For musicians and producers looking for a music distribution company to work with, DistroKid and TuneCore are excellent choices. Both platforms are very professional, affordable, and easy to use.
However, there are few differences between them that may make one or the other better for your particular use case. In this comparison article, we’re gonna go through all the key features of DistroKid vs TuneCore to help you decide which is the best one for you.
In our tests and research, DistroKid always ends up being the most cost-effective company to release your music through. TuneCore, though, really caught our attention due to the number of additional services they offer. They also have partnerships with other companies providing useful tools for artists.
If you’re going through the process of choosing a music distribution service, don’t forget to check out our Best Music Distribution article for a round-up of some of the best and most popular providers in the market.
DistroKid vs TuneCore – Quick Introduction
DistroKid is very popular among independent artists and musicians. According to our research, the digital distribution company has one of the best prices you will find if you want to release music. You will be able to upload unlimited songs for a yearly fee. Plus, they’re a Spotify preferred distributor, meaning you will get access to your Spotify for Artists profile in no time.
Tip: Check how DistroKid compares to another popular distribution company, Amuse, in our Amuse vs DistroKid article.
TuneCore is a digital music distributor that offers several additional services. Such as publishing administration, social media management tools, and Youtube Content ID integration. A staple in the music industry, their focus is making it easier for artists to deal with points that otherwise would be complex to come across, such as managing publishing royalties.
DistroKid vs TuneCore: Feature Comparison
Table of Contents
- Which One is More User Friendly?
- Streaming Services and Stores
- Delivery Time
- Playlist Pitching
- Additional Services
- Referral Programs
- Customer Service
Which One is More User Friendly?
Both websites are very easy to use and upload music to. But, DistroKid has a simpler process due to the company focusing solely on digital music distribution. As opposed to TuneCore, which features lots of additional services and extras that may make the experience more complex. Especially for beginner and independent artists.
DistroKid’s pricing table is simple to understand and straight to the point. There are three options of plans: Musician, Musician Plus, and Label. With the most affordable plan ($19.99/year), you get all the features you will need to upload unlimited music; But, the Musician Plus option features a few important extras such as daily sale stats and customizable release date.
Whichever you choose, you also get the option to split the payment with your band members or a fellow artist so you can share the same account. For record labels managing multiple artists, the Record Label plan starting at $79.99/year for 5+ musicians/bands will cover your needs. The number of artists is also upgradeable.
With TuneCore, the artist is charged per album or single. If you plan to release an album, the company will charge you $29.99 for the first year and $49.99 for each following one. Singles will cost a yearly fee of $9.99. For ringtone, $19.99/year.
These prices can quickly add up, especially if you plan to release a lot of music and/or are on a budget. For that reason, we found DistroKid prices to be more cost-effective. TuneCore’s pricing is justifiable by the number of additional services they offer though so it will be up to you whether this investment is great.
Streaming Services and Stores
Through our research, we’ve found that digital music distributors tend to focus either on providing the artist with the largest number of streaming platforms and stores, including niche ones; Or, focus on the most popular, tried-and-tested outlets.
This is the case with DistroKid vs TuneCore. DistroKid prefers to distribute to the 31 major platforms (such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Google Play) as well as smaller outlets via their partnership with MediaNet.
TuneCore, on the other side, apart from working with these major services, is constantly adding new platforms to their service (such as niche ones focused on independent musicians).
Knowing how fast your music will be delivered to the streaming services and digital stores is important so you can plan ahead and have time to promote your music release prior. DistroKid has no specified timeframe to review new releases, but it shouldn’t exceed two weeks. TuneCore claims to review new songs in one business day.
How much the digital distributor will take from your royalties is an important point to consider to find the most cost-effective option. Both with DistroKid and TuneCore, you get to keep 100% of everything you earn with your music, no matter what is your plan.
Without a doubt, getting pitched to the largest number of playlists possible is the goal of every independent artist today. That’s why music distributors often offer opportunities and tools to grow your career.
DistroKid manages several Spotify playlists and is constantly looking for new music on a weekly basis. They also have this feature on their platform called Wheel of Playlists, where you roll a prize wheel to have the chance to be included on one of their playlists.
TuneCore doesn’t have any playlists of their own, but they still offer a lot of functionalities to help artists promote themselves such as their social media management tool and their partnership with websites such as BandZoogle (tool for music website creation).
Music distributors often offer analytics tools so musicians and artists can see how their music is doing across streaming platforms and online stores.
DistroKid will show you daily sales stats from your releases if you choose for the Musician Plus and up plans. TuneCore has a few more features regarding that matter; Still, it is best for artists to check their streaming numbers directly through services like Spotify and Apple Music for Artists.
