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You don't have to be famous to have your musical talents shared with the whole world. There are companies that allow vocalists and other musicians to get their work published for streaming on platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Napster, and other big-name services. This allows individuals to skip the need for a music producer and put themselves out there independently.
Finding a music publishing service is a great way to start out in the music industry. Even though today you might just be writing and producing music in your basement, publishing companies allow artists to share their vocal talents with millions and potentially get discovered by a big name label.
Monday, January 25th
SongCast was founded in 2006. They feature services like Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud, Google Play, Amazon Music, and iTunes as major streaming platforms they work with to help artists reach a worldwide audience. They boast that their services are more streamlined and affordable than their competitors, allowing artists to easily release singles and albums to the world.
Main selling points
The four main selling points SongCast promotes on their website are:
Affordable monthly fee
For clarification on the "100% payout", SongCast lets artists keep all of their royalties in exchange for monthly fees and album fees. For the first month, plans start at $1.99/month, but then increases to $9.99 per month. There is a $19.99 fee for each album released or $9.99 per single, both as a one-time setup fee. If you're interested in Indie Radio pricing, the cost is $2.99 per month of play. This service broadcasts your music across Indie Artist Radio, ShoutCast Networks, Tunein Radio, and iTunes Radio.
Appear on iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, and more
To begin submitting music, artists need to create an account through SongCast. Once this is done, they will begin submitting album titles and song titles along with an album cover. From there, musicians will upload their tracks to SongCast's secure servers that will convert the songs into the formats used by different digital music providers. After a few days, the tracks will appear on iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube, and other notable streaming services. Artists will then begin receiving royalties on the 20th of each month for any of their songs that have been played.
Hundreds of happy customers
We found many reviews from musicians who sing SongCast's praises. They are well-liked by hundreds of users for offering good music exposure, affordability, and ease of use. They have a "B" rating from the Better Business Bureau, with a few complaints about unexpected charges and customer support availability. We didn't see any red flags here
Overall, SongCast is a reliable, professional music publishing service. We like that musicians keep all the rights to their music and 100% of their royalties. Although there is a monthly fee, it is affordable and means that artists have some skin in the game to produce good music and stay connected to listeners. Since there is no contract length for using SongCast, we like that musicians can cancel their membership with them at any time. SongCast is a low-risk, well-liked service and we recommend them as our number one option for music publishing.
In 2006, TuneCore started partnering with digital stores to allow musicians to sell their songs worldwide. Some of these partner platforms include Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, TikTok, YouTube, and others. TuneCore has paid out over $1.8 billion in royalties to the artists who use their platform. Despite having a mediocre Better Business Bureau rating (B-), thousands of musicians have reported success by using what TuneCore has to offer and seem happy with their services.
Music publishing services
There are three main areas of music publishing that TuneCore provides to their clients. The first is fine-tuning and getting the music ready for publishing by offering feedback and licensing help. The next is to prepare artists to sell their music by setting up YouTube monetization, allowing Facebook to use the music, stocking up on physical CD copies, and so on. Lastly, TuneCore helps with music promotion through services like feature.fm, radio airplay, and TuneCore's social page where artists can schedule posts, connect with fans, and analyze engagement stats.
Musicians keep 100% of their copyright through all of the streaming platforms where their music is found. In return, they must pay for distribution of each song and album as well as split royalties. Here is a breakdown of costs that you can expect from TuneCore:
Credits can save you money
You can purchase credits through TuneCore, which can be used for new releases. Buying credits in bulk will save money on the album, singles, and ringtone publishing costs. For example, 5 album credits costs $134.95, which saves the customer 10%. Or users can buy 20 single credits for $171.82, which saves them 14%. For musicians hoping to use TuneCore for a long time and release a lot of music, using credits will definitely save them money in the end - because TuneCore is definitely a pricier option for music publishing.
Commercial films, tv, and video games
Similar to their competitors, TuneCore works to get their client's music placed in commercials, films, TV, and video games. Their highlight reel video shows a series of success stories from musicians who have used their site. Some of the companies that have used TuneCore client's music include Amazon, Rover, Pizza Hut, Legends Rising, Dancing with the Stars, Nordstrom, AT&T, and other recognizable names.
