Digital Distribution: CDBaby vs Tunecore vs OneRPM vs Reverbnation


When choosing a digital distributor there’s four things you want to make sure you look at:

  • What stores they distribute to
  • How much they charge
  • If they take a percentage of sales
  • How they pay you.

The four digital distributors I feel are most worthy of your attention are OneRPM, CDBaby, Tunecore, and Reverbnation. Some of these companies have a host of other services they provide; some for free, some at an additional cost but they aren’t included in any digital distribution package. This is a comparison of the digital distribution packages.

 Digital Music Stores:

 There’s a lot of music stores out there and you want to have your music in as many of them as you can but some are more important than others. Ideally if you sell physical product in the real world you want your product in Walmart, Target, Macy’s, etc. These are the areas where most people tend to shop.  In digital distribution there’s really only six stores equivalent to the offline mega stores that you need to have your music in. Those stores are: iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, and Rhapsody. All the digital distributors on this list distribute to those stores so they’re all even in that regard.

 Cost of Digital Distribution:

this is the fee Digital Distributors charge you to distribute your music to online stores like iTunes, Amazon, etc. – not to insult anyone’s intelligence, just noted for clarity. (Updated) (Updated) (updated)
CDBaby charges $50 $60 per album and $13 $15 per single.

OneRPM charges $40 for a limited number of stores and $75 for an unlimited number of stores. for all stores

Tunecore charges $50 per album, per year and $10 per year per single. Reverbnation charges $35 $50 per year, per album. $10 per year, per single.

Percentage of Sales Taken by Digital Distributors: (Updated)

15% or

0% for an annual fee of $30 per album

0% 0%

Though both Reverbnation and Tunecore give artists 100% of their sales revenue, the annual fee they charge acts as a defacto percentage of sales. In fact, in some instances the annual fee can be worse than a percentage of sales such as when you have to pay more in fees than you’ve made in sales. I know everyone is a Rock Star and plans to swim in money like Scrooge McDuck  when they drop their album but the sad reality is that artists are struggling to give music away for free, let alone sell it.


Digital Distribution – the Distribution of funds:
PayPalDirect/ Direct Deposit$10 minimum balance to withdraw funds


No minimum balance to withdraw funds

PayPal/ Direct DepositNo minimum balance to withdraw funds PayPal$20 minimum balance to withdraw funds

Digital Distribution – Added Incentive:
  • Free Direct Sale option – Just like Bandcamp you can upload your music directly to CDbaby and sell from the site without having to pay any upfront costs.

  • Physical Distribution – if you’re selling CD’s or Vinyl CDbaby will distribute your work to Physical music stores.

  • Widgets to embed stores on your website or Facebook page.

  • As new stores open your music is added to them at no additional cost to you.

  • Democratic home page where every new release spends a short time on the front page. What this does is it exposes you to anyone that visits the CDbaby front page giving your album an early boost.

  • UPC barcode – You’ll need this if you plan on submitting music to Pandora or having Soundscan track your sales.

  • Free Direct sale option

  • Widgets to post stores on your website and Facebook page.

  • Marketing support where if you’ve gotten a significant write up or have impressive numbers on social media, they’ll work to get your album better placement in the stores they distribute to.

Doesn’t do anything aside from distributing your music. Provides you with widgets to post on your website and Facebook page. Embed music stores, collect emails, post events, etc.

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  1. Good comparison; Overall, on comparison with big players like CDBaby/TuneCore/REverbN; I feel that its Onerpm, and Zimbalam that are great for musicians (especially beginners). Distrokid is another great one, but they have too little stores as of now.


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