Upcoming Artistes: How to Get Your Song on Spotify for Free

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How much does it cost to be on Spotify? What do you need to get on Spotify? As the world sifts away from the age of physical CD and vinyls, streaming services have become even more mainstream. According to 2019’s year-end report from the RIAA, streaming services accounted for 79.5%, or $8.8 billion of the total revenue for music with Spotify making up for a whopping 35 percent of total subscribers in the music streaming industry today.

But if you claim to be an artist and your music is still not on Spotify, then this statistics reveal that you’re inadvertently harming your career.

Last week, the world’s largest music streaming platform, Spotify announced that they were coming to Nigeria, Ghana and over 35 other African countries, a decision that was long overdue.
Many artists, especially independent or unsigned, might have not discovered that you can’t upload music to the streaming platform directly like other conventional music platforms like Audiomack, which is the most popular in Nigeria.

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But before breaking down the required routes to getting your music on Spotify, we have to answer why you need your music here when there are hassle free platforms like YouTube, Audiomack, Boomplay, Soundcloud or even download platforms tooXclusive and notjustok?

Benefits Of Spotify

1. Earn Money

On Spotify you earn $0.00437 for every stream your song gets. Although this figure varies by regions, you are guaranteed at least ₦1 for every stream you garner, which is significantly better than YouTube.

2. Editorial Playlists

If you pitch your unreleased song to the Spotify team early, they will listen to it and include them in their official editorial playlist, which will subsequently guarantee you thousands of streams.

3. International Audience

Since Spotify is the biggest streaming platform in the global spectrum for music, your song is exposed to international audiences who are looking for sounds different from those in their locality which opens doors of opportunities for you in international markets.

How to Get Your Song On Spotify

In 2018, Spotify used to accept direct uploads from artists, but that changed less than a year later in July 2019, as the company reverted back to their original format of accepting music exclusively through music distributors.

Empire appears to be the most popular distribution company in Nigeria but you have to pay an hefty recurrent fee or be part of a record label to utilise their platform.

The most popular affordable distribution companies for upcoming independent artists are CD Baby, Distrokid and Tunecore.

Tunecore has the cheapest fee for a single upload at $9.99, which translates to about ₦4,000, but you will have to pay this fee annually or risk your music getting yanked off their every platform. This means if you distribute three songs using Tunecore, you will forever be paying ₦12,000 yearly to keep them. In stores, even if the releases don’t perform well.

Distrokid offers $19.99, or an estimate of ₦8,000 for unlimited single releases in a year, but you will also be charged that fee on a yearly basis to keep your records in stores.

In comes free distribution services which help deliver your releases to stores with no upfront charges or fees or any reoccurring annual payment.

You can use multiple distributors for multiple music releases, but you can only use one distributor for one release.

Some of these distribution companies might ask for a chunk of your royalties in return, but none own the copyright to your music, as that remains 100% your own.

In this article we have analysed the three most popular free distribution services that are worth your mo…, sorry, music.

Amuse

Amuse is a distribution company founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 2015, making them the youngest on this list. They claim that the “antiquated music industry is a system designed to rip off artists by making everything hard to use and difficult to understand,” so they “want to watch it burn, and build a better tomorrow from the ashes.”

Aside Spotify, they distribute your music to virtually all of the major music stores including Apple Music & iTunes, Soundcloud, Tidal, Amazon Music, Deezer, Napster, Shazam and YouTube, while you keep 100% of your earnings.

However, to get your song on Tiktok, Facebook and Instagram, you will need to upgrade to Amuse Pro, which costs a whooping $59.99 or ₦24,000 per year.

They operate via a desktop site, but their mobile app is optimised to give the best user experience.

The free package, however comes with some heavy restrictions:

• Songs take a lengthy 28 days to be released on all platforms.

• You can’t set a custom date for release, which becomes a real problem if you want to get on Spotify’s official playlists.

• If you decide to split your Spotify earnings between a yourself, a songwriter, producer or a featured artist who contributed to the song, Amuse will charge 15% of your royalty.

If you are however yearning to be signed by a record label, then Amuse might be for you. They have a special algorithm that monitors the performance of your song and if they feel you song is doing well, you will be offered a record deal with a substantial upfront fee.

Unlike the other two on this list, Amuse doesn’t distribute your music to China.

Call To Fame

Amuse’s biggest call to fame is that Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road, which is currently the longest charting number one song in billboard history at nineteen consecutive weeks, was distributed by them.

After the song blew up, they offered the 19-year-old unsigned artist a record deal with an advancement of $1 million, but he rejected and opted for the more established Columbia Records.

ONErpm

ONErpm (ONE Revolution People’s Music) was founded in 2010 by Emmanuel Zunz and Matthew Olim in Brooklyn, New York, USA.They claim to utilise their “global footprint and local support, proprietary technology and smart analytics, preferred partnerships with DSPs, genre-focused marketing teams and promotional expertise to deliver business solutions to music and video creators worldwide.”

Aside Spotify, they offer distribution to all the major stores but notably exclude Soundcloud and Instagram in their official list. They however offer support Boomplay, which is one of Africa’s biggest and Tiktok.

ONErpm is split into a distribution company and a record label. If your music does well, ONErpm will approach you with a deal that comes with a sizeable advance, marketing budget, touring sponsorship and all the incentives that come with signing for traditional record labels.

Although major labels of today will offer you less than 15 percent of royalties, ONErpm’s record label promise between 50%-70%, which is in line with independent labels like Marvins, YBNL and DMW.

They charge 15% commission from your streaming earnings but unlike the other two distributors listed here, they have no premium plan, as all of their services is available for free.

ONErpm are also more advanced with their YouTube monetisation, which means they will broker a better ad and monetisation rate for your releases on YouTube than the other two. They also distribute your lyrics and offer split payments between creditors of your song as part of their services. On Spotify, they allow you to set a custom release date.

Call to Fame

They have a very large market and following in Latin America.

Routenote

Routenote was launched in 2007 by Australian Steven Finch, making them one of the oldest digital distribution companies around and they have an impressive team line-up. They claim to have “partnered with some of the biggest retailers on the web to give artists massive and immediate availability for their products. We have since grown into a full digital media management service providing artists, labels and creators instant access to a large proportion of the online market.”

Aside Spotify they distribute your music to all of the major stores, more than the other two distributors on this list.

They take 15 percent of your royalties but have an considerate premium plan for $10 yearly which will give you 100% of your earnings. You can upgrade to the premium plan at any time if you notice your song is gaining traction and don’t want to share your earnings with them. Interestingly, the premium plan doesn’t offer any special service different from the freemium except the removal of commission.

Routenote were one of the first distributors to partner with Soundcloud, and therefore offer monetisation of your release on. the platform.

They also have a record label, albeit smaller, but they monitor the performance of songs and will pitch your songs to playlist to boost streaming stats. You can set a custom date for release on Spotify, which can boost your chances of getting on their official playlists.

Call to Fame

They have a very strong following in Asia and Australia, as they were one of the first distributors to reach all the major music stores in China.

Conclusion

This article has in no way certified which of these free distributor is best, but we have brought their pros and cons to the fore for the scrutiny of interested acts.

Upcoming artist might like the look of Amuse’s 100% royalty offering, while others might prefer ONErpm’s offering of an international record deal while the rest might jump at Routenote’s offering of Asian market and a greater number of stores.

Whichever distributor you choose to go for, artists should understand that there still lie a lot of work to be done in promoting their sound.

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