How To Release Music on Spotify (Step-by-Step Process)

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Photo credit: Reet Talreja

Even though Spotify’s streaming payouts are currently atrocious, your music still needs to be available on the platform.


Your music needs to be where people listen to music. If it’s not, they’ll move on to the next artist.

Spotify is a great way for new fans to discover your music, thanks to playlists and Spotify radio.

So here’s how to release music on Spotify, the step-by-step process…

Make Sure Your Music Is Ready

Spotify and other Digital Service Providers (DSPs), like Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc., have standards. Your song has to meet a certain level of professional production and loudness.

And the gatekeepers for this level of quality are the digital distributors (more on those below).

So you have to ensure your music is produced well, mixed professionally, and mastered to industry standards.

You also need good-looking album art. Most music distributors require the album art or cover photo to have a certain level of quality. Not pixelated. And the name on the cover has to match your artist’s name.

Basically, the artwork has to meet the quality standards of the other albums you see on Spotify.

Also, metadata. You need to have it readily available. This is song info you’ll be entering during the distribution process. Things like genre, BPM, songwriters, publishing owners, artists your music sounds like.

Lastly, you need to make sure everyone involved in the creation of your song/album is clear about their ownership (or non-ownership) of the music and that they’ve signed any appropriate agreements. This includes session musicians, songwriters, producers, and publishers (if you’re working with one).

Choose a Digital Distributor

The next step is to choose a digital distributor. These are the companies that deliver your music to Spotify and other DSPs.

You cannot submit your music directly to Spotify. You have to go through a distributor because they partner with Spotify.

How Much Does It Cost To Release a Song on Spotify?

It depends on the digital distributor you choose. Some charge nothing upfront but will usually take a higher commission of your streaming royalties. Some will charge you an annual fee of up to $50. And there are prices everywhere in between.

How Long Does It Take To Distribute Your Music?

It’s best to submit your music to your chosen distributor at least four weeks before your Spotify release date. This ensures your music will be live on release day, and it gives you time to submit to official Spotify playlist editors (more on those below).

The Top Digital Distributors

There’s a lot of debate about what digital distributor is the best. But like a lot of things, “best” will be different depending on your budget and what features are important to you.

I highly recommend you check out this in-depth review of digital distributors from Ari’s Take. There’s even a spreadsheet that breaks down each distributor’s features and prices.

But for now, here’s a quick rundown of what I think are some of the best distributors, based on my experience and research…

CD Baby

CD Baby was the first digital distributor for indie musicians, so they’re definitely a reliable player in this field. Even though 2020 was rough for them, about 800,000 artists and labels use them for distribution.

Here are the main things to know about CD Baby:

  • Distribution fees for a single: $9.95 + $5 for a UPC
  • Distribution fees for an album: $29 + $20 for a UPC
  • 9% commission
  • Offer Spotify pre-save campaigns
  • Delivery to Spotify in 1-2 weekdays


As Ari Herstand wrote for Digital Music News, “DistroKid is best for constant creators.” That’s true because they charge an annual fee, so the royalties you earn may only be worth the cost if you’re consistently making money from Spotify.

Here are the main things to know about DistroKid:

  • Distribution fees for unlimited releases: $19.99/year (one artist)
  • 0% commission
  • Payment splitting for multiple songwriters/artists
  • No payout threshold
  • Delivery to Spotify in 2-7 days


What I like about Soundrop is that they don’t charge an upfront fee. However, they do take a whopping 15% in commission on the backend, so it’s a tradeoff.

Here are the main things to know about Soundrop:

  • Free distribution
  • 15% commission
  • They make it easy to release cover songs
  • Payment splitting for multiple songwriters/artists
  • Delivery to Spotify in 3-5 days (5-10 days for covers)


Songtradr started as a sync licensing service, and it’s grown to include a lot of features, like music distribution as of 2018.

