Changing distributors?

Been mulling this over for a hot minute, but figured I’d ask here first since I know many of you have experience with it.

For one, re: Distrokid, it’s 20 bones a year for one artist, I presume (or think I read here) there’s other options for multiple artist accounts. What does that run, on average?

How fast is the turn around for upload to release? Any involvement with support?

Now the million dollar question: Does anyone have experience with switching distributors? I have a small handful of releases through Amuse, I’m wondering what the deal is with changing. I know I could just put new releases through a new distributor, but would be more interested in a “single pane of glass” so to speak.

I’m certain there’s not a way to migrate releases, but what ends up happening if you use two? How does it appear in stores? If you were to remove all releases from a distributor does it remove them from stores? What happens to people who already purchased something?

Anyway. That’s all I got - any advice welcome. :point_right: :point_left:

Bumping releases across manually should be relatively simple.

Steps…
  1. Find out how quickly tracks can be taken down at your original distributor. I think it’s 1–2 weeks to be gone from all services. Spotify takes two business days.
  2. Find out how quickly tracks can go live on your new distributor. (It might be a little longer for the first one, so keep that in mind.)
  3. IMPORTANT! Write down/track all the ISRC numbers and meta data for all releases. This allows the outlets to associate the new track with the play numbers, etc… from the previous version. With incorrect ISRC or meta data, services might reject the upload.
  4. Get your releases uploaded and ready in the new/destination distributor – possibly setting a delayed release date so the new versions are definitely released after the previous versions have been taken down. (Be sure to re-use the original ISRC numbers)
  5. Pull the trigger on the takedown.
  6. Pull the trigger on submitting the new releases/versions. (You might want to wait until they’re all gone from the stores/services first.)

Note: If you decide you trigger the new distributor re-releases after they’ve disappeared from the stores/services, you can expect to be down 2–3 weeks. That’s probably not going to matter to not-yet-megastars such as us.

Still, keep it in mind if you’re timing it for promotion.

 
Distrokid…

I’ve got some older stuff on a 2-artist Distrokid account, and have been meaning to move it out for a while.

Distrokid pricing…

How Much Does It Cost? – DistroKid Help Center

  • Musician: 1 band/artist, $19.99/year
  • Musician Plus: 2 bands/artists, $35.99/year (save 10%)
  • Label 5: 5 bands/artists, $79.99/year (save 20%)
  • Label 10: 10 bands/artists, $139.99/year (save 30%)
  • Label 20: 20 bands/artists, $239.99/year (save 40%)
  • Label 50: 50 bands/artists, $599.99/year (save 40%)
  • Label 100: 100 bands/artists, $1199.99/year (save 40%)

 
Level Music…

For more recent stuff, I’ve used Level Music.
$20/y for 5 primary artists. (I’ve used two so far, but plan to use more, especially as I plan to bring across my Distrokid releases.)

Interface is easy, you can set custom ISRC – which means you can replace tracks like-for-like.
Similarly, you can identify if it a track’s been released before, and set the original release date.

If you’re aiming for a multi-artist option, it’s worth knowing that all the releases appear on a single ‘Releases’ page, i.e. no separate page for each artist, in case that matters.

 

 

Fwiw, Level Music lists ‘catalog transfer’ as part of the service, but I haven’t tried that yet and don’t know how they handle it.
I couldn’t find any info in their support section, so you might need to reach out with a support question. (Consider reaching out on Twitter. It might be easier/quicker).

(tbh, I’ve had some issues with their support in the past, but nothing catastrophic. Just annoying.)

 

If you attempt to release an existing track on a second distributor, using the original ISRC… don’t know.

Otherwise, you can release different tracks for the same artist. If there’s more than one artist on spotify, etc… with the same name, they’ll typically show them all and you identify the one that’s you.

 

Only difference might be if you’ve used an auto-generated ISRC on the newer tracks. Some distributors use certain character sequences in their generated ISRC codes. Listeners won’t notice/care.

Yup. Functionally, they use a subscription-like model. They keep it up for as long as you subscribe, and serve as the recipient for all royalties, payments, etc…

Fwiw, Distrokid offers a ‘Leave a legacy’ service…

Details

 

For subscription services, the tracks might disappear temporarily in the time between the old one being taken down and the new one going live. If it’s saved in a playlist, it’ll be greyed out until it is available again on the service.

For downloads, no difference. They’ve bought the download. They’ll still have it on their machines/devices.

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Fwiw, I’m just pulling the trigger on the takedowns on my Distrokid releases.

Might be quicker than it says on their support pages.

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Awesome man, this is all very good info. Just kicking some ideas around in my head, a two artist dealio might work ok. I’d suspect you can probably upgrade. Hadn’t heard of Level Music, going to keep that in my back pocket as well. I did find an article on Amuse’s site about migrating to them, I suspect if I follow that in reverse it would work for migrating away lol (and in fact, pretty much matches everything you wrote above).

And yeah, I’m not too assed about delays or gaps of availability lol. But good to know!

Coolio.

It actually pushed me to get my stuff moving across.

Got everything ready in Drafts on Level, and I’ve already started the deletion process on DK.

Fwiw, if it’s just two artists you need, then DK might not be a bad option. There are a bunch of tools, metrics, etc… that might come in handy if you’re being pro-active with promotion etc…