Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by Lunkhead »

Dang, that sounds frustrating. So, I signed up for Distrokid, but, I forgot I was also in the middle of checking out Repost from SoundCloud, which I could use for free since I already pay for SoundCloud. I had already done enough Distrokid setup though that they'd already charged me $20! It would be nice if they would wait to start charging you till you'd actually released your first track through them. :/ I'm thinking maybe I will use Repost for the thing I'm working on now, since I'm not sure I want to pay $20/yr for this band (:lol:) but I will be more inclined to invest like that for other projects. I'm also noticing that choosing a release date other than "today" requires upgrading. WTF? I've read in some reviews some mentions of how they sort of nickel and dime you over little details like that. Lame! Also, do they let you save your release as a draft or do you have to do the whole thing in one go and publish? Repost is letting me save my release as a draft and fill it out piecemeal. Man, there is a lot of repetitive data entry involved either way. I wish these lazy folks would provide some kind of spreadsheet/CSV upload option, at least for the credits. Having to enter names over and over for producer/writer/composer, etc. in HTML forms is lame. Also neither seems to offer credit options beyond those. I was hoping to put in who played what instrument. I know from work that it's entirely supported by the DDEX ERN data format used between providers and streaming services to specify whatever you want the credits.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by Lunkhead »

Also these reviews of various services were interesting:

https://aristake.com/cd-baby-tunecore-d ... mbalam-or/

Amuse has some solid sounding backing and a different model than the others.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

Amuse is really frustrating to work with. You can't just check your earnings from the website, you have to install their completely pointless mobile app to check it, and their stats aren't nearly as detailed as DistroKid's. Also it looks like Amuse has added a "pro" version that they're trying to nickel-and-dime everyone into as well, since I guess they've come to realize that people who want free music distribution probably aren't making music that's worth them doing the A&R thing on.

I find it interesting that you consider DistroKid's different service tiers to be nickel-and-dime but then compare it to SoundCloud Pro which costs what, $10/month? Instead of $36/year (for DK's pro tier)? I mean even DK's "label" tier costs significantly less than SoundCloud Pro.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by Lunkhead »

Oh yeah, "app only" for Amuse sounds just awful, blech.

Yeah, "nickel and dime" I guess isn't the right term. They all seem to be very selective about what features are free and what you have to upgrade for. Picking a release date, though, I mean, who doesn't want that? Making that extra has made their lowest tier pretty weak seeming to me, is more like what I meant.

SoundCloud I'm already paying for anyway, is the thing, for the song hosting, which I definitely want. I wish it cost half what it does but setting up my own stuff instead just is not worth the time and hassle for me. At least now they're adding stuff like free auto mastering (although I haven't really tried that much yet and I already got Ozone Elements which may be similar) and free digital distribution.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by ken »

I just heard about https://www.routenote.com/ which has a totally free option to get your music on 90% of digital platforms. Anyone used this or given it a deeper dive?
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by Lunkhead »

Interesting. Looks like with the free option they take 15% of your revenue, although for folks like me 15% of $0.00 is $0.00. :lol: The other limitation they disclose is that you can't uploaded lossless/uncompressed audio files. You have to give them a compressed format, which means that what listeners hear will likely have been compressed again by the streaming service, resulting in some audio quality degradation.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by ken »

Speaking of audio quality. I'm working on a release of my weekly beats songs and CDbaby requires 16/44.1 wav files only, but Bandcamp let me upload 24/48 wav files.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

There is no reason to keep using CDBaby in the year 2021 unless you still have a bunch of leftover credits from previously being scammed encouraged into their service.

But yeah Bandcamp is pretty good about that, although I see that as a convenience feature; none of the major streaming services support better-than-CD-quality audio, and it's all just going to get downconverted to 16/44 anyway. Bandcamp will provide FLAC at the original resolution, though, which is nice for folks who care about that sort of thing.

RouteNote looks promising but they hide their pricing information on their support site, and those prices don't look particularly great to me. $10/year PLUS a per-release price? Meh. That's only cheaper than DistroKid if you never release anything. I'm still sticking with DistroKid.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by jast »

Side note: yesterday I tried DistroKid's signup process out of interest and stopped before actually picking a plan. Today I got an automated email for a 35% discount (valid 48h) for the first year. Might be useful to know if you ever want to sign up there.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by jast »

... still didn't act on it and now they sent me another mail with a 40% discount.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

See if it’ll ratchet up to 100
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by jast »

They didn't send me anything new after the 40% deal, but that link seems to be working still even though they claimed that it would expire after 48 hours.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by ken »

Does anyone have a basic idea of how long it takes for an album to show up on all the streaming services once it has been released by CDbaby? Mine was sent out around March 18/19/20, and I while I know it has only been a few days, I want to know the links so I can make one of those links that has all the links in it.

