Digital Distribution options


Hello all,

I’m considering entering into a digital music distribution deal with a local woman who is connected with Vydia. She’ll take 20% of my royalties, which I figured initially was an okay deal since I’m not well-known, i.e. I may get no money at all from this venture. But I also know someone who is doing this all himself, no middle “man”. Wondering what sort of experience you all have. Thanks!



I don’t know what you’d see in it if it’s all digital and then somebody takes your royalties, but have at it. I only make about $1,000 per year doing the DIY route, but it’s nice to only have to pay off the distros and not fuck with anybody else trying to do it better than me. Also, I don’t do well with forfeiting creative control and shit like that, but I know that type of thing doesn’t matter to a lot of people anyway.

If it’s worth it to you, however, go for it.


The only reason I would have a digital label take some of the royalties would be if they actually spent time, effort and money marketing my stuff.

If they can’t assure you they’re going to do that (and it must be clarified + signed as part of the contract), then why would you give money for something you can do easily yourself via DistroKid, CDBaby and other such package offers?


Personally, I do a terrible job marketing myself. That said, after a few years on distrokid, I quit the service and now just upload directly to youtube, soundcloud, audius, and bandcamp. My plays/sales are all the same as when I used distrokid for distribution (which is to say a few dozen plays on each new track and a sale once or twice a year). No one was asking for my music to be on spotify, tunecore,, deezer, tidal, apple music, amazon, etc. so no one misses it now that it’s gone.


I’ve got a homie that is setting up a digital music distribution/publishing company and I fail to see how the model is in any way helpful, I’ve asked him about this and he’s failed to convince me that there is any value in it. He’s tried to employ some of his tactics to come up with publishing royalties for a project that we collaborated on a few years ago that DID organically gain some traction (rounding the bend on 3million spotify streams). His contract guy makes 20% and over a year we’ve banked approximately $1.50 over the initial payouts from Distrikid (contract guy doesn’t make anything on royalties he doesn’t dig up).

What I am getting at is this - Unless this company (or my friend’s) has a strong marketing background, media contacts, a foot in the door with music supervisors for television, film, media etc you might as well go DIY. This friend wanted me to release an upcoming record with him and I went the route sending out demos and landing with an already established label that’s taking a chance on my work by investing in physical release (ie: vinyl) and has a marketing/PR machine in place. After recouping the cost of the pressing we split profit 50/50, its a fairly standard deal for indies.

I’d have them show you some real world examples of their success stories before going the digital music distro deal route.

Just my 2 cents.


Yes, that’s what I’m starting to think too!


I hear you. When I asked the woman why I should choose her over CD Baby, I expected her to say that she marketed my material, but she just said that she was local, i.e. easier to reach by phone, and that Vydia (she’s connected with them) provides marketing tools. Not terribly compelling.


I don’t know what Vydia is, but I’m getting the same vibes from their social media for sure


Same here…i just upload it myself onto bandcamp and yt…after that then its whatever…

And mainelee

Getting your music out there isnt easy…

Whatever happens happens.



I did some co-production, mixing and mastering for an artist on this comp. the whole thing was pretty fucked.


This guy knows his onions.

Get your music onto as many streaming sites as possible if you are an unknown artist.

Shocker - you will still need to promote yourself. The more you can do the better. Find a friend who likes making videos or graphics or whatever and get into a collaborative effort with them - co-promote each other.

I have been amazed by what is possible by the dedication of my friend’s son. He makes rap/drill/rnb music. He and his friend made a video for a track and to date it’s got 3.3M views on YT. He was making several thousand pounds per month for several months via the usual streaming channels, which his Dad managed to get him on through his own distribution channel. This lead to interest from Sony and he eventually sold the rights to the song to one of their subsidiaries for approximately 20 grand.

Do not believe anyone who tells you you cannot make money from streaming.

Who you know, popularity, dedication/effort, skill and luck are all factors in the music biz - probably in that order tbh.

Edit: the kid turned 21 on Friday and already had his first 30k+ earnings from one song, lmao.


Well, one thing is, I haven’t yet looked into how much the alternatives, like DistroKid, are, and another thing is, it could be that I would pay less by going the 20% route. I hear you though. I’m getting very close to calling the deal off, because no one here seems to think it’s a good idea!



I didn’t know you could access the same sites as an individual, as a distributor like Distrokid does. I thought I read that some sites are only accessed through distributors. Hmmmmmm. Yeah, I think, based on past experience, I’ll do a crappy job marketing myself, which is why I was going to go with this 20% deal, but it looks like the woman/company only provides “marketing tools”, not the actual marketing, which kinda sucks. Maybe that’s what you’re saying… that you can’t upload to just any site you want, but that it’s okay because people didn’t know your music…


I hear you. :slight_smile:





I watched half of that video just now. I read the Vydia contract and you have the rights to your own music, so this seems quite different. For me the issue is more whether I’d spend more money or less money using a flat-fee distributor.


Not all the same sites. The biggest one you cannot get without a distributor is Spotify, but there’s also Tidal, Apple Music, Deezer, Pandora, Youtube Music (not to be confused with the main Youtube site), and a bunch of others. The thing is that my crappy marketing doesn’t target getting people onto any of those platforms, and no one on those platforms was looking for my music. So in the end, putting my music on those platforms was only to stroke/bruise my ego and cost me some money.


Why did you quit Distrokid? Are you saving money the way you’re doing it now?


Good question. Since all the sites I upload to are using free accounts (granted you have the option to pay for better Youtube and Soundcloud accounts), yes I am saving money by uploading everything everywhere myself versus the cheapest distrokid option.

As far as advertising is concerned, Distrokid accomplishes zero. They will get your music onto the premium platforms like Spotify, but they do nothing to promote your music, that is still up to you. So in my case, because my ad budget is limited and I’m not very good at advertising, it makes more sense for me to focus what little budget I have on advertising and drawing people to 4 platforms (youtube for the most people, soundcloud for people who don’t want to stream video, bandcamp for people who want to download my music, and audius to be somewhere different) rather than trying to get people to go to the 70+ platforms Distrokid will distribute you on. The four platforms I want to grow on are Youtube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and Audius. Everywhere else is a distraction to me.

It’s not so much that I save money, it’s that my goals/advertising can be more focused because I’m driving people 4 places instead of 70.


Oh, that totally makes sense. I’ve been doing more research in the past coupla nights, and I’m tempted by Tune Core, which can be pricier than Distrokid but also makes more money for the artist. I might look into going your route too. So far, are you making about the same amount of money?