs.

Q: Can I monetize my cover song on streaming platforms through DistroKid?

A: Yes, you can monetize your cover song on streaming platforms through DistroKid.

Q: Will DistroKid automatically obtain a mechanical license for me if I upload a cover song?

A: No, DistroKid does not automatically obtain mechanical licenses for cover songs. You will need to obtain a mechanical license yourself or use DistroKid’s cover song licensing service.

Q: Is there an additional fee for releasing cover songs on DistroKid?

A: No, there is no additional fee for releasing cover songs on DistroKid. The standard distribution fee applies to cover songs, just as it does for original songs.

Q: Can I release a cover song as a single or does it have to be part of an album or EP?

A: You can release a cover song as a single or as part of an album or EP through DistroKid.

Q: Does DistroKid have issues with customer service?

A: Some users have reported issues with DistroKid’s customer service, particularly with response times and resolution of issues. However, others have had positive experiences with customer service.

Q: Are there issues with DistroKid’s payment system?

A: Some users have reported issues with DistroKid’s payment system, such as delayed payments or missing payments. However, DistroKid has stated that these issues are rare and typically resolved quickly.

Q: Does DistroKid have issues with distributing music to certain platforms?

A: Some users have reported issues with DistroKid’s distribution to certain platforms, such as YouTube or TikTok. However, DistroKid has stated that these issues are often due to platform-specific requirements and can typically be resolved with some adjustments to the release.

Q: Are there issues with DistroKid’s account management and user interface?

A: Some users have reported difficulties with managing their DistroKid accounts or finding certain features in the user interface. However, others have found the platform to be intuitive and easy to use.

A: Some users have reported issues with copyright claims on their music, particularly on YouTube. However, DistroKid offers a service to help manage copyright claims and can assist users in resolving these issues.

Summary: DistroKid Music Distribution Review

Although DistroKid’s music distribution service may not be perfect for artists, it certainly is for music producers. It’s incredibly affordable to have your work streamed on all the most popular streaming services.

TierPrice per yearFeatures
Musician$19.99Unlimited distribution to 150+ platforms, daily sales reports, 100% of royalties. No YouTube monetization. No customizable release date.
Musician Plus$35.99All Musician features plus YouTube monetization, customizable release date, HyperFollow, Shazam and Instagram verification, and the ability to add collaborators to your account.
Label$79.99All Musician Plus features plus label tools such as multiple artist profiles, consolidated sales reports, and customizable pricing and pre-order options.

It’ll make your work seem more professional (because it is, right?) and allow you to make some small changes on the side.

If you had to choose between having your music on SoundCloud Pro and everywhere else, which would you choose? I hope you’d choose DistroKid because you’ll get much more exposure for much less.

And remember, if you are licensing your music and planning to partner up with exclusive music libraries, you CAN remove your music at any point. It usually takes 1-2 business days.

That used to be one of my biggest worries, but trust me, there’s nothing stopping you from getting your music out there TODAY.

DistroKid is completely worth it in my opinion and if you sign-up through me, you’ll get 7% off your subscription. You can thank me later!

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Stefan Chamberland

Stefan Chamberland

Stefan is a highly proficient sound professional who specializes in sound for picture. His journey into sound production began at the young age of 16, where he initially produced music that went on to feature on local television. Today, Stefan utilizes his extensive expertise to record production sound and lead the audio post-production process for a variety of projects in the TV, Film, and New Media industry. Driven by his passion for sound for picture, Stefan founded Decibel Peak, a platform designed to empower and support emerging sound professionals while contributing to the growth of the industry.

6 thoughts on “DistroKid Music Distribution Review”

  1. There is a big question right here. do we still need to pay for music distribution nowadays?

    thank you very much for this awesome article. i know that it will be of superb help to so many people just as it has been of help to me. the standards of distrokid music distribution is fair and affordable.

    • Hey Smoochi,

      If ever you’re considering not paying for music distribution, I still think Amuse (amuse.io) is the best alternative. Many other free music distribution services take a percentage of your royalties as payment. If you’re not making much, they may actually be worth it, but most people I know end up upgrading to a paid service at some point.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      – Stefan

  2. Thank you very much for such a resourceful article.

    This is the first time that i am hearing about distrokid music distribution and you have explicitly explained the entire process and i now understand why it is cheaper. the fact that it offers much flexibiilty is awesome and you can either opt in for the extra features or leave it as it is

    • Hey Kirkman,

      DistroKid is actually relatively new compared to other music distributors. It was founded in 2013 if I’m not mistaken.

      I also mention at some point that you can monetize your songs on YouTube/Facebook for free using Identifyy (identifyy.com). Not many people know about this service which is why these companies usually charge you extra for this.

      Thanks for reading!

      – Stefan

  3. Nice article

    Distrokid has a good qualities and allowing one to summit unlimited releases simultaneously is really nice, it will enable artist with many music to summit it at once instead of summitting it singly and waiting for weeks to upload another, it is really stressful and time consuming.. Thanks for sharing this

    • Hey Alexy,

      You’re absolutely right, having to wait to upload another release is difficult for those of us who need to upload frequently. It’s also worth noting that you can also upload as many tracks as you want throughout the duration of your membership, no limits!

      Some other music distribution services are limited and/or charge you per release.

      I’m glad you found the article useful, thanks for stopping by!

      – Stefan


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