In today’s music industry, having your songs available on major digital platforms and streaming services is essential for reaching listeners, building an audience, and generating revenue from your music. As an independent artist, you have the ability to directly distribute your songs to these platforms without needing a record label or distributor.
This guide will walk you through the steps for getting your songs onto major digital platforms and streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and more.
Having your music on digital platforms expands your reach.
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Benefits of Putting Your Music on Digital Platforms
Here are some of the key benefits of distributing your music to digital platforms:
- Reach new listeners – Digital platforms provide access to massive built-in audiences of music fans all over the world. This expands your potential reach exponentially.
- Generate revenue – Streaming services pay royalties every time your song is played. This can become a significant revenue stream, especially as your listener base grows.
- Gain discovery – Platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have discovery features that can help new listeners find your music. Getting on editorial playlists is hugely impactful.
- Build your fanbase – Releases on DSPs allow you to directly engage existing fans while reaching new ones. This helps build your audience organically.
- Gain credibility – Having your music on major platforms lends legitimacy and shows that you’re investing in your music career.
Choosing the Right Digital Platforms
The top digital music platforms you’ll want to focus on distributing your songs to include:
- Spotify – The world’s most popular streaming service with over 456 million users. Essential for reach.
- Apple Music – Key platform with over 90 million subscribers that’s important for discovery via playlists and browse features.
- YouTube Music – YouTube’s music streaming app with a built-in audience from YouTube itself. Enables fan uploads.
- Amazon Music – Growing service with over 55 million customers. Reach Amazon’s ecosystem.
- Pandora – Leading interactive radio platform with over 63 million monthly listeners. Gain radio plays.
- Tidal – Focuses on high quality audio streams for music enthusiasts. Support artist-centric platform.
- SoundCloud – Important for electronic, hip-hop, and indie genres. Shareable embedding enables virality.
You’ll also want to distribute to other services like Deezer, Napster, Audiomack, and more. The key is being on all major platforms to maximize reach.
Major music streaming and digital platforms to distribute your songs to.
Preparing Your Songs and Metadata
Before distributing your music, you need polished, release-ready mixes of your songs along with proper metadata:
- Mix/Master – Have your songs professionally mixed and mastered for clarity across platforms. Don’t release rough demos.
- Audio Format – Upload lossless WAV or AIFF files rather than MP3s for quality. Platforms will encode as needed.
- Metadata – Input all song details (title, artist, album, songwriter, genre, artwork, etc.) This aids discovery.
- Credits – Include personnel credits for producers, vocalists, instrumentalists, engineers etc. This ensures proper compensation.
- ISRC Codes – Obtain a unique ISRC code for each track to identify it globally. Some distributors provide codes.
- Release Date – Choose a future date for official worldwide release across platforms. Build anticipation with pre-saves.
Proper preparation ensures a high quality release ready for platforms. Now it’s time to distribute.
Mix and master your songs, prepare metadata, and obtain ISRC codes in advance of distribution.
Uploading Your Music
There are two main approaches to uploading your songs:
Using an aggregator or distributor like CD Baby, Tunecore, Distrokid, Landr, or Ditto simplifies getting your music to all platforms. They deliver your songs to stores and collect royalties. There are fees but this approach is fast and convenient.
Major platforms like Spotify for Artists allow you to directly upload your tracks for free. This gives you more control but requires uploading to each service individually. You collect your own royalties.
I recommend using a distributor for wide reach on your first release. Later you can transition to direct uploads for more control and higher royalty share.
Digital distributors simplify delivering your music to multiple platforms.
Promoting Your Music on Digital Platforms
Once your songs are live on platforms, it’s time to drive streams and builds an audience. Here are proven tactics:
- Playlisting – Reach out to curators to pitch getting on key playlists. Landing spots on New Music Friday and other big playlists provides huge exposure.
- Social Media – Create teasers across your social channels. Share direct links for fans to stream your release. Run social ads to existing fans.
- Performance Videos – Post Clips of you performing the songs live to bring them to life. Give fans a peek behind the scenes.
- Behind the Scenes – Share photos, videos, and stories that give a window into your creative process for making the release.
- Interact with Fans – Respond to comments and messages from listeners. Thank them for streaming and sharing your music. Building connections leads to loyalty.
Promotion is key to cut through the noise so listeners become aware of your music and choose to press play.
Engage with fans on social media to drive streams of your release.
Distributing your music to major digital platforms is easier than ever for independent artists. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to share your songs everywhere fans want to listen. Consistent releases over time, quality promotion, and direct fan engagement will continue growing your audience.
The streaming era has created more opportunity than ever to build a music career on your own terms. So what are you waiting for? Get your music out into the world!