How To Switch Music Distributors

how to switch music distributors - decibel peak academy
how to switch music distributors - decibel peak academy
how to switch music distributors - decibel peak academy

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I’ve been testing lots of music distributors over the last year, but I was initially concerned about “safely” switching over and transferring my music without losing stream counts/playlist placements. However, I realized that the process can be pretty smooth if you know what you’re doing. That’s whey I created this guide, so you can also have the same freedom!

If you came to learn how to switch music distributors, rest assured that it CAN be done without losing your stream counts/playlist placements. The most important pieces of metadata you’ll need to achieve this is your music’s ISRC code(s) and your albums’ UPC code(s). Of course, you’ll also need to duplicate the rest of the metadata, but we’ll get into specifics as we dive deeper into this guide. For now, you just need to worry about KEEPING your current track(s) uploaded and opening an account with your new chosen music distribution service. Once that’s done, we’re ready to begin!

Can you switch music distributors?

YES. That’s the short answer, but the process is quite delicate and requires precision. It’s easier than you think to remove your music from streaming services, but you need to WAIT.

Doing this before uploading your music through your new music distributor might result in you losing your stream counts/playlist placements.

For some of you, that may mean losing lots of money…

Personally, I don’t use streaming services to monetize my music catalog. If you don’t mind losing a few pennies, you really don’t need to worry about the specific order of the steps.

However, I do recommend taking note of any ISRC (recording) and UPC (album/single) codes.

It can confuse streaming services if you upload the same music with different codes, so it’s wise to keep using the same ones throughout the lifetime of your music. I personally log mine into spreadsheets along with other sensitive metadata.

That being said, we need to ask ourselves one more question before moving forward…

Can you use two different music distributors?

YES. Before completely making the switch to your new music distributor, you may want to consider having more than one distribution service at the same time.

At time of writing, I was using DistroKid and RouteNote.

I read an article on CD Baby’s website stating that having multiple music distributors for the SAME music can have a negative impact on your artist profile. However, you can obviously distribute DIFFERENT tracks through DIFFERENT distribution services.

For example, Song A through Distrokid and Song B through RouteNote.

It’s also possible if one of the services has access to a platform the other doesn’t.

One of my main concerns when switching music distributors would be the potential creation of the TWO IDENTICAL artist profiles on streaming services. However, I was pleased to find out that streaming services recognized the profile and grouped both DistroKid and RouteNote into the same artist profile.

That being said, I mainly use multiple distributors at the same time to test them out. I like having options, so I recommend doing this with some singles you’re relatively proud of.

Of course, this won’t be possible for everybody….

That’s why I took care of this for you, so make sure to read my reviews of the best music distribution services if you’re interested in making that decision on your own.

Okay, now that we got our explanation, let’s move on to the process!

What you’ll need to switch music distributors

Once you’ve registered with your new music distribution service (I recommend RouteNote), you’ll want to keep any music you’re planning to transfer uploaded. I recommend keeping them up for at least 2-3 days after you’ve confirmed the duplicate versions of your track(s).

The information you’ll need is as follows:

  • ISRC code
  • UPC code
  • Track Title
  • Artist Name
  • Album/Single Title
  • Identical Artwork

Make sure to save these on spreadsheets to have access to them at all times. The best place to find this information would be the IRSC Search and Spotify’s Developers Console.

The console is slightly more difficult to use, so please refer to this video (it starts the perfect time) to understand HOW and WHY to use it.

The amount of information you’ll require will depend on the specific music distributor you’re using. Once you’ve scheduled the re-release date (technically, that’s what this is), just make sure to remove the previous release shortly after.

There’ll be an overlap (duplicate versions of your track), but that’s okay.

Just make sure it’s not there permanently.

Once you’ve taken care of that, you should theoretically have retained your stream counts/playlist placements. However, I can’t make any guarantees that the process is flawless. If you’re really nervous, I suggest making the move right after receiving your payment for any given period by your current music distributor.

That’s all there is to it!

It’s a delicate process, but pretty easy to replicate once you understand.

Learning how to switch music distributors gives you the freedom to choose the best distribution service for yourself

The days of record labels using and abusing their artists are no more! It’s easier than ever to make the jump from one music distribution service to another without losing your streaming counts/playlist placements.

It’s even possible to use more than one music distributor at once (less is more though).

In case you forgot, here are the pieces of metadata you’ll need:

  • UPC code
  • ISRC code
  • Artist Name
  • Track Title
  • Album/Single Title
  • Identical Artwork

I know it sounds tedious, but creating spreadsheets for your music’s metadata will keep you organized and efficient in the long run. If you’d rather have someone else take care of that for you, Decibel Peak can provide that service for you!

If you’re still looking for your perfect music distributor, you may also want to check out some of the reviews I’ve written about some of the best music distribution services.

Thank you for your time. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to switch music distributors.


Picture of 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.

2 thoughts on “How To Switch Music Distributors”

  1. I really appreciate the fact that you answered the questions that I had as an upcoming producer who wants to release his own music AND in meanwhile, testing different distributors (such as AMUSE and UNITEDMASTERS).

    Thank you! <3


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