When it came time for my band to figure out how to get our music online at digital music distribution platforms, there was much debate. How do we get onto iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify? Are we going to give up the rights to our music? How much does one cost versus another? The whole thing was a mess—so much so that I actually do not know whether we went with TuneCore, or CD Baby, or BandCamp, or whatever. But with only a couple weeks before we launch our first full-length album, it’s fitting that I should stumble upon a possible one-stop shop that could solve all our problems: DistroKid, a service that purports to be low-cost and low-frustration.
According to the service’s site, DistroKid costs a mere $20 for an annual subscription, and with that out of the way, bands and independent musicians get unlimited music uploads to all four of those services. Moreover, the site says that musicians will get one hundred percent of whatever royalties are generated by these music sales. That’s pretty key, since it’s no secret that one of the biggest struggles in running a band independently is the constant lack of funds.
The service’s founder, Philip Kaplan, explained to Forbes a few months ago what inspired him to create DistroKid:
“Most musicians these days have over 100 songs just sitting there and it doesn’t make sense to choose which songs to upload to iTunes. And in a way your creativity is limited because there’s a cost associated with every song you record.”
One of the things that I like about what I’ve seen of DistroKid is its potential for disrupting the current marketplace for online distribution for independent bands. A lack of funds also tends to equal a lack of choices. If you don’t like the services that exist to help get your music on digital platforms, well, too bad: chances are you don’t have enough money to hire someone to navigate the difficulties of uploading songs to each service manually. If DistroKid catches on, that means those other businesses won’t have as much leverage to charge musicians higher prices. And that’ll force them to either a) improve their services, or b) lower their prices. That’s a win for everyone.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?