More and more friends ask me if I could help them get their music out on Spotify, Apple Music, etc. So to answer all questions before and after the release, I am writing this article for all musicians and producers to make your next release a success!
Another tip: I recommend that you release a single regularly, at intervals of 4 to 6 weeks, and do the playlist pitching on Spotify each time. Choose a day at the end of the week as the release date, as the official chart week runs internationally in over 45 countries from Friday to Thursday!
Where can I publish my music?
The most important streaming services for musicians and producers these days are Spotify and Apple Music, as they have the most users and the most relevant partnerships with well-known artists.
An overview of the 7 most relevant streaming services for music:
- Apple Music
- Amazon Music
- YouTube Music (formerly Google Play Music)
Since the video streaming service YouTube is not a classic streaming service for music and music videos are not published via your music distributor, I did not count this service here. For this reason, YouTube and Google developed YouTube Music a few years ago.
What do I need to release music?
To publish music online you only need a so-called “aggregator”. An aggregator is nothing more than a digital music distributor such as Distrokid, which takes over the transmission to the portals and collects the necessary codes.
Top 15 Digital Music Distributors for Publishing Music and Videos
- Distro Kid
- Spin Up
- CD Baby
- Believe Digital
- New Media Office
- Record Union
There are many other providers out there, so don't let the choice of distributor stop you - you can always transfer a release later to another distributor for a small fee and take it with you.
How to publish songs
Select an online distributor such as Distrokid here and register. After creating your profile and entering your payment details, click Upload to upload your song/EP/album.
Now tick the music stores that should be supplied and enter your artist name. If you don't have a profile on Spotify yet, a new profile will be created for you automatically, otherwise you can link it directly here.
Now select the release date and decide whether your fans should pre-order your new release via a link.
Finally, you upload the single or album cover art, determine the genre and then go to the last step.
The last step before publication is done very quickly - enter the title(s) and the songwriter here and then upload your file under "Audio file"!
After you have set the remaining and necessary ticks at the bottom, you can click on the "DONE" button to send your production to your distributor (music distributor)!
The processing of your upload can now take a few days, because your music distributor will first check whether all the data you have entered is correct.As soon as your release has reached the streaming portals, you will be notified by email from Spotify and your distributor!
Can I release my music without an aggregator and label?
Technically it is possible to publish music without an aggregator, but this is only possible on Spotify and therefore not recommended. Without an aggregator, it is of course also possible as a video on SoundCloud and YouTube.
Your selected aggregator, i.e. your music distributor, acts as a label if you are not yet with a label. So you don't need your own label to release music on Spotify & Co.
Your songs don't have to be registered with GEMA, but below you can find out how to register them.
How do I get access to my artist profiles on Spotify & Co.?
Request free access to your personal artist profile so you can personalize it! Add your bio and some cool photos for your fans. For access as an artist, no subscription is required for the streaming services:
- You can register for Spotify for Artists here: Request an account
- You can sign up for Apple Music for Artists here: Request an account
- You can register for Amazon Music for Artists here: Request an account
- You can register for Deezer Backstage here: Request an account
- For Musixmatch (Synchronized Lyrics for Instagram Stories) you can register here: Apply for Account
Your Shazam profile and associated statistics can now be viewed via iTunes/Apple Music for Artists.
For TIDAL, Napster, YouTube Music/Google Play and other specific platforms, please contact your music distributor. Many online distributors such as DistroKid personally personalize your accounts with these services.
Would you like to learn more about editing Artist Profiles and Artist Profiles? Then click here: Request and edit artist profiles - Spotify for Artist, Apple Music for Artist, Deezer Backstage, TIDAL & Co
Spotify playlist pitching guide
Official Spotify playlist pitching is possible for every single one of your releases! As soon as your upload reaches Spotify and as long as the song has not yet been published, you can view the song in your Spotify for Artist profile and promote it free of charge. Can you convince the Spotify team and make it into the official Spotify playlists? Try it!
Apps and beta programs
Almost every streaming service offers an app for iOS and Android to download, which you can use to access your statistics and streaming numbers! In addition, there are now and then innovations in the streaming services such as the beta program for the Spotify Canvas function, which is currently being tested with selected artists.
Update 2021: The Spotify Canvas feature is now freely available to all artists! To do this, log into your Spotify for Artist account and upload a video for each song.
The format requirements (specs) for Spotify Canvas are:
- Vertical aspect ratio of 9:16
- At least 720px high
- for 3 - 8 seconds
- In MP4 or JPG file format
Release promotion - promote songs properly
To promote your songs effectively, there are many activities that you can invest some time in instead of money.Promote your new release on social media, share story, write comments and challenge your fans to follow the song on Spotify to Pre-Saven and your artist profile! You can already achieve thousands of organic streams with this action alone!
You should not exaggerate when it comes to paid advertising - start with small amounts and determine your personal target group, because Instagram/Facebook Ads, YouTube/Google Ads and services such as professional radio sampling can go quite into the budget
Register songs with GEMA - when does that make sense?
GEMA (Society for Musical Performance and Mechanical Reproduction Rights) is a German collecting society that administers the copyright transferred to it and thus remunerates its members (artists, composers, lyricists, music publishers).
In short: GEMA collects the money for the musicians. It makes sense to register your works with GEMA as soon as your songs are to be played on the radio, in clubs or at festivals.
If your songs are probably only streamed, then you can publish them without having registered them with GEMA. You can also register your works afterwards.
Here you can find out more about GEMA and why you should register your songs before you become successful: Earn money with music - this is how you register songs with GEMA!
Publish music videos on Apple Music
Finding out how music videos are published on the Apple Music streaming service or in the iTunes Store wasn't that easy, so I'd like to finish by briefly explaining how it works!
In order to publish music videos on the Apple Music streaming service or in the iTunes Store, you need a special aggregator, a so-called encoding house, which is certified by Apple and which can transfer video files, i.e. music videos. The official list of Apple-certified aggregators and online distributors can be found here: iTunes Partner – Music Partner Search.