Does anyone have experience with CDbaby digital distribution that can share their experience? Thanks.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

I haven’t done DD on cdbaby in a long time but last time I remember it taking a few weeks. Meanwhile, DistroKid gets it all up within a few days and also gives you a landing page that you can link to which gets the streaming links as they become available.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by vowlvom »

Having recently stuck some stuff by an old band out via Amuse, I can confirm that they take one month. But the first week is validation, so if it fails for any reason (e.g. in my case one of the tracks was already on streaming because it was on a compilation) then you have to start again.

BUT it's free.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by jast »

By the way, something I didn't realize until now is that DistroKid will delete your releases if you stop paying. There's a separate charge to keep a release up no matter what ($29 per release). In other words, if you release very few things, DK can actually end up being more expensive in the long run.

CD Baby does not charge again after the initial fee.

Amuse will remove your releases from the Boost/Pro-only stores if you cancel, but they will stay up everywhere else. They won't even take down releases under secondary artist names, just set them to read-only.

RouteNote has a yearly renewal fee for the non-free option ($9 per album per year).

TuneCore - oh boy. From the second year onward they charge you more than for the initial release ($29 first year, $49 subsequent)...

PS. btw this is the (cleaned up) link DistroKid sent me to get the 40% discount on any plan (first year only), simply use this after you've entered an email address and password: https://distrokid.com/plan/?c=comebackplskthx40213 - those last three digits look an awful lot like a year and month if you ask me...
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by ken »

fluffy wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 9:38 am
I haven’t done DD on cdbaby in a long time but last time I remember it taking a few weeks.
Ugh...

Well, I'm learning. I'm planning on more releases, so I'll be sure to start earlier on the next one.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

jast wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 11:09 am
By the way, something I didn't realize until now is that DistroKid will delete your releases if you stop paying. There's a separate charge to keep a release up no matter what ($29 per release). In other words, if you release very few things, DK can actually end up being more expensive in the long run.
That $29/release is still less than what CDBaby charges for the initial release, though. Never mind, looks like CDBaby charges a one-time $29/album now, if you don't go with their "pro" service. They used to cost a lot more.

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.

For that matter, when I stop being an active musician I stop caring about my music being available on iTunes. People can still get it on Bandcamp (and pay less for it anyway) if they want.

Honestly I make so little money off of the mainstream services that I only even bother with DistroKid because it's the only way I can get a lot of people to even listen to my stuff in the first place. Whenever I release an album I always get a bunch of people asking me if it's on Spotify or Apple Music. For me, DistroKid is the loss leader. (I mean, amuse.io would be even more of one but I've not been very happy with how they've handled the couple of releases I've done through them.) I treat it like a form of web hosting; I've never even made $25/year from the mainstream services.

For me the biggest downside to CDBaby is that they charge an additional 9% royalty on top of their already-high submission fee. That's outrageous.
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by fluffy »

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!
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by jb »

It's interesting to think about distribution channels and why we use one or the other, and why we as musicians are drawn to the distributors who will put our music on as many streamers as possible as cheaply as possible.

As an amateur with dreams of grandeur, I have this vision that if my music is available everywhere somehow it'll get heard by the right person and placed in a position where many people will be exposed to it. It'll get on the right Pandora channel, it'll get on the right Spotify playlist. I don't know how it would get heard by that person, other than the extremely unlikely possibility that someone I know will know an influencer and the even more unlikely happenstance that they'll listen to my stuff and that influencer will notice my band name on my friend's "played" list and go hear it, or even better my connected friend will share it on their Facebook and their famous uncle will hear my song and voila fame and riches.

Or maybe you're an indie band that does your own marketing, and you just want to make sure that you are where your fans are. Makes sense not to make people who are already pretty tenuously connected to you work to hear your stuff. "We are everywhere you listen to music, just open your favorite streamer".

Or maybe you're huge and you want to make sure you get your outsized share of the 70% of each streamer, since an outsized share of only one streamer isn't maximizing your potential. Let's not screw just one pool of little guys, let's screw ALL the pools of little guys, right Major Lazer?

At the moment I'm seriously considering, with the problematic relationship of indie musicians to all the streamers, that maybe just plain ol' Bandcamp is all I need because people who really want to hear my stuff will go there, and I should just accept that people who only kind of maybe might want to hear my stuff aren't going to make the effort no matter where I put it.

Just some thoughts. $.02 as it were.

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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

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.)
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Re: Least-shitty distribution and manufacturing channels

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

jb wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 12:24 pm
... maybe just plain ol' Bandcamp is all I need because people who really want to hear my stuff will go there, and I should just accept that people who only kind of maybe might want to hear my stuff aren't going to make the effort no matter where I put it.
To me it depends... are you trying to market your stuff, gain a following, build a brand, make an effort to be commercial (even if money isn't your ultimate goal?) Then you'll want it everywhere. If you're just wanting friend and friends of friends to have access then bandcamp is great. Honestly, I've need to spend more time with bandcamp and less time with other distribution, but I'm not nearly consistent enough for it to matter much.
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