TuneCore has a B- rating from the Better Business Bureau due to lots of complaints that TuneCore took the customer's money, but then never published the music and also made it nearly impossible to contact their customer service team. There are musicians who reported that they waited months for their music to go live and saw zero results from TuneCore. On the flip side, other third-party sites have comments from thousands of musicians who say that they have been pleased with TuneCore's services. Some even say that customer service is easy to work with, though others still complain that working with a rep is like pulling teeth.
The two main reasons we suspect artists might be leery of TuneCore are the expensive publishing costs and the less-than-ideal BBB rating. However, TuneCore has been in the industry long enough to have well-established connections and really knows how to help their musicians find success. Many prefer TuneCore over other music publishing platforms because of how quickly they distribute music and get the ball rolling for musicians to make music. We recommend seriously considering TuneCore for your music publishing needs.
Sentric Music first began independently publishing music in 2006. They are a British service with locations in Liverpool, London Hamburg, Spain, LA, and New York. Their purpose is to empower artists to collect royalties from the work they do. They have helped over 100,000 musicians find opportunities to elevate their careers by getting their music out on many popular streaming services.
Case studies on landing big gigs
There are quite a few recognizable brands that work with Sentric Music. Some of these include HBO, BBC, Reebok, Ford, H&M, XBOX, Michael Kors, Microsoft, Skype, and others. You can read case studies and view a showreel on Sentric's website about artists who used their services and landed big gigs after they were discovered there.
Music publishing 6 step process
Sentric Music has a clean, easy-to-navigate website that walks musicians through their process with ease. Their services can be broadly understood with this 6-step process:
The Sentric Music platform is very user-friendly once you've created your login. From your account you can add and manage songs and details about your songwriters. Once you've added five or more songs, you can manage upcoming gigs, broadcasts, synchronization and other features. The platform makes it very streamlined to put all the necessary information in their system for publishing purposes.
80/20 royalty split
Now, onto the biggest questions in most artists' minds when looking for a music publishing company: How much does it cost, and how much of my royalties do I keep? Sentric Music does an 80/20 split, meaning you get 80% and they keep 20%. To join and use Sentric's services is free, which is a great deal compared to most other music publishing companies that either make you pay per song/album or per month. If you're in the US, keep in mind that you're dealing with a British company here, so royalties and other nitty-gritty financial details might be dealt in euros, not in dollars.
Lack of customer reviews
Sentric Music does not have a Better Business Bureau profile for us to see how users view their services. There is also little to be found from independent artists who have used their platform. The best we can find is other companies explaining how Sentric has helped artists claim royalties from shows and music releases they were owed by streamlining the process. Essentially, we have not seen or heard anything bad about Sentric. We would urge you to read all their fine print, but in the end it won't hurt to give them a shot since their services are free to use.
Sleek, straightforward, worth a try
Their website is sleek, straightforward, and boasts of many reputable companies they have worked with, which gives them more credibility. We like what we see from Sentric Music, so we suggest giving them a try when you're in the market for publishing your music.
Songtrust was launched in 2011. They cater to both Grammy-award winning artists as well as undiscovered musicians working independently. They aim to make sure that artists capture all of the funds owed to them from music streaming and live performances. Songtrust is used by creators, creator reps, businesses, and educators to make sure everyone connected to a song has the insights and information to be successful.
When Songtrust first entered the industry, their goal was to be the easiest way for artists to collect publishing royalties at any stage of their career. They boast that they are the world's first self-service global royalty solution. They are one of the most popular royalty collection solutions used by professionals to simplify music rights management, administer music publishing assets, performing rights, and digital licensing.
85/15 royalty split
Artists who use Songtrust keep 100% of the rights to their song, but not 100% of the royalties. Songtrust keeps 15% of royalties and musicians keep 85%. To work with this platform, it will cost a registration fee of $100. This includes a 1-year membership, the ability to control your sync rights, retention of 100% of the sync fees you negotiate, and the chance to terminate membership at any time after the first year.
Music publishing crash course
Songtrust has a music publishing crash course to teach artists more about the music publishing business and keep them informed about relevant industry topics. Additional resources from Songtrust include a weekly 30-minute virtual lesson where they go over the ins and outs of music publishing. There is also a downloadable guide to music publishing, blog, music publishing glossary, royalty estimator calculator, musician checklist, and other resources for artists to take advantage of here.
