Self-publishing music to Spotify?

i’ve been creating spotify playlists consisting of music that i like every few weeks for the small company that i run. since getting started with modular a few months ago i’ve been wondering what to do with the little recordings that i’ve been making, and i was thinking they would make good inter-song transitions in the playlists. this would involve getting my tracks onto spotify, which means i have to “publish”/distribute them. i know there are many services available for this, but i would rather do it myself if it’s not too difficult.

have any of you self-published your music onto spotify? how involved is the process? i already have a tax ID, business license, etc for the kimchi business - is any other more specialized music industry licensing required? Is “publishing music” actually any more complicated than uploading stuff to soundcloud?

You need to go through an aggregator, there’s a faq for that

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Given that you must use a service, I heartily recommend DistroKid. It is simple, easy to understand, fast.

That said, I’ve had my music up on iTunes, Spotify, Google Music, Amazon, etc… via DistroKid for two years. I see practically zero traffic from these. I think these services are just not tuned for anything but big label music.


Agreed. DistriKid is great at getting music out there. Getting people to find it and listen/buy is another thing entirely…


thanks for the tips! i was hoping to manage it myself if possible, but if i have to go through an aggregator i’ll use these guys.

i’m not too concerned with promotion or royalties, so i don’t really mind if someone else is going to has to keep 10% of my penny i’m mostly just looking to establish an artist page so i can use the tracks in my playlists.

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If you want to get your music on Spotify (and the rest) I wholeheartedly agree with everyone above recommending Distrokid. They’re completely no nonsense.

That said, I’ve recently closed my account, because I found I wasn’t really getting anything from it. The Spotify royalties just didn’t justify having the account, and while it’s not all about money, I’m spending enough on gear and stuff that does give me a feeling of wellbeing and satisfaction, I don’t need to throwaway money on stuff that just gives me anxiety: No-one’s listening, is it shit? I have other reasons, but no need to go into them here - Bandcamp has been much more worthwhile IMO

Instead, I’m spending the equivalent of my Distrokid fee on lottery scratch cards for the year, to see if my returns are better (spoilers, I’ve only spent half the money so far, but I’ve won nearly twice as much as Spotify paid me last year - still operating at a loss though)

(Also, I’ve almost made the same amount of money as my yearly spotify royalties by selling trading cards I’ve got from playing games on Steam, so, I’m not sure what that says about the state of the music industry really)

All that said though, Spotify don’t seem to have removed my old music from their service, dunno how long it takes, or if not having a DK account anymore just means I can’t upload new stuff, but I’m not too bothered.


while I’m sure that is true, I have a local friend who has gotten significant exposure on Spotify (200k monthly listeners!). I think they might have gotten featured on one of the Spotify curated playlists.

I just mention this as they are a totally normal (though amazingly talented) person who records sick beats in their home studio, has a full-time job, and doesn’t tour or really play out much, so most any awareness outside of Akron/Cleveland is online and I think almost entirely from Spotify, so it might still be worth a shot.

what are the DistroKid fees like?

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their site says $19.99/year for unlimited song uploading and a spotify artist account, which seems very inexpensive. this is definitely more attractive than paying per album or single, since i’m planning on just releasing a bunch of “singles.”

edit: AWAL appears to charge no fees but take 15% of royalties. since my royalties would probably amount to less than a dollar per year anyway this might be a better option? does anyone have experience with AWAL? it looks like they have a more rigorous application process so it’s likely that i can’t get in since i’m very very unestablished.

I’d like to +1 Distrokid, my experience with them has been great.

I went with the $35 option, because I wanted the ability to set store prices. My music is fairly long form, and I wanted to try to equalise the cost with Bandcamp, I generally do $5 an album on bandcamp, but they’re often two long tracks the various stores may try to sell the whole thing for $1.98. DK give you the option of setting the price which some stores seem to follow, but some stores don’t. Google Play seemed to follow the album price, but then let you download individual tracks for 99c, which defeated the purpose.

tl;dr - if you’re not releasing albums of 12 3 minute tracks, going with the option on DK to set your album price is probably not worth it. I don’t blame DK for this, the stores just aren’t set up to handle long form music IMO, although I notice that traditionally distributed albums don’t suffer from this problem. (More of my rant about how Bandcamp is the only service that caters to the completely independent artist appears to be leaking into this thread, sorry)

Anyone used ditto? They seem to offer support for self publishing in form of social media stuff etc.

I put my album through tunecore and it was a painless experience



+1 for Distrokid. So painless.

Does Spotify not play local files anymore? I may be misunderstanding what you’re trying to accomplish, but if it’s just playing music off a device for an audience/in the background, you should just be able to add the files to the playlist? I think you can even sync to mobile, but that might involve a paid Spotify account?

Not that it wouldn’t be great to have your music on Spotify, just seems like there might be less overhead to finish recording and drop it in a playlist.

i used tunecore for water memory, but landr seems like a great deal… would probably go with something like that after the first year.

I want to +n Distrokid as well, they are great, but also want to +n the lack of actual plays unless your PR machine supports streaming. Every single Bandcamp purchase is more than I’ve ever made from streaming in a year. So if you’re doing it to cover bases and presence and just for kicks (people get a huge kick out of hearing you’re on Spotify for some reason) then go for it, but don’t expect it to be an income source unless your playlists are hugely popular.


thanks for the heads up! no plans for using this as a source of income, mostly just bucket list/pride on the line:]

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Did anyone have the experience of stores (via Distrokid) rejecting their music due to editorial discretion? If so, which stores are most likely to bounce stuff back? Had issues with all of our releases, spanning several genres and mostly mastered by a high-end engineer so am quite curious to find out what’s bugging them. The reasons they list are generic and not specific, (eg Too many similar releases from same artist (flooding), Poor quality sound recording, Poor quality artwork, Similar content already in stores (ex: “rain sounds” and that sort of thing) and there is no helpdesk or anything.

ex: “rain sounds” and that sort of thing ?

Any help would be much appreciated, right now it feels like staring at a wall. :slight_smile:

EDIT: Also need to point out that the music was submitted (via Distrokid) to Spotify, iTunes, Apple music, etc., not just Spotify, so will try to check them one by one.

Instead, I’m spending the equivalent of my Distrokid fee on lottery scratch cards for the year, to see if my returns are better (spoilers, I’ve only spent half the money so far, but I’ve won nearly twice as much as Spotify paid me last year - still operating at a loss though)

have a :heart: from me. this cheered me up so much!