Over the past couple of weeks I have been working hard on a project to get the music of an unsigned band for sale on iTunes and other digital music outlets whilst ensuring that the band are making the most money possible in the long term. iTunes and Spotify control approximately 80% of the digital music sales/streams. For a band, making your music available on these services is a huge step to take, the first stumbling block people come across in getting their music into these stores is, none of the digital retail stores will let you in directly, you will need to be signed to record label or use a digital music distributor to get in.
It is worth noting that when you upload a single to iTunes and the sale cost is €0.99, that Apple take a commission leaving about €0.70 for the artist. Depending on the digital music distributor you choose you could be losing up to another 15% to them.
The world of digital music distributors is confusing to say the least. So I have put all my findings into one easy to read table to help you figure out which distributor works best for your needs. I will look at: sign up costs, costs per album uploads, yearly fees, commission per sale, minimum sales for payments across the four digital music distributors I considered using: TuneCore, DistroKid, CDBaby and Ditto Music.
|Upfront cost per Album||$22.99||$19.99 unlimited uploads||$49||$35.00|
|Annual fee per Album||$49.99||$19.99 unlimited uploads||$0||$25.00|
|Upfront cost per Single||$9.99||$19.99 unlimited uploads||$12.95||$9.00|
|Annual fee per Single||$9.99||$19.99 unlimited uploads||$0||$8.00|
|UPC Bar Code||FREE||Free||$20 for Album||FREE|
|$5 for Singles|
|Name your Label||FREE||Not on basic package||FREE||$41.25|
|Sales Percentage kept||0%||0%||9%||0%|
Each of the four digital music distributors I looked at have good points and bad and there is plenty more options out there to choose from such as Mondotunes, JTV Digital, Zimbalam and ReverbNation. I chose to go with DistroKid because we had three albums to upload from a back catalogue and their sign up fee allows for unlimited uploads for a year although it has a maintenance fee of $19.99 per year i felt with no commission going to them that it will work out cheaper in the long run. I will keep you updated with a review on their service very soon.