If you want to be heard, you have to get your music on DSPs, or digital streaming platforms. Luckily, this process is a lot easier than you might think!
We’ll show you exactly how to get your music on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music below so that you can build your online presence as a musician below.
How To Get Your Music On Spotify and Apple Music In 5 Steps
Let’s get your music out there! Here’s exactly what you need to do to get your music on streaming platforms and a couple of best practices to help your music stand out from the crowd.
- Have A Project Ready To Go
- Choose A Distribution Platform
- Leave Lead Time
- Create A Release Schedule
- Promote Your Music
1. Have A Project Ready To Go
This may seem obvious, but it’s essential that you make sure the music, visuals, and full concept of your album and single is fully realized before moving to distribution. First impressions with DSPs, playlisters, and bloggers are important, so you’ll need to be prepared as possible before considering a formal release.
Make sure your music is properly mixed and mastered to meet the loudness normalization needs of each platform. If you’re not mastering your own music, make sure your engineer provides you with all the necessary files for submission to DSPs.
Along with the wav file of your song, you’ll also need cover art, typically exported at 3000 x 3000 pixels. You’ll also want to have the lyrics, production/songwriting credits, BPM, and “moods” of the track. These will come in handy during the distribution and pitching process.
The major DSPs include though aren’t limited to:
2. Choose A Distribution Platform
Once you have your artist project ready to go, it’s time to find an online distributor. These services get your music on Spotify, Apple Music, other major DSPs, and social media sites like TikTok, depending on which distributor you choose.
Each distribution platform is different, though all will help you collect royalties from streaming services and provide each platform with the metadata associated with your music. These platforms usually charge a subscription fee, have you pay per release, take a portion of your streaming revenue, or a combination of the three methods.
Here are some of the most common distributors used by indie artists that you may want to consider:
- Amuse: This distribution service is completely free and allows you to keep all of your rights and royalties. However, there is a cap at 12 release for free and a fee for splits, though you can upgrade to a paid version of the service.
- CD Baby: CD Baby is one of the original music distribution platforms for indie artists and has 150+ digital distribution partners. You’ll pay an upfront fee of $9.95 per single or $49 per album.
- Distrokid: Distrokid lets you upload to all streaming platforms and social media sites while keeping all of your royalties. The service operates at a yearly subscription model, starting at $19.99 a year.
- Spinn Up: This independent record distribution company is owned by Universal music group. Artists keep 100% of royalties, and you pay $9.99 upfront per track. The platform also promises to show top performing tracks Universal Music Group A&R team, which may help artists become signed.
- Tunecore: Tunecore distributes your music to over 150 services for a flat fee of $9.99 per single or $29.99 per album. Artists keep 100% of their royalties.
- United Masters: United Masters allows you to distribute your music to all of the major platforms, and offers access to sync opportunities for some artists. You can join their premium service for access to all benefits for a $59.99 annual fee, or distribute for free keeping 90% of your royalties.
- Bandcamp: Bandcamp isn’t a distributor per se, but some indie artists choose to sell music exclusively through their site since their platform allows you to set your own price for audio.
3. Leave Lead Time
A mark of a rookie musician is not leaving enough lead time in between release day and when you deliver the assets to your electronic distributor. You should ideally set your release day at least two weeks later than your distribution date, but 3-6 weeks is ideal. This lead time will give you the opportunity to pitch to editorial playlist through Spotify for Artists and Amazon Music For Artists.
You’ll also have the opportunity to pitch your project to blogs for coverage or a premiere. Make sure your link in bio is up to date with all of the bells and whistles so you can put your best foot forward in front of curators.
4. Create A Release Schedule
Once you’ve submitted to distribution with enough lead time, it’s time to build a schedule for pre-release, release day, and post-release. This should include when you plan to post teasers, reveal album art, hold fan events, and follow up with bloggers.
For public-facing events, update your Event Calendar mini app so that your fans know where to find you! You can also digitally engage fans leading up to a release using mini apps like Ask Me Anything, Dare Me, or Shoutout leading up to your launch.
5. Promote Your Music
Don’t stop putting in work after release day rolls around! It’s essential to keep the momentum going, continuing to promote your music. You can use social sites like TikTok, build your email list, or direct fans straight to your music and projects promoting your link in bio.
In the age of algorithmic playlists, it’s particularly important to invest in promoting your back catalog, even if release day was long ago. With enough organic push, you can trigger your music to get into the ears of new listeners, so stay as consistent as possible!
Congratulations! You’ve completed the process of publishing your first work on streaming platforms. On to the next one!