Hitting the Big Time, Musically

John Scalzi

I was curious about getting my musical compositions onto streaming services, and I was recommended DistroKid to do this — for a flat annual fee they will get your music up onto just about every service that streams music. I went ahead and used my most recent musical track (now subtitled “The Vince Clarke Fan Club Convenes”) as a guinea pig to see how DistroKid did in delivering the piece to the waiting masses.

The answer: Pretty well. My piece hit Tidal in under an hour and was on Spotify and other major services less than 24 hours later. DistroKid also connected the piece to previously existing musician profiles on most of the major services, and gave me access to Spotify’s artist portal, so I could update my musician page there, which I was never able to do before. And then they even generated a cute little graphic (see above) that I could use to promote the piece.

They also had me price the track for the stores that still MP3s (Amazon, for example), so I set it to 69 cents (I know, I know: “Nice”). That said, I don’t actually recommend you purchase the track for actual money. Just stream it, and if you really want the mp3 of it, here it is for free. If I put together something I think is actually worth your money, musically speaking, I’ll let you all know.

The one drawback to DistroKid that I can see is that if you stop paying it the annual fee, then all the music you distribute through them apparently falls off the service (unless you pay an extra one time fee to keep it up, which one assumes you would have to do for each track uploaded). This isn’t a problem for me, since my current plan is less than $40 a year. But there’s nothing to say that can’t go up, perhaps dramatically, over the course of time. It’s something to be aware of.

Otherwise, I’m satisfied with how it works. I’m not likely to send every noodle-y musical composition I put together to the streaming services, but it’s nice to know that when I have something I would like to share there, I have a simple, efficient and relatively cheap way to do it.

— JS

6 Comments on “Hitting the Big Time, Musically”

  1. Use the album name to search. If you look for John Scalzi on YouTube, you’ll find a lot of anti Scalzi screeds.

  2. If you get bored of paying the yearly fee, DistroKid has the “Leave a Legacy” feature that allows you to pay a flat fee ($49 for albums, $29 for singles) for the release to remain up indefinitely.

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