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Where to upload music | online audio and video sites

“Out of all the music sites, which do you recommend to upload songs to? And which one for video? Thanks for the info.” Question from Chris Steward – #AskAmanda #Songpreneurs

Music upload sites for indie music makers include DistroKid, SoundCloud, Vimeo, YouTube
Music upload sites for indie music makers

Short answer –

· DistroKid for distributing to Apple, Amazon and most everything except YouTube

· SoundCloud for embedding and sharing links

· For video –

o YouTube directly

o Facebook directly for the most views generally

o Vimeo for keeping track of your video catalog if you sell courses or create lots of artistic high production value video content


There’s a lot of why that underlies these short answers, and for that I’ll start by explaining each of the bullet points.

First, for distributing music, there’s not a more seamless upload process available for independent musicians than DistroKid at this time.

In the past we used CD Baby because it was first. Then we used TuneCore because it was innovative. Then we tried a few other new companies that have since gone away.

DistroKid is good for many reasons, but the main one is because it’s the most cost effective by far.

Unlimited uploads - ever how many albums or songs you want in a given year, and you can use your own ISRC codes. They issue a barcode for your digital album, and you can do a fair amount of promoting, automatic splits with collaborators, and mechanical licensing through them.

Couple of things we don’t like about DistroKid.

One is that they claim to get you the necessary mechanical licensing for any cover song through their deal with the NMPA (National Music Publishers Association), but the problem is that independent music publishers aren’t signatory to NMPA. If you have any question, be sure to contact the songwriter or publisher directly instead of relying on the in house system.

Also, the reason we don’t distribute to YouTube via DistroKid is because if you do so, the service can serve up any advertising they see fit and you can’t control it. Think embarrassing medical ads, or politics you disagree with showing up on your video content.

Also, if you don’t opt in to their YouTube ad income sharing service, you don’t see any income from that advertising they show on your song.

So the logical work around is to not distribute to YouTube on Distro and just create and upload your own videos to your own page directly on YouTube itself. That way you can turn monetization on and off and at least have some control over your comments, ads, links and descriptions.

Other than those two significant things, we recommend DistroKid for indie distribution for most artists.

In addition to distributing via DistroKid, you can also upload your song to Sound Cloud. This platform is good for sharing links either directly to fans, music industry, or embedding in blogs or on socials.

Unlike the streaming service links that you usually see, SoundCloud lets your visitor listen to the whole song and not a clip, and it also lets them stay on your website page or blog to listen instead of clicking over to the music service itself.

If you are putting music in a blog, SoundCloud is a good way to do it, even if your website allows you to use their own built in players. The reason is because adding a lot of audio or video content directly to your website can slow down your load time and eat up your data allowance on your hosting plans.

You can usually host your content cheaper on a third party site and avoid the slow load times that cause your listeners and visitors to click away.

Now for video recommendations.

Many of you know we have entertained a love hate relationship with YouTube over the years. We love them, and we hate them. It’s hard to separate the two.

Why do we love them? Because if you’re on the international music scene, especially reaching audiences in countries with lower than the U.S. average incomes, you are invisible if you are not on YouTube.

Why do we hate them? They have historically made things difficult for individual independent copyright owners, preferring to herd us into groups that can be more easily accommodated in their technology silos for collective licensing purposes.

Giving credit where credit is due, YouTube has rapidly increased their royalty pay outs for songwriters and music publishers in this last year, and is now paying more in general than Spotify.

The reason you distribute to YouTube is because even though it’s a video site, it’s the world’s number one place to stream music. As a creator, you have to figure out the right balance of content for you to manage, because it truly is a huge amount of work to do it all well.

Most of us choose one or two social type sites that work for us, distribute our music widely, and then through targeted promotions, including radio and especially live performance, you can gradually build a following for your quality artistry.

This is where the Facebook video recommendation comes. When you post video content to Facebook or Instagram, the service shows that content to your fan base, and then people share it. Video moves on the FB page even if it’s muted. So, your eye is drawn to the moving image, and before you know it, you’ve watched a video on Facebook.

That’s most people. Even when you post to YouTube, you will still want to post the same thing on FB in most cases. That’s where you’ll see the most plays on your stats.

If you want stats on your YouTube, you’ll need to pay for advertising, and unfortunately, video views don’t usually equal new subscribers. It’s better to plan a slow, targeted growth strategy that includes paid as well as earned promotion.

Couple of final comments.

If you’re really into video production, or if you’re doing regular weekly courses like we do here at Songpreneurs, it will probably benefit you to have a pro Vimeo account. We love ours and upload hour long trainings weekly for our Songpreneurs online classes without even coming close to using up our data allowance.

Video content of any quality or duration can really eat up your data storage on your devices, phone, computer, and hard drives. It’s good to have a special protected place for your precious cargo, and the tools available for monetization on Vimeo are robust.

One last thing about these recommended services – many of them offer referral incentives and bonuses when you tell your friends and coworkers about them.

A $5 affiliate bounty is worth more than a whole bunch of songwriter streaming royalties these days, so if you use Distro or Vimeo be sure to take note of that.

Here are our referral links if you want to sign up for a pro account. Doing so will earn Songpreneurs and our owner a bounty reward.

Learn more about a Vimeo Pro account and save 25% through our referral link here >>

Sign up for a DistroKid account and save 7% through our referral link here >>


Do you have any comments to share about your experience distributing music online? Let us know in the comments section below, or send us a note.

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Chris Steward lives in Tennessee and has worked in the music business as a staff songwriter on Music Row and also as a licensed real estate agent. Here's a photo we snapped of Chris at a recent songwriter gathering at The 7695 private events space in West Nashville.

Chris Steward Songwriter photo credit Hillbilly Culture LLC
Chris Steward Songwriter


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