Apple Music Has Been Quietly Expanding Its Preferred Distributors List — Here’s Who Made the Winner’s List

Apple Music preferred distributors
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Apple Music preferred distributors
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Photo Credit: Unsplash

The Apple Music Preferred Distributors Program continues to grow more than a year after its release. Here’s how things look. 

Back in November of 2018, Apple launched its Preferred Distribution Program, as first reported on Digital Music News. Three partners were listed as “Preferred Plus” partners — The Orchard, Kontor New Media, and CD Baby.  This list has now expanded to include two more members.

Both Believe Digital and FUGA are now listed as ‘Preferred Plus’ distributors. Both distributors were simply ‘Preferred’ back in 2018 at the program’s launch.

So what’s the difference between the two tiers?

Apple says to qualify as a Preferred Plus distributing partner, a distributor must cross 40,000 songs per quarter. Other requirements include a low Apple Music rejection rate and support for basic and advanced customer features.

Preferred distributors must meet the same requirements, but only cross 10,000 songs per quarter. They also only support basic (no advanced) customer features. 

The more interesting news here is that the full list of preferred distributors has quietly expanded.  Check out the full list of current preferred distributor partners and how it has grown in the last 15 months. 

Apple Music Preferred Distributors List Grows

Preferred Plus (a/o February 11th, 2020)

  • Believe Digital
  • CD Baby
  • FUGA
  • Kontor New Media
  • The Orchard

Preferred (a/o February 11th, 2020)

  • AWAL
  • DistroKid
  • Fluxus
  • Golden Dynamic
  • IDOL
  • Ingrooves
  • Metropolitan Groove Merchants (MGM)
  • NexTone
  • Onepeace
  • ONErpm
  • Rebeat
  • Rock Mobile
  • Sounddrop
  • Space Shower
  • Stem Disintermedia
  • Tunecore Inc. 
  • Tunecore JP
  • Xelon Entertainment
  • Zebralution

There’s also a list specifically for Encoding Houses:

  • Audio Salad
  • Best & Original
  • BitMAX
  • Bossdom DigiInnovation CO., LTD.
  • CJ Powercast
  • Consolidated Independent
  • EMS
  • Enteractive
  • Imagica
  • Imagion
  • Indigo Jones
  • Juice Worldwide
  • MOJO
  • Pony Canyon Enterprise
  • Premiere Digital
  • Radius 60
  • Ragbe Inc.
  • Sony PCL

That list has grown very long compared to Spotify — which is also making some changes. 

Back in 2018, Spotify limited its preferred distributor list to CD Baby, DistroKid, EmuBands, FUGA, and The Orchard. In January of 2019, Spotify split that program up into ‘Preferred’ and ‘Recommended.’  Spotify said it made those changes as a clear set of standards for distributors who “work well with Spotify.” 

Now, it looks like Spotify is triggering a few changes of its own in 2020 (more on that ahead).

Of course, streaming platforms are just one of several ways for labels and artists to promote their music online and cultivate a broader audience.  Good to see there are plenty of very competent partners to choose from.

One Response

  1. Been There, Done That, Don’t Want To Do It Again

    Maybe it is completely irrelevant whether you are Preferred, Preferred Plus or whatever partner of Apple. Ever thought about it?