I was chatting with a spoken word artist recently about CDBaby (which costs to join) and Bandcamp (which is free to join). After explaining that Bandcamp doesn't distribute music to digital partners nor collect royalties she considered ending her relationship with Bandcamp, which I thought was a bad idea. Though I have music on CDBaby, I also have music on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and ReverbNation. I believe music should be shared and if the platform is free to use, why not use?
All of these distributors are tools. Some of the tools can help get your music to digital retail stores like iTunes and Spotify. Some can help you collect performance royalties. Some can help you get placed on pop music charts and some can help you build relationships with fans. In this post, I'm going to try to break down the basic differences among a few well known digital music distributors. The best one for you depends on your artistic and financial goals. But whatever the destination, info is a good thing to have on the way.
CDBaby: distributes music to over 60 digital partners for a flat rate per album. They don't have an annual fee, but they take a higher commission on sales. With the CDBaby Pro option, the company will collect international performance royalties on your music. Through CDBaby Pro, they'll sign you up for a Performance Rights Organzation (ASCAP/BMI) if you're not already a member. CDBaby is a smaller company, so they're a little more friendly. I'd say that for monetization purposes, no matter what level of artist you are, it's one of the best ways to go.
TuneCore: distributes music to around 30 digital partners for an annual fee. With the TuneCore Publishing option, the company will collect international performance royalties on your music. TuneCore is probably better for artists who put out albums frequently: they save money by not having to pay to post each album or single. TuneCore is a larger company and over the years, their pricing has changed, which has turned some customers off, but it's still one of the best companies for monetization. From what I've seen, artists are either for CDBaby or for TuneCore, but they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Here's a chart from Ari that shows the breakdown of fees for CDBaby Pro vs TuneCore Publishing.
|Read full article at http://aristake.com/?post=76|
Reverb Nation: In my opinion, Reverb Nation falls under the "social networking" cluster of music sharing. The company does not collect royalties, but it does distribute to around 40 digital retail stores for an annual fee. Reverb is great for creating widgets, creating and selling merch, and interacting with artists and fans, but I wouldn't pay them for digital distribution. I think the company can be a great tool for building an online reputation and learning about what other artists are doing. Many of my fans have found me through ReverbNation. Apparently, a lot of cool kids hang out there.
Here's a chart that compares how ReverbNation pricing compares to CDBaby and Tunecore
|Courtesy of http://cdbabyvstunecore.com/|
|Read more at musicmunch.com|
So what's the verdict you ask? Again, it depends on your goals. For monetization, CDBaby or TuneCore seem to be crowd favorites. For promotion, and distribution, a CDBaby/TuneCore with Bandcamp combo can be helpful for both musicians and fans. ReverbNation is junky, but interactive, and Ditto Music can get you on the UK charts. Also, not mentioned in this blog post are Mondo Tunes, Songcast, and ADEDistribution. That's because I don't know anything about them.
What digital music distributors have you used? What have been your experiences?
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