Here are the main things to know about Songtradr:

  • Distribution fees for unlimited releases: $20/year (one artist)
  • 0% commission with subscription, 10% commission without
  • Licensing opportunities
  • Payment splitting for multiple songwriters/artists
  • Delivery to Spotify in 2-7 days


Although Amuse doesn’t deliver to that many distributors, they do deliver to Spotify. Amuse also has their own label, and if your streaming numbers start to blow up, they may offer you a record deal.

Here are the main things to know about Amuse:

  • Free distribution, or $60/year with a Pro account
  • Keep 100% of your streaming royalties
  • Payment splitting for multiple songwriters/artists
  • Could get signed to the Amuse record label
  • Delivery to Spotify in 14 days with a Pro account (unclear ETA with free account)

Register with Spotify for Artists

Spotify for Artists is the backend of Spotify for musicians.

Once you sign up for Spotify for Artists and claim your artist page, you’ll be able to see all your stats: followers, streams, saves, playlists your songs are on, and much more.

Spotify for Artists Sign Up Process

Signing up for Spotify for Artists is pretty simple. This only works if you already have music on Spotify, or if your distributor has delivered your music and it’s in Spotify’s system.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Claim your Spotify profile here
  2. Click “Artists or manager”
  3. Sign in to your Spotify account
  4. Search for your Artist Name (or copy/paste your Spotify artist link into the search box)
  5. Select your artist name and follow the instructions to finish claiming your page


Once Spotify confirms you’re the artist you’re claiming to be, you’ll get access to your Spotify for Artists dashboard.

Submit to Spotify Playlist Editors

After you’ve claimed your Spotify artist page and you’re set up on Spotify for Artists, you can submit your upcoming release (not music that’s already been released) to the official Spotify playlist editors.

Your music can perform well on Spotify without getting accepted to an official editorial playlist, but landing a spot on one can definitely boost your streaming numbers. And that could lead to more followers and overall career growth.

Here’s how to submit your upcoming release to Spotify editorial playlists:

  1. In your Spotify for Artists account, go the Music tab
  2. Choose the “Upcoming” subtab
  3. Here you’ll see the option to submit your track to the Spotify editors


Run a Spotify Pre-save Campaign

A Spotify pre-save campaign is when your fans can save your upcoming release on Spotify before it comes out. So on release day, the track will automatically be saved to their library.

There are some really great benefits of a pre-save campaign. When a fan pre-saves your music on Spotify, here’s what happens:

  • They become your Spotify follower
  • You get their email addresses
  • You can see the city/country where they’re located
  • Saves tell the Spotify algorithm to show the music to more people

Many distributors offer the ability to run a pre-save campaign, so that may be a feature to look for when you choose a distributor.

In Summary…

Make sure the quality of your music is Spotify-ready (AKA “radio-ready”).

Choose a digital distributor.

Register with Spotify for Artists and claim your artist page.

Submit your music to editorial playlists.

Run a pre-save campaign.

These are the basics of how to release music on Spotify.

3 Responses

  1. Wuck Fad

    It’s FALSE that artists MUST work with Spotify.

    Indies can still go to college radio, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp, create a buzz and force the audience to work through those venues.

    Feck Eck forever, and feck his POS platform (with forced shitty graphic design on your page I might add) HATE that yuppie-ass sweet-little-b*tch graphic design.


      ALL Indies MUST boycott Spotify. The way he treats lesser knowns is atrocious, and all you’re doing is destroying the value of your product working with him. There needs to be a class action suit against Spotify for them not clarifying the multi-tier payment system it works under, where indies get essentially nothing and the majors are paid a better rate. It’s not specified ANYWHERE in the contract, and is COMPLETE FRAUD.

      Distrokid should really stop working with them, or clarify this f’ed up payment system from the jump to subscribers.

  2. Fuck Spotify

    What’s the poing of releasing your music on Spotifuck? Greedy company owners and the major labels will steal the money you make there anyway.