Now my first song ever, Stockholm vs Göteborg is finally finished, and it’s almost time to let you listen to it. It’s really fun and exciting, but at the same time a bit strange and self-exposing that the whole world will take part of my creation. Well, here I am with a .wav-file with my song. How can I insert it into Spotify?
Is there a cost involved and to whom do I turn?
In this blog post I will try to find out what to do next. Come along!
If you Google “publish music on Spotify” and click on any link you are presented with the word aggregator. For me, that is a brand new word. An aggregator in the Spotify world is a distributor and their job is to help you spreading your music digitally. Each aggregator has their own agreements with Spotify, Deezer and iTunes to mention a few, and by uploading your music to them, the distributor will in turn upload the song to the different streaming services. All of the aggregators have their own agreement conditions with the streaming services, and all of them offers their own agreement conditions to you.
Is it possible to publish music on Spotify without an aggregator?
According to a three year old forum post on Spotify, the answer is: No. “…the only way to get your music on Spotify is through a label or an aggregator.”
The person who wrote the forum post thinks that 10-50$ is a bit steep to hire an aggregator. But do you really need to pay that much?
List of aggregators
I have gathered a list of the most popular aggregators on the market today and how much they will charge you to publish your songs. I have also calculated a sum of what it would cost me to publish my song and how much I would get from it. This calculation is based on the facts that:
- I will publish one song every quarter.
- Every song will have around 10’000 plays.
- Also, my song will be on Spotify “forever”, which is why I want a price for 1 year, and a price for 10 years of service.
I should also add the redundant information that I’m currently not looking for a label. To start with, I don’t want anyone else to decide how, when and how often I should create music. Also, I don’t think my music is label friendly in its current form since I haven’t found my musical identity. Today opera, tomorrow 90’s disco with a Basshunter lead.
So, let’s look at the list. In alphabetical order.
CD Baby was founded as early as 1998 and they have 350’000 albums in their catalogue. It’s an american company based in Portland, Oregon. At CD Baby you have the possibility to print CD’s and have them distributed physically.
They have different cost models from Free up to 35$ for a single. In all the models they won’t charge you any annual fee. In the Free model you will get 85% of the returns, but the songs will not be distributed outside their site. To reach iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play and so on you will need to pay 10$, and when you do you will get 91% of the revenue.
Price for one song: 10$ (one year) / 10$ (ten years)
Price for 10 songs (one at a time): 100$ (one year) / 100$ (ten years)
Distrokid was founded in 2013 and their headquarters are in San Francisco, California.
They charge you 20€ per year to publish music through Distrokid. For that sum, you can publish as much music as you want and you will receive 100% of the revenue.
The song is added to iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, Google Play, Tidal, YouTube, Deezer and 150+ other streaming services.
Price for one song: 20€ (one year) / 200€ (ten years)
Price for 10 songs: 20€ (one year) / 200€ (ten years)
Comment: If I was a full time musician who wanted to go for it, this is the solution that I would have selected. If you release like one song every month, this is a great alternative!
Ditto was founded in 2005 and their headquarters is in Liverpool, UK. They have around 85’000 artist and they were the first company to add an unsigned artist to Spotify. That’s interesting!
The annual fee for a single is 10€ and for an album 30€. They also have a pro version where you pay 79€ for an unlimited amount of songs. In both cases you will get 100% of the revenue.
The song is added to Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon, Rhapsody, Tidal, Deezer and more. You can set a specific release date.
Price for one song: 10€ (one year) / 100€ (ten years)
Price for 10 songs: 30€ (one year) / 300€ (ten years)
The Finnish company Music Kickup was founded in 2011 and their headquarters are located in Helsinki, Finland. This company stands out since it is something as strange as a free aggregator.
To add a song costs 0€ and you will get 100% of the revenue.
The streaming services that your music is added to is somewhat limited: iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Xbox Music, WiMP, Tidal, Rdio, 7Digital, Microsoft Mix Radio and Amazon. Those are the most fundamental services, and I think that this could be enough for me.
Price for one song: 0€ (one year) / 0€ (ten years)
Price for 10 songs: 0€ (one year) / 0€ (ten years)
Comment: I get a bit suspicious, this seems too good to be true. If I look closer at their homepage, not much has happened since 2014. The activity on their FaceBook page is also low and what is written there doesn’t seem related to their business. As appealing that this offer is, I do not dare to take it.
Record Union is a Swedish aggregator with a close cooperation with scouts from Sony Music. They have been in business since 2008 and their main office is in Stockholm, Sweden.
Prices starts from 7$ annually to add a song to one streaming service (13$ for an album), while publishing the song to all their streaming services will cost 15$ (25$ for an album). They will give you 85% of the revenue, unless you upgrade your agreement for another 25$. If you do, you will receive 92.5%.
Record Union seem to add their music to all of the major streaming services (Spotify, iTunes, Tidal, Deezer and so on)
Price for one song: 15$ (one year) / 150$ (ten years)
Price for 10 songs: 25$ (one year) / 250$ (ten years)
RouteNote is a company that was founded in 2007 in UK. Their headquarters are located in Cornwall, UK.
RouteNote will charge you 0€ annually, but in return they will only give you 85% of the revenue. Whenever you feel for it you can upgrade your account to Premium for 30€. When you do, you will get an annual fee of 10€, but you will also get 100% of the revenue.
They claim that they publish their song to 90% of all streaming services including all the usual suspects like Spotify, Deezer, iTunes and Tidal.
RouteNote also have an affiliate program where you can refer other artist to use them. If you do, you will receive 2% of their revenue as well (which is taken from RouteNotes share). If you choose to use RouteNote, I would appreciate if you use my link, or specify my id (2f74c4ad) when you create an account. Thank you! 🙂
Price for one song: 0 (one year) / 0 (ten years)
Price for 10 songs: 0 (one year) / 0 (ten years)
Comment: This is just what I’ve been looking for. No entry fee, no annual fee and slightly less in return. If the music takes off I have the possibility to upgrade.
Spinnup was started by Universal and they currently do business in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and UK. They claim that the Universal scouts listens to the music that you upload through Spinnup and that one of them might sign you up for their label.
To add a song you pay 10€, to add a record, 40€ – and this is an annual fee. You will get a 100% revenue of the sales.
The song is added to Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon, Rhapsody, Tidal and Deezer. You can set a specific release date.
Price for one song: 10€ (one year) / 100€ (ten years)
Price for 10 songs: 40€ (one year) / 400€ (ten years)
Tunecore is an american company based in New York which was founded in 2005. They have a lot of offices around the globe, which also includes Europe.
The price level is 10$ for a single and 50$ for an album (but the first fee is just 30$). You will get 100% of the returns.
Tunecore publishes the music on over 150 streaming services, among them Spotify, Deezer and iTunes. Just like CD Baby they offer a wide range of distribution services that you can add on the US market and worldwide.
Price for one song: 10$ (one year) / 100$ (ten years)
Price for 10 songs: 30$ (one year) / 480$ (ten years)
How to publish music on Spotify
Well, there we have it. As I already made clear, I will use RouteNote (pronounced root note) since they won’t charge me anything on low levels. I also like that they are an European company since I want to help the local actors, albeit not at any cost.
In the next blog post I will tell you about how to actually add a song to RouteNote.