When it comes to additional services, TuneCore is one of the music distributors that offer the most extras. Here is a list of the main ones:
- TuneCore Publishing ($75) – Publishing administration service that will collect your music publishing royalties for you.
- YouTube Monetization ($10) – TuneCore’s YouTube function registers your songs, monitors and collects ad revenue and monetization from your music on YouTube. One time fee.
- TuneCore Social ($7.99/Month) – Social media management tool for artists.
DistroKid has no major additional services specified on its page. The company prefers to keep its focus on music distribution.
Is TuneCore Publishing Worth It?
The royalties of a song are divided into multiple parts. There are the mechanical royalties, which are generated every time your track is played whether it is on streaming services or physically, and the performance royalties.
Performance royalties are, again, split in half: writers’ and publisher’s share. To collect these, you need to register with a P.R.O. such as Ascap or BMI. Every time you register and upload a song, you automatically become its publisher.
The thing is, it is not always easy to do this process on your own. Publishing admin services like TuneCore Publishing are there to help artists collect all the earnings they’ve made with their music. This is a good investment for artists of any level of experience and expertise if you can afford it at the moment.
DistroKid’s affiliate program is one of the best among all the music distributors because it will give you $10 for each artist you invite to the platform, and 7% off their first year on any plan using the service.
TuneCore has a referral program called Refer a Friend. The company will give you and the fellow musicians and bands you bring to the platform a 20% discount on plans. Plus, 7% commission over your friends’ earnings (paid by TuneCore).
As a rule of thumb, always search for reviews about the customer service of a company when dealing with your music career. This is a point frequently overlooked but it is very important for any service you work with to have solid support.
According to several reviews, DistroKid’s support is good but a bit slow. The platform is extremely automated so issues may take a few days to be solved. It seems like efficiency is the only drawback, though.
Similarly, TuneCore is a very big company and they have hundreds of thousands of artists to manage. This may often be a reason for a response delay according to users that shared their experience. The company’s customer service seems to be supportive though.
Tip: Make sure to take a look at our Record Union vs TuneCore article where we compare TuneCore with Record Union.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does TuneCore YouTube Works?
TuneCore charges a one time fee of $10 for the service. The company has a partnership with YouTube where they simplify the process of registering your track with Content ID. You can collect all the earnings you gain through monetization of videos using your music in the TuneCore platform.
You can do this process on your own directly with Youtube Content ID. But unlike when using TuneCore YouTube, it would take more work from your side to register your songs and collect your earnings. We recommend this service for established artists who are making music and releasing it frequently.
Does the Music Distributor Own Your Music Copyrights?
No. This is a question often asked by many artists, but the truth is that whichever distribution service you choose, you always keep 100% of your copyright.
- Best price in the music distribution game and the most cost-effective option.
- Unlimited uploads.
- 0% commission taken by the platform. You keep everything you earn.
- Cover song licensing is simplified through the platform.
- You can split payments with your band members and friends.
- One of the best referral programs among music distributors: $10 for each artist you invite and 7% off the first year of their plan.
- Hidden additional fee such as the extra $0.99 for having your music on Shazam.
- Customer service is not so time-effective.
- A high number of additional features and services.
- YouTube Content ID integration.
- Publishing services will help you collect your music publishing royalties easily.
- The social media management feature makes it easier to manage all of your profiles in one place.
- TuneCore has partnerships with multiple websites that can help you grow your career. Such as the BandZoogle website creator and Rotor video creator.
- TuneCore DiscManufacturing service. You can print physical cds, vinyls, posters, and USB drives.
- The price is higher than most music distributors. The company charges separately for each album and single you upload so the costs may quickly add up.
- The customer service is supportive but not fast (according to multiple reviews).
- TuneCore doesn’t offer any free trials.
We have compared several companies through our music distributor comparison series. But, we always find DistroKid pricing to be the most cost-effective option in most cases. The platform is reliable, trustable and it will only cost you a $19.99 annual fee to release an unlimited amount of music.
TuneCore is also great due to its large number of artist services. These range from publishing administration to social media marketing tools, as we’ve discussed in the article. So the company is certainly the best for those established artists looking for an all-in-one solution.
The choice will really come down to how much of an investment you’re willing to make. But, if you’re a beginner and you’re looking for your first distributor, there’s no better option in our opinion than DistroKid.Thank you for reading our guide. Always research all of the different distributionservices before committing to one. On our website, you can find several relatedarticles comparing more distributors. Also, feel free to share any thoughts or questions with us!
Ian Sniesko is an experienced music producer and musician who loves to share his knowledge about the best audio equipment for making and enjoying great music. For the past 6 years, Ian has written extensively about the audio equipment industry and has contributed to many of the top music magazines.