Almost every musician wants to upload their own songs to Spotify, Apple Music, and other major music stores. But most of us don't know how! It's not as simple as uploading a song to YouTube or Soundcloud. The process of sending your music to different music stores is called "Music Distribution". Before online stores were popular, songs were sold on a physical disc. A major part of distribution at that time was in the hands of record labels. At that time, it was very hard for musicians to distribute music without record labels.
But now, things have changed. As of 2021, there are many online distributors available for musicians. You are not required to get signed by a "record label" to distribute your songs online. You just need to hire an online music distributor. They are very cheap (and some even provide free plans).
Why do you need a "Distributor"?
Major stores like Spotify, Apple Music, etc. do not accept direct uploads from you as YouTube or Soundcloud do. Right now, the only way to send your songs to online stores like Spotify, etc. is to get a distributor.
What will a Distributor do?
After hiring an online distributor, the artist has to upload your song to their website. Now, the distributor will verify all the details of the song and also verify that the single/album does not violate any store's policies. After everything is ok, the distributor will send the song to the stores. The stores will release the song on the specified release date. All the royalties from streaming will be collected by the stores and sent to the distributor (royalties distribution generally takes 1-6 months depending on the stores). The distributor will then send the royalties to the artist according to the agreement between the artist and the distributor.
A distributor is just like a record label but has less control over you and your music. By using an online distributor instead of getting signed by a record label, you get more power over your song. This is because most distributors do not own the song. Instead, the artist owns the song.
Some popular online distributors are:
CD Baby ($9.95 per Single, see detailed pricing here)
Distrokid ($19.99 per Year, see detailed pricing here)
Tunecore ($9.99 per Single, see detailed pricing here)
Amuse (Free/$59.99 per Year, see detailed pricing here)
RouteNote (Free/$10 per Single, see detailed pricing here)
LANDR (See detailed pricing here)
Fresh Tunes (Free, pay for extra features, see details here)
Ditto Music ($19 per Year, see detailed pricing here)
So, all you need to do is get a distributor and make music! They will handle the rest. If you're not ready to pay, try free distributors like Amuse, RouteNote, or Fresh Tunes.