Releasing your music without a label

Releasing your music without a label

Whether you write original songs or perform cover versions, if you’re not releasing your music online, you’re missing out on royalties and an easy source of income.

Independent bands and solo artists no longer need the backing of a label to release their tracks to major online stores like iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and more, thanks to independent music distributors – also known as music aggregators.

What are independent music distributors?

Independent music distributors act as a mediator between unsigned artists and the major online platforms. You just need to upload your single track, EP or album to your distributor’s website, pay a small upfront fee, and wait for your music to go live on the biggest online stores.

It’s never been easier for independent musicians to release music on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and other major platforms, but you’ll need to make sure your tracks are up to scratch before you upload them.

Getting your tracks ready to release

If you haven’t recorded your tracks yet, what are you waiting for? Get into the studio and record, mix and master a high-quality version of the music you want to release. But remember, only MP3 and WAV files will be accepted by online stores.

You’ll also need to provide artwork for your track. It’ll need to be 3000 x 3000 pixels in size, and only contain text that refers to the song name and artist.

If you’re releasing cover songs, you’ll need to acquire a mechanical license for sales in North America. However, if you’re just releasing in the UK, you don’t need to worry about licensing your track.

Finding an independent distributor

There are many independent music distributors out there, so it’s important to do your research and make sure you choose the best option.

You’ll generally need to pay a yearly fee to release your music independently, but some aggregators will allow you to keep 100% of your royalties, while other may take a sneaky slice of your earnings.

It’s also worth checking what other services your distributor will provide. Can you add pre-release and worldwide chart registration to your track? Are there opportunities for promotion and playlisting? These are all important questions to ask when looking for a distributor and releasing your music without a label.

Written by Mark Haldon @ Ditto Music