Distrokid Vs Tune Core vs Sound Cloud. Which Is Best?
Should you upload to Distrokid, Tune Core, Sound Cloud, Audio Mack, Apple Music, or print vinyl records and custom Tiny Tapes? To make music is one thing, but getting your music out there can definitely be confusing at first. You want people to hear your music and you want to see what streaming revenue looks like. The issue is, you're not sure where to start. Well, have no fear, we've got the walkthrough right here. In all honesty, these platforms make your music accessible to the whole world. But in this read, we'll discuss the differences and particular strengths of each.
Music Distribution vs Hosting
First, let's establish a difference between general music hosting sites and music distribution services. Tune Core & Distrokid help independent artists get their music on to larger streaming services like Spotify & Apple Music. Sound Cloud and Audio Mack are music hosting sites that a musician can directly upload their songs to. Music enthusiasts can come to Sound Cloud or Audio Mack & browse through all the hosted music files to find, listen to, and save your track. On these sites, people who like your songs can follow you, comment on your songs, or create custom playlists. This is like a form of musical social media. These platforms help get your indie music to potential fans.
In contrast, Distrokid & Tune Core are different from general music hosting sites. You can't go on Distrokid or Tune Core to find or listen to new music, artists, or playlists. These services only help you get your music to music distributors. Distrokid & Tune Core are basically like middle men between indie artists and big music streaming companies like Spotify & Apple Music. You may not have a direct contact with people in Spotify offices. Thus, You make music, give it to Distrokid or Tune Core, & they pass it to Spotify or Apple for you.
Distrokid vs Tune Core
So now, lets get to the point. After you make music, where should you put it? The answer is everywhere. The proper question is which service will you use to do this. The most popular distribution services not only include Distrokid & Tune Core, but also CD Baby & United Masters, which is reputed for hooking artists up with video game placements. But which distribution service is the best or will give indie artists the biggest bang for the buck? Any service here is truly a good choice. But for all intents and purposes, we'll cover the major two. But if forced to choose, the top choice is Distrokid.
Distrokid is the most affordable service. They charge as low as $20 per year to upload and distribute as many songs as you want. They'll put your music on Spotify, Apple, Tidal, Deezer, Instagram, TikTok and more within 1 - 5 days. They offer artists a custom link page for the different streaming services. Artists can use this link in their Instagram bio so that people can choose to open a song in Apple or Spotify, etc. And Distrokid has an automatic splits feature which enables automatic royalty payments to be sent to whoever you make music with whenever you have a collaborative track. On the contrary, the biggest drawback of Distrokid is that customer service is generally only available through email. However, that's likely part of why it's so darn cheap. Check out their own list of benefits here.
Let's talk Tune Core. Tune Core also distributes to many of the same platforms as Distrokid, also within a few days. The major difference here is cost. Tune Core charges per album or single, rather than offering a single fee for unlimited uploads per year. Uploading an album can cost $30 and then $50 every year after to renew distribution for that same album. Singles are $10 every year for each single you distribute through Tune Core. If you make music every day, this can get pricey. This pricing model is little less friendly for fresh new indie artists. But supposedly Tune Core has better customer service but a bit of a clunkier user interface experience. They also offer paid music publishing & licensing services, and a social media post manager.
Then of course you can always still distribute physical copies in the form of trendy vinyl records or Tiny Tapes, vintage cassette mp3's. Tiny Tapes make a strong impression and literally pay artists over 100 times more than a stream pays. Look here at their site for the benefits they claim.
Sound Cloud Vs. Audio Mack
To begin, both platforms are good alternatives to major streaming services like Spotify. Sound Cloud & Audio Mack are both known for catering to the underground independent music scene. Audio Mack specifically started as a place to upload mixtapes for those who make music. Both platforms have grown to the point that their streams are actually counted for billboard records. And with the growth eventually came ads on each platform. The plus is ads allow independent artists to monetize their music through these platforms. Overall, the two platforms mostly differ in price & a few features.
First & Foremost, Audio Mack allows for unlimited uploads of music, but it only accepts mp3 files. Another plus is that it offers a "follow to download" feature, which restricts non-followers from downloading your music. This can help with securing more followers to keep up with your music updates.
On the other hand, Sound Cloud only allows up to 3 hours of music before you have to pay a monthly fee of $6 - $15 depending on what pro features you would like.
What to Do Once You've Got A Fan Base
After uploading songs for a year or more and keeping new fans engaged, you may eventually build a worthy following. You may find yourself asking what's next? Independent artists often chase the "starving artist" narrative, choosing to struggle until they reach fame to begin to profit. But indie artists can make back all the money spent on studio time, home studio gear, sound engineering, & music videos way before blowing up.
Just sell merch! You don't have to wait the long game until you finally get to 1 million streams. Even when you do, 1 million Spotify streams only equals about $4,000 in pay (read more). Versus selling only 200 t-shirts for $20 to get to $4,000. Sites like Printful or Tiny Tapes offer easy mail out merch solutions. You don't even have to touch or see the merch. Just submit your design and they'll handle the rest.
Printful is good for making T-shirts and anything else you can print on. Imagine designing a T-shirt on Printful that all your fans wear to your next show. Tiny Tapes offers this cool little mp3 player that looks just like a vintage, mini cassette tape. Fans love the nostalgia of a Tiny Tape and are always impressed by how loud it gets. They make a great first impression and allow you to offer special, unreleased content to your biggest supporters.
So after you put your music online via one of the host or distributors above, go merchandise and start getting paid for your art. Fans are far more likely to pay for a physical item before they pay for a digital file that they can just download or stream for free. Don't just make music all day, every day. That's only a piece of the hustle. Cut out some time to monetize your music for yourself.