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Music Nomad Article: MusicNomad's Guide to Distribute Your Music Online

MusicNomad’s Guide to Distribute Your Music Online

By MusicNomad July 1, 2013


Want to get your music heard by the most people possible for the lowest cost in the most efficient amount of your valuable time? This is the most popular question we get from musicians, as they know we are researching this topic every day. We are going to give a simplified overview of the tools to help you get your music heard in the various types of music distribution vehicles available to independent musicians. It can get a little confusing and overwhelming so hope this helps you better understand the landscape, costs and profit opportunities.  What you will see is that for as little as $100 you can get a full album in all online retailers and onto internet radio stations.


The journey starts with who are the largest internet music retailers, how do you get into these retailers and how much money can you make.? iTunes and Amazon are by far the biggest.

Online Retailers

% of online market (July 2013)

What profit you make

How to sell  them




$.70 per song/$7 per album

Digital Distributors




$.63 per song/$6.30 per album

Digital Distributors or Create Space



Next you need help getting into the online retailers. Who are the companies that delivery your music to online retailers, and streaming services such as iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Napster, and eMusic? What will it cost you?

Digital Distributors

Set up fee for 10 song album to at least 5 retailers and services

% of royalties artists get

Monthly or annual fee


CD Baby




$20 charge if don’t have own UPC code

Create Space




Distributes to Amazon only

Song Cast Music



$5.99 monthly

Set up includes UPC

Reverb Nation



$34.95 annual

Set up includes UPC


$49.99 (total 1st year costs)


$4.99 month

Great licensing options

Record Union




$5 annual

$10 charge if don’t have UPC code





$20 charge if don’t have UPC code


Streaming and Subscription services are growing in popularity where listeners pay a fee for unlimited music. Who are the big players, how do you get on them and what profit will you make?

Paid Subscription Services

What you get paid per stream

How to sell them

They sell music, what is your profit




Digital Distribution

85% of Selling Price

Sales greater than $5,000, will increase your profit to 90%


.009 on average

Digital Distributors

$.65 per song/$6.50 per album



1 to 2 cents depending on stream

Digital Distributors

$.65 per song/$6.50 per album



.00475 cents

Digital Distributors





Digital Distributors

.30 per track

First 25 downloads artist does not get paid


$0.007 (less than a penny) $0.04 for an album(less than 5 cents)

Digital Distributors





There are Internet radio stations that fans can listen to music in genres they like or artists that sound similar. Artists can pay to guarantee regular rotation.

Internet Radio Stations

What you get paid for stream

Cost to get your music in regular rotation

How to get your music on them



$0.001 (less than a penny)

Not available

Submit CD for free but no guarantee will get in rotation



.06 cents

Starts at $10 for 250 plays

Can sign up for free but no guarantee music will be played



Depends on Deal

Not available

Rdio sets deals with Labels

Growing popularity, but not much published on royalties.



While this is not the complete list of every service, we hand picked the one we have researched that we felt had the biggest Internet presence to help you get your music heard and sold. We hope this has helped independent musicians. For more detailed write ups for each service visit our website at www.musicnomad.com


MusicNomad is a musicians advocate organization that tries to make sense of the vast and fragmented music industry through researching, interviewing, reviewing and ranking thousands of companies in the music industry and filtering the ones that can really help musicians. They then do write ups on the companies, rank them and give you a direct link to their website.  There are also tips, news and articles for musicians to explore. The Website is free to use and focuses on fighting for the underdog, independent musicians!


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