Music streaming platform, SoundCloud, has announced the addition of self-distribution to the platform’s self-monetisation Premier toolset. This new development from SoundCloud will now help independent artists to self-distribute their music to Spotify, Apple Music and other major music streaming platforms.

Eligible users in the open beta will be able to publish and monetise their songs to major music streaming platforms. The streaming platforms one can distribute their music to include Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora.

This is all at no additional costs. SoundCloud, especially noted that it won’t take any of the proceeds a user gains from third-party platforms. The press release said those who leverage this distribution program will keep “100 percent of their distribution royalties from third-party services.”

How to be eligible for the distribution program

Note that this distribution program is not automatically available to just any SoundCloud user. You must be eligible before you can participate. And to be eligible, you must satisfy the following:

Premium account: You must have a SoundCloud Pro account or Pro Unlimited account.

Own music: You must also have original music or own all the rights for the music you want to distribute.

Must be an adult: You must be 18 years old or above, or the age of majority in your country.

Copyright strike: You should have no copyright strikes at time of enrollment.

Number of plays: This is one important step. You must have your music played at least 1,000 times in the past month from countries where SoundCloud monetisation is allowed (UK, US, Australia, etc.).

This new SoundCloud distribution program is part of its Premier program, but it is not a free service. You should have accounts like the SoundCloud Pro or Pro Unlimited before you can distribute.  The SoundCloud Pro costs $72 per year, and the Pro Unlimited also cost $144 per year.

For the cheaper Pro account, users can only distribute one release to all major services.  The Pro Unlimited allows unlimited distribution.

Another requirement for songs a user wants to distribute must be uploaded in .WAV of .FLAC format. A form will be provided to fill out for information like release title, primary artist, genre, and album artwork. After all that, you can then submit the songs for distribution right away or schedule the distribution for some time later. SoundCloud will then give you an estimated time (or date) when the submitted songs will appear on the platforms you selected.

The third party platforms

The platforms that users could select to distribute their songs aren’t only Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora. The rest include Amazon Music, Deezer, Facebook, and Instagram (for their audio libraries). And also included are Google Play Store, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Tidal, Tencent, YouTube Music and Napster, “and all other current and future services”.

Alternative options

If you think SoundCloud’s distro program is expensive depending on how you use the platform, there are alternatives. You can try out Distro Plug right here in Ghana.
SoundCloud’s distro program is quite expensive as compared to the alternate services. For competitors like CD Baby, you start from $29 per album. Distrokid charges $20 per year with unlimited distribution.

What’s more? Spotify has taken a minor stake in Distrokid and that allows users in the beta monetisation program to upload and distribute for free via the Spotfiy for Artists dashboard. If you don’t have a record label, you can check them out.


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