Over 300,000 songwriters
Over 300,000 songwriters have used Songtrust in over 64 countries. On average, about 4,000 songs are added each month. This shows that Songtrust is both reputable and well-respected in the music industry. We recommend checking out the Songtrust platform tour to see why so many people use their services and to get an idea of how user-friendly the interface is.
Few customer reviews
Unfortunately, Songtrust does not have very many reviews from musicians, and they also lack a Better Business Bureau profile page for us to see how the service compares with other music publishing services. There are a few blogs and companies who have written blurbs about the benefits of Songtrust and why they come highly recommended in the industry, which is reassuring.
We feel comfortable recommending Songtrust based on what we see as far as usability, the many free resources they offer, and their commitment to help musicians get paid. Our major hang-up with their service is that you are locked into a one-year contract, meaning you'll end up paying at least $100 if you decide to publish music through this platform. Besides this, we think Songtrust is generally a good option for music publishing.
Taxi has been serving artists in the music industry for a whopping 28+ years. They first began in 1992 and have had the goal of connecting musicians with record labels ever since. They also work to get their clients' music to film and TV music supervisors, top music publishers, production music libraries, especially to be used in TV commercials and movie trailers.
When briefly scanning the services provided by Taxi on their website, you'll see that they give a lot of reasons for their members to be optimistic about their platform. A hopeful musician looking to make it big will likely be enticed by all the opportunities listed there. It would be hard not to have high expectations from a company who boasts that they have worked with The CW, ABC, CNN, Hallmark Channel, Hollywood Records, EA Sports, The Discovery Channel, and many other well-known networks.
Prepare to read
To get a clear understanding of how to make the most of Taxi's services, it will take quite a bit of reading. Their website is text-heavy and full of so many pages of information and sales pitches that it is hard to get the important details. The best way to get a watered-down version of how Taxi's services might help an artist is by reviewing their FAQ page. Here they clarify some pricing details, information on their A&R (artists and repertoire) team, and submission processes.
To join Taxi and use their services, you'll pay for a full-year membership at $299.95. Once the year is up, the renewal fee is $199.95. This is definitely one of the pricier services we have seen for music publishing. From there, artists pay $5 for each song they submit to Taxi's platform. If a musician gets their song used by a company, Taxi does not take any of the commission. Their fees are simply to pay their A&R people to work behind the scenes to get artists connected to companies looking for music.
Taxi claims that in their annual head counts of how many artists get forwarded to companies, it ends up being about 4 out of 10 members. They only forward songs that are high-quality and really fit the criteria of the company looking for music whether it be for a TV show, video game, movie, commercial, or some other type of entertainment. Taxi's success rate for individuals who actually score deals runs about 6% or a little higher. This doesn't seem extremely high, but then again, Taxi's job is just to get your name and work out there and then it is up to companies to decide whose music to use. Despite the pitches throughout the website, Taxi really isn't making any promises when it comes to the success of their members.
There is a forum where members can leave "unfiltered" reviews about their experience with Taxi. We were hopeful that this would give us a good idea of how the general public feels about using their platform since they don't have a Better Business Bureau profile. We can't say for sure that these reviews are in fact filtered, but the fact that there are over 1,900 posts without anything negative for us to find was suspicious.
Keep your expectations in check
We think that the idea behind Taxi is a great one: having a middleman that filters through submissions and then pitches good tracks to companies needing music can save musicians time and hassle. We imagine that it is pretty complicated to keep track of the many songs that Taxi receives and give them all a good shot. In reality, the fact that only 6% of users land a real gig (big or small) from their services means that most musicians won't get their big break here. Nonetheless, it is a different way to approach music publishing, if you're willing to pay nearly $300 to become a member. It might be an interesting avenue to try out for a year or so, but we suggest keeping expectations low.
CD Baby was founded in Woodstock, New York in 1998. They are home to over 650,000 artists and over 9 million tracks. If you're like us, the name of this publishing company makes you wonder if they are out of the loop, considering most people don't use CDs for music listening anymore. However, it was apparent when exploring their services that they are most definitely on top of their game in the music industry.
