Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

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fluffy
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 12:29 pm
fluffy wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 12:20 pm
Oh also does CDBaby still charge extra for the UPC? Their digital distribution page seems to indicate that they do. So that makes the album submission cost actually $49/album, not $29. That's two years' worth of DistroKid!
Not if you have to pay an additional 25 bucks per record to keep it on distribution permanently (if you leave distrokid.)
But you don't have to pay that, and there's no reason to pay that if you maintain your annual fee with Distrokid (and if you're actively releasing albums, why wouldn't you?). And I don't know about you but if I were to leave Distrokid it's probably because I want to reupload my music somewhere else anyway.

The $25/album add-on is specifically for their "legacy, in case something happens to you" thing. It's so that someone else can continue to collect sales income on your albums after you die.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Or if, say hypothetically, you're paying the label fee for multiple projects (Evil Grin, T.C. etc., etc.,) and you are going to take a year off to finish your degree because your wife just started working for the University hospital and you'll get half rate tuition and you're only a semester (or less) away from finally finishing what you started thirty years ago. My only point being, you have to decide what's best for your situation which isn't always as obvious as is it for yours. (That being said, I do use distrokid so....)

In unrelated news, I may be taking some time away from music starting next January. *shrug*
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

Oh also Distrokid is only $20/year, not $25. I don't know why we all keep on saying it costs $25/year.

Not that $5/year makes that much of a difference. (And $20/year really isn't that much!)

Anyway I'm not trying to convince anyone to use the same services I do or whatever, obvs different people have different motivations in the choices they make, and for me the calculus always comes down to sticking with DistroKid, on the basis that I've released at least one album every year ever since I started using DistroKid and that pays for itself compared to the other paid services.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by jast »

Found another "pretty much free" service... Songtradr! It's originally a (sync) licensing service (and they still do that, automatically doing sync licensing for you, and you get a 60% cut or 80% with a Pro subscription) but they expanded into distribution.

Their cut: 10% (0% if you subscribe, starting from $19/y)
Releases: $0 (both free and subscription), no takedown if you cancel your subscription (AFAICT; I think they just go back to taking their 10% cut)
Publication delay: typically 14 business days, custom release date possible, $25 for expedited publication within 3 business days
Stores: many (+Shazam)
Lyrics: yes (unsynced only)
Multiple artists: yes (free version; for subscriptions you need Pro and it gets more expensive the more artists you want)

Their metadata is quite detailed (and filling it in is a little tedious, partially because they assume you'll want licensing and ask you for all of the data before you can even create singles/albums for distribution), except for song credits which are only artist(s) and a comma-separated list of composers. Oh, and the web interface was a little flaky for me, maybe because of my ad blocker.

It's a little different but I think I'll give it a try and report back on how well it works.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

Oh, neat, I've actually been looking for a sync licensing service! What with most of my music these days being shit for video games and soundtracks. Thanks for posting about that! And that streaming-service pricing structure sounds way more compelling than Distrokid, to boot.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

fluffy wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 1:05 pm
Oh also Distrokid is only $20/year, not $25. I don't know why we all keep on saying it costs $25/year.
Is the "legacy" option $25? I didn't check and my memory has seriously gone to shit. It might be $50 per album now that I think about it. I know they market it more or less as "if you die" but to me the whole idea of having to pay a yearly fee to keep something on distribution if you want to take a year (or more) off seems shitty to me.
For as long as I'm active as a musician I'll be releasing enough music at a regular cadence that DistroKid continues to be the best deal for me. Obviously YMMV. But if paying that $25/year to DistroKid ever becomes a burden I'll probably not be in a situation where I'm releasing at least one album every year.
And your music will no longer be available unless you fork out the extra cash per track/album. If I had known that ahead of time I wouldn't have gone with distrokid (even if it's the best value money wise.) Obviously, I'm still butthurt over it. I guess I should have just done better research.

