Different distributors offer different pricing options. You’ll find distributors like DistroKid that offer unlimited distribution for a low annual fee. There are distributors like CDBaby and Onerpm that charge an upfront flat fee plus a percentage of sales and there are digital distributors like Tunecore that charge an annual fee per release. What it comes down to is what’s going to work best for you.
Paying a one time fee per release plus a percentage of sales works great if you’re concerned about the possibility of not selling and making money. If you don’t sell, the distributor gets a percentage of zero dollars which works out great. At the same time, if you’re annually earning $1000 in royalties, something like 15% could cost you $150 annually. A platform like DistroKid offers unlimited distribution for $20 per year allowing you to release as many albums as you’d like for that one low fee. In theory it’s a great deal but in practice it may not be so beneficial. Onerpm vs. DistroKid as an annual fee is $20 vs. 15% /$150 if you’re earning $1000 per year in royalties. What happens if you gross zero dollars for the year ? Onerpm earns 15% of zero dollars which costs you…zero dollars. Alternatively, earning zero dollars for the year would still cost you $20 with DistroKid.
No artists plans for their album not to sell but it happens and it happens OFTEN!. The vast majority of artists releasing albums aren’t making any money. If you’re like most artists and earning under $20 per year, DistroKid is going to be too expensive for you in the long term. If you’re earning $300 per year, DistroKid is the better option. Keep in mind that you must be able to pay DistroKid’s $20 annual fee without a doubt because failing to pay it once may result in the removal of all of your songs from all digital stores and streaming platforms resulting in the loss of reviews, star rankings, and broken links from places that linked to the album, the same goes for Tunecore.
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Digital distribution through Onerpm is now FREE!