I was skeptical about DistroKid, the music distribution service that sends as much music as you can produce to streaming and sales sites for a yearly fee. The guy behind it likes to tout the fact that the founders of his main competitors have endorsed his service. Any kind of high profile recommendation makes me immediately suspicious. But…
It’s okay. I signed up. Sold some music. Made enough referrals to cover the signup fee. Left for 3 years while I worked on other things. Now I’m back! Short version: it's still good! And I still don't mind sharing my referral link so you get a 7% discount and I get a small referral fee.
The first roadblock: the artist name I used back then was no longer of interest to me, but it still occupied the one slot on the account. I contacted DistroKid. They weren’t able to delete it, but they did add a free Artist slot so I could upload for a new project.
The uploader still has no bulk option. It’s not so bad for uploading a 4 track EP, but it might get a little old if I make a full album. DistroKid wants you to “be prolific,” but this is friction in the way of doing that. You can’t set things in bulk, and at least for me, everything except the track name is the same. It does at least let you copy the songwriter name to all tracks with one click.
It didn’t pull the track name from the metadata in the FLACs I uploaded. That’s a missed opportunity for taking back some of the friction added by not having any bulk upload or edit options. The data is right there. This seems like an oversight more than an intentional thing on DistroKid’s part.
I ultimately took advantage of the 14 day upgrade discount window and moved over to a Musician Plus plan. I have plans for the extra artist slot, and the daily stats are nice to have. It’s nothing I can’t get from setting up an account on each service, but this brings it into one dashboard. DistroKid provides an album UPC and ISRC codes for the tracks that you can add to Bandcamp so it’ll report sales to SongScan. This is handy if your marketing strategy involves getting on charts.
They’ve added a bunch of services since I was last on there, so I’ll briefly review the few I tried.
Wheel of Playlist
I always end up bumped by someone else within an hour or so, but they do give you another spin before the 24 hours are up when this happens. But the playlists…most of this is not music I’m into. You have to follow all their playlists, from country to gospel to metal, to get a spin on it. I don’t want all this messing up my Discover Weekly magic playlist. It would be better if I could pick 1-2 playlists to follow. As it is, I have to stop using it or make a burner account just to use this function. I stopped using it entirely.
DistroKid’s music analysis AI. The data looks like the Spotify analysis you can get by API: BPM, danceability, energy, etc. I think they’re just pulling Spotify’s data for the song. That’s okay to me. I’d rather they not spend money on doing too many non-distributory things and drive up prices.
For the most part, they’re tools that go well with a music distributor. I will probably use Vizy to make the promo video when I set up Bandcamp subscriptions.
DistroKid does what it says it’ll do on the sales page: sends your music to the stores, gets you paid. Simple. Support is still responsive three years later. I expect to stick around this time.
Use my referral link for a 7% discount.