Over 100 streaming services
CD Baby works with over 100 streaming services including Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Deezer, Amazon Music, and more. They have testimonials from accomplished artists who have used their services like Ingrid Michaelson, Paul Cardall, Aloe Blacc, and Two Steps from Hell. This company is the real deal and exists to truly help their artists succeed.
Pricing to use CD Baby is as follows:
91/9 revenue split
The listed prices are one-time fees per release with no annual fees. CD Baby keeps 9% of digital distribution revenue and artists keep the remaining 91%. CD Baby sets artists up for worldwide monetization, which means that there is potential to earn money beyond just streaming income. Musicians can also get an income from sync licensing fees, video monetization, and global publishing royalties.
Boost your exposure
There are quite a few tools that CD Baby offers to artists to boost their exposure. One of these tools is Show.co, a platform to build email lists, grow Spotify following, and premiere YouTube videos free for CD Baby clients. Another tool is HearNow, a promo landing page for your next release that includes audio, artwork, and more. Others include Bandzoogle for building a music website, Radio Airplay for 100 free internet radio plays, and Merchly for creating music merch.
Based on CD Baby's website, which helps musicians release music and market themselves with a clear explanation of the process, this service seems like an amazing option for artists. That's why we were a bit confused that the Better Business Bureau gives them a B- rating. In addition, there are a lot of mixed feelings from clients about their services. The biggest complaint usually revolves around their customer service being completely unresponsive and not actually dropping the music that customers paid for. Outside of how CD Baby markets themselves, they receive rather poor reports from customers, which is concerning.
Promising, but proceed with caution
We would recommend using one of the higher-rated music publishing services in order to make sure your music gets where you want it to go. There are many appealing things about CD Baby including their pricing, streaming service partners, professional presentation, and the tools they offer musicians. However, the negative feedback from clients speaks louder than all of this, so we would urge you to proceed with caution should you choose to produce your music here.
Music Diffusion helps promote, publish, and license music for independent artists and labels. They have over 150 digital partner stores as well as the ability to distribute music to Deezer, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Facebook, Beatport, YouTube, Apple Music, and Amazon.
Not much customer feedback
There is not much customer feedback to be found regarding their services and very little on their "About Us" page, but it seems that they are a newer company. Their blog only goes back as far as 2018, which could be around when the company was started.
90/10 royalty split
When you decide to publish through Music Diffusion, you get to keep 100% of the rights to your work. You also keep 90% of the royalties from your songs, while Music Diffusion keeps the other 10%. For anyone in the US, trying to figure out the financial side of using Music Diffusion will be extra-confusing since everything is in euros without the option of switching it over to dollars. For the sake of this review, we will make it easy and translate the pricing page over to US currency.
3 music publishing options
The following plans are provided as options for artists:
A little frustrating
Although Music Diffusion has a professional looking website, it is a little busy and might make it hard for a beginner musician to know exactly how to use their services. Their website also loads slowly when you change pages, which isn't necessarily concerning but it makes for a less user-friendly experience.
Options without explanation
Other pages on the Music Diffusion site with resources for artists include music distribution options, music promotion, and help with website creation and other streaming service networking. A community network is also available for artists who want to create profiles and collaborate with other musicians to share ideas and ask questions. Again, the website is full of links to click on, but it's not made very clear how they help artists or why they might be essential to producing music.
Better choices available
Music Diffusion does not have a Better Business Bureau profile, so we are unable to see how they rank based on customer complaints. Looking elsewhere results in little to no feedback from artists who have used their services. This is disappointing because it makes us think that they aren't a very popular or well-established service. Since they cater to European markets and don't have as straightforward of processes as our higher-rated services, we recommend trying a different publishing company first.
There are quite a few music publishing services to choose from when exploring your options. A more reputable company will know the ins and outs of getting their musicians the maximum amount of exposure possible. If perhaps your music does get discovered and have millions of streaming listeners, you'll want to use a service that allows you to keep larger portions of sales.
Before choosing the company you want to publish your music, we suggest you keep the following things in mind:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best music publishing services available today. We hope this information helps you achieve your musical aspirations!
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