Thanks to everyone for their input. I'm not really arguing against any of the options. Each of us should go with what they think is best. And we can always change in the future if one company doesn't work for us.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by ujnhunter »

jast wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:56 pm
Multiple artists: yes (free version; for subscriptions you need Pro and it gets more expensive the more artists you want)
Does this require multiple accounts for multiple artists (free version)? I think I've boned myself distribution-wise with my many, many, many "Bands". Or I guess I could do what I do on my Soundcloud/Reverb Nation accounts and just post as "Ujn Hunter & Friends" for all my side projects and such, putting the "band name" in the Title. Looks like Distrokid has upped their "Label" fees, or at least limited them to 5 artists now... argh!
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:27 am
fluffy wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 1:05 pm
Oh also Distrokid is only $20/year, not $25. I don't know why we all keep on saying it costs $25/year.
Is the "legacy" option $25? I didn't check and my memory has seriously gone to shit. It might be $50 per album now that I think about it. I know they market it more or less as "if you die" but to me the whole idea of having to pay a yearly fee to keep something on distribution if you want to take a year (or more) off seems shitty to me.
The legacy option is actually $49, as it turns out.

Anyway, it sounds like Distrokid's model isn't right for you. Something like amuse.io is probably better for your needs.

I really can't see any world where CDBaby is the best option though. There's nothing that CDBaby does better than the others that justifies their higher per-album price (remember that the $25 doesn't include their bullshit UPC charge, and they take an additional 9% of all sales). And even then, all of this is just fussing over scraps where we're being sold the promise of maybe making money someday. If any of us win the music-as-income-source lottery then the decisionmaking process becomes very different.

Anyway. My current thinking is:
  • Use Bandcamp as your primary platform and encourage people to ACTUALLY BUY YOUR FUCKING MUSIC
  • All the other platforms/distributors suck for different reasons, and I'm going to stick with Distrokid because it sucks less for my needs (plus, inertia)
  • If $20/year is too much to spend on hosting music that makes no money, go with amuse.io, which I predict will either go out of business or force strongly encourage people off of their free offering within the next five years (they've already started to encourage their "pro" plan FWIW), and then when that happens, reevaluate what's available
  • for god's sake don't use CDBaby, they are ripping you off
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

Oh also Distrokid has a bunch of other fun perks, like if you stream on twitch, they get you instant affiliate status. I don't know why (I think twitch has a deal with them to try to get more live music content?), but it's nice to have. So that's another reason why I'm sticking with Distrokid.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

fluffy wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:24 am
I really can't see any world where CDBaby is the best option though.
Check my math. If you're wanting your album to stream (forever) it'd be 49 bucks for CDBaby. It'd be 25 bucks for the year and another 49 bucks through distrokid. If you do one album a year (or less) wouldn't it be cheaper to go through CDBaby?
Anyway, it sounds like Distrokid's model isn't right for you. Something like amuse.io is probably better for your needs.
I actually think Distrokid is a better fit for now. But if I finally come to my senses and realize that the three albums I have 75% of the way done will not be done in the same year then perhaps you're right. For the record, I'm not arguing that distrokid is the right or wrong fit for anyone. You've made some very valid points. I'll shut up about it now.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:26 am
fluffy wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:24 am
I really can't see any world where CDBaby is the best option though.
Check my math. If you're wanting your album to stream (forever) it'd be 49 bucks for CDBaby. It'd be 25 bucks for the year and another 49 bucks through distrokid. If you do one album a year (or less) wouldn't it be cheaper to go through CDBaby?
Yes but that's assuming that CDBaby and Distrokid are the only two options. They aren't. I'm just saying that no matter what scenario you're facing, there's a better choice than CDBaby.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

fluffy wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:38 am
I'm just saying that no matter what scenario you're facing, there's a better choice than CDBaby.
Ah, that makes sense. Sorry for dragging it out.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by jast »

ujnhunter wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:57 am
Does this require multiple accounts for multiple artists (free version)?
Nope, it looks like you can add as many artists as you like in a single account. Your account is for a single writer/author/producer (real name for credits and copyright purposes) but there's a strict separation of writers and performing artists (all of which are you, essentially) associated with a song. (If a song has multiple writers and payouts needs to be split, each writer creates their own account and you can link other writers to the song.)
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by jast »

A little update on this - I just received my first earnings notice from Songtradr that was above $0, though it's still very close to $0. At this pace I estimate it will take about 1400 years until I will have earned enough to actually lose out on an amount equivalent to a one-year pro membership due to commissions to Songtradr, or about 560 years to lose out on the equivalent of a one-year basic membership with DistroKid.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by ujnhunter »

Me too. 4 months in and 2 months out of 4 earned something... almost at that $1 mark... though it's split 3 ways so... maybe we'll all get $0.33 at the end of the year! Woo!
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by jb »

And in the end, the least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels was the friends we made along the way
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