How Music Distribution Works: Everything Artists Need To Know

Trying to get your head around music distribution? Here’s everything you need to know about getting your music on all the major streaming platforms.

Written by Leni - April 20, 2020

Ready to release your new fire into the world? We break down the ins and outs of music distribution, helping you get your music in front of the right listeners and ready to be streamed and playlisted worldwide. 

What is music distribution? 

Music distribution is the process of getting your songs available to stream or download on music stores and streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music, plus social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. 

It can also refer to physical distribution (like selling your vinyls in record stores) or additional monetization services like YouTube. 

Music distribution is facilitated by third-party music distribution services (like Amuse 👋🏾), who help artists get their tracks out into the world. Think of them like the “middle man” between an artist and platforms like Spotify. 

Why do I need a music distribution service? 

One might think that artists upload their music straight to individual streaming services preparing a release, like you would upload a YouTube video or Soundcloud file. But since releasing music comes with some more complications - such as keeping track of streaming data and royalty payouts - all artists need to go through a digital music distribution service like Amuse to get their music out in the right way. 

The digital music distribution service basically mirrors your sound file and it’s metadata (song title, cover art, songwriters, rights holders etc) to the different streaming services, acting as a little hub that collects streaming and royalty data. That means you can upload a single release and automatically submit it to all the stores you want to send it to in one go. A digital music distribution service also functions as a pipeline between services like Spotify and Apple Music and your own wallet.

When you create a release with Amuse, we will automatically send your music to all the major digital music stores and streaming services,, including Spotify Apple Music and YouTube. 

Without a music distribution service, artists would have to submit a new release to each music store or streaming service individually (aka a LOT of work). 

Does music distribution cost anything? 

At Amuse, we offer free music distribution and let artists keep 100% of their rights and royalties. Why? Our free distro service helps us discover new artists to sign to our record label

For the pros who want to stay independent and level up their career, our new upgraded Amuse Pro tier lets you also distribute your music to Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, plus a heap of other features like fastlane releases, VIP support and automatic royalty splits. 

Which are the most important music stores and streaming platforms? 

It’s important to make sure that your music is available to be discovered everywhere that your potential fans are spending time. For most artists, a lot of their streams are going to come from a few key players. 

Spotify – Spotify is a digital music, podcast, and video streaming service that has millions of songs from artists all over the world. 

Apple Music – Apple Music is Apple’s on-demand streaming service with access to over 50 million songs. 

Amazon Music – Amazon Music is an online streaming service and music store with more than 2 million songs. 

Tidal – Tidal is a subscription-based music, podcast and video streaming service that features high fidelity sound, hi-def video, curated playlists and original content. 

Deezer – Deezer is a streaming platform with more than 56 million tracks, originating in France and now available in over 180 countries. 

Pandora – Pandora is a major music and podcast discovery platform, providing a highly-personalized listening experience to more than 70 million users. 

YouTube – YouTube is a video sharing service where users can watch or upload their own videos. Artists can publish music videos to the platform or monetize their tracks via YouTube Content ID. 

Facebook – Facebook offers artists the chance to showcase their music on the platform, letting fans add your tracks to their Stories or their profile’s music feature. 

Instagram – Artists can distribute their music to Instagram, meaning that your songs will be available within the Music sticker for fans to add to their Stories. 

TikTok – It’s the world’s fastest growing social media app and features popular content like dance routines, challenges, and duets. 

Google Play – Google Play gives Android users access to millions of songs, movies, TV shows and books.

So, how does music distribution with Amuse work?

Distributing your music with Amuse is super simple, you can do it in a few minutes via our desktop web builder or direct from the app. We’ll ask you to upload a few things (like artwork and audio files), choose a title and date for your release, name any contributors and select the stores and streaming platforms you’d like us to deliver to. 

Once the release has been submitted, our team will check your release and make sure everything looks good (we’ll email you if any action is required), and then we’ll send it to the stores. 

On the day of your release, we’ll reach out with a link to your music on the stores for you to share with your fans. 

How long does it take for my releases to reach stores?

Amuse Free users can choose release dates at least 28 days into the future. Amuse Pro users have access to Fast Lane Releases, meaning they can pick a release date 14 days into the future.

How do I get paid for my music? 

Music stores and streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music usually pay out royalties 2-3 months after the streams happen. So, if one of your tracks is streamed in February, this will show up as a royalty payment in April. 

At Amuse, we process the incoming payments from the streaming platforms at the end of each month. Once you earn more than $10 in royalties, you’ll be able to withdraw your earnings via the app. 

Ready to release your music? Sign up to Amuse for free. 

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