The ability to distribute your music without the need of a record label is a relatively new thing to the music industry, which still hasn’t reached a surprisingly large amount of musicians, but for those who do know, which service is the best?
The main players in the game seem to be Tunecore, Ditto, CD Baby and Reverbnation, who each offer a very similar service but with varying bells and whistles and incentives to win you over.
So lets start off at the bottom of the pile with Ditto’s rather controversial analysis of why they think they’re the best!
Wow, green ticks.. they’ve gotta be good! Hold on Ditto, are you really telling me that I can only make a living as a film/tv composer and get into the charts if I use Ditto? Funny how you don’t mention distribution costs either! Nice one guys..
I remember using Ditto briefly when my Tunecore account was playing up and the whole user experience was pretty dreadful, they asked me to send the music by post and then apologised four hours later saying “sorry, you must have logged into our old system” – Not a great first impression!
Anyway, before I vent much more disrespect for Ditto, lets move on to who I think are the top of the pile – Tunecore.
As soon as you hit their homepage you know there is something nice about these guys, a no BS service that isn’t compromised or dressed up with all the extra gimmicks that the other services have. The reporting is easy to understand but comprehensive in analysis, they’re optional extras are incredibly useful and the customer service is fantastic. My only little niggle with Tunecore would be the 30 – 40 day expected go live time, although in my experience they generally get your songs live on iTunes in around 2 – 3 weeks, which isn’t bad at all.
So what about Reverbnation and CDBaby?
I think CDBaby obviously has it’s unique selling point of offering artists a manufacture on demand physical CD distribution service, which is excellent but I don’t feel they offer anything significantly enticing from a digital music distribution perspective. Reverbnation on the other hand try to grab the reins slightly by offering a collection of free promotional tools, but I’m guessing that these ‘tools’ are nothing that you couldn’t find for free using a few Google searches. For musicians who already use Reverbnation very heavily this may be a good solution as it will save time logging in to different places, but I still say Tunecore FTW.
But wait a sec, there’s someone else.
According to Hypebot, Believe Digital’s sub company ‘Zimbalam’ have announced they’re planning to enter the U.S digital music distribution market in 2010 – charging artists about $15 less than Tunecore per album release and offering a personal A&R manager to high performing artists. Will Tunecore be able to compete with that?
Photo Credit: maury.mccown (Flickr)