Let’s face it, every company is different. Their differences range from price and services to tech, their ability to deliver, and so much more. As an independent artist, you have to take all of this into consideration. There’s a lot to consider, but we’d like to help. In this post, we’ll compare the differences between Symphonic and DistroKid services while remaining as unbiased as possible to help you decide for yourself.
Comparison: Symphonic vs DistroKid
Before we dive in…
The information provided in this article has been sourced via each company’s available online resources and presented as honestly and directly as possible. We respect any company that has the clients best interests in mind. As a company that places great importance on artist education, we hope that this comparison isn’t taken out of context.
We’d like to reassure our readers that the goal of this post is to simply offer some clarity for those interested in either platform for their own personal endeavors. Of course, whoever they choose is completely up to them.
If any of this has changed and/or is incorrect, we welcome DistroKid and/or anyone else who has knowledge of these offerings to feel free to send us any information we may have missed. We’d like to make sure everything in this post is updated and accurate so that we represent a fair list of differences.
Lastly, we appreciate your understanding and for taking the time to read this quick disclaimer.
Let’s Talk Basics.
Are you a single artist or label representing many artists? The answer will have large implications on account capabilities at DistroKid…. With DistroKid, you are limited with the amount of individual artists you can have on your account with a max of 100 artists. (Which will also cost you around $1199.99 a year.) In addition, DistroKid charges $49.00 per album to leave it up if you decide not to renew your membership.
With this service, you have to upgrade to one of their plans in order for you to set pre-orders.
- These plans are either “Musician+” or a “Label” plan which range from $35.99 for the first and starts at $79.99 for the latter. (Through DistroKid, you can customize your pricing for some platforms if you upgrade your existing plan.)
With Symphonic, you can create as many artist profiles as you want without an additional fee. That means with Symphonic, you can have those 100 artists for free. There is also no recurring fee annually per release, so the client pays $0.00 to leave their album up.
- Symphonic doesn’t charge for pre-orders or require clients to upgrade or change their plan if they’d like to have pre-orders for a release.
- Symphonic also offers competitive pricing on distribution, along with many other services and additional support. Plus, you aren’t required to upgrade and can set custom pricing for partners that accept it.
Note: If you produce Electronic music, there are additional fees to supply material to Electronic Dance Specialty DSPs and providers with DistroKid. With Symphonic, you can deliver to Electronic Dance shops without any extra fees or plans. Symphonic started with EDM. It’s in our blood. — As an electronic musician, it’d be additionally beneficial to work with a team that understands the genre more than your average distributor.
From our own research, we found that DistroKid only allows you to set a release date if you upgrade your plan. On the other hand, Symphonic allows you to, not only set your release date, but to also set your pre-order release date. Even more, it also allows you to select which partners you want to distribute your music to for free.
In addition, DistroKid restricts albums to 35 tracks. Honestly, that’s fair in our eyes. Anything above 35 tracks is usually not a proper strategy in this business. However, we did want to state this differentiator since our system has a limit of 99 tracks. Just in case an artist is interested in that, it helps to know.
As far as we know, DistroKid doesn’t currently offer marketing services to their clients. On the other hand, Symphonic offers digital marketing services that include:
- Marketing Diagnostics
- Brand Analysis
- Video Distribution
- YouTube Optimization
- Detailed marketing strategies tailored for you.
- Ad campaigns for YouTube, Spotify, IG, FB, Google, and more.
Alongside these services, Symphonic offers social media optimization, branding, creative design, release design packages, video design, advertising, playlist pitching, YouTube optimization and so much more. These offerings are not free or included with distribution, but we offer add ons that are available for purchase for all clients.
We think these features add incredible value to artists looking for one company to do it all. In addition, artists save money utilizing a service like this compared to hiring a marketing agency and various others to do these services separately.
DistroKid offers something called the “DistroKid Spotlight”, which is a playlist artists can submit their songs to be featured. However, this system requires people to manually go in vote for your submission to be featured. You’d need the most votes among the pack to be featured there. Shouldn’t playlist features be based on the fact that your music is awesome and deserves recognition? We think so.
With Symphonic, we offer extensive playlist pitching services. In terms of our own playlists, artists can submit their songs to be featured to any of our 30+ playlists on Spotify which together have over 3k followers. In addition, our client marketing team works very hard to pitch material to DSPs all over the world.
Symphonic clients also have the opportunity to apply for representation by our in-house sync licensing division, Bodega Sync, which has placed artists in hit TV shows like Teen Wolf and Queen Of The South, commercials like Mini Cooper and Amazon Alexa, and more.
- If accepted, Bodega will help place your music by pitching directly to music supervisors and advertising agencies, negotiating licensing deals, completing all the licensing paperwork and making sure you get paid properly.
Symphonic works with SoundExchange to enable you to collect Digital Performance royalties, performance royalties / neighboring rights from worldwide territories, and more. (That includes royalties from any of your music being played on SiriusXM and Pandora.) Plus, we make it as easy as selecting SoundExchange as a DSP. — DistroKid doesn’t.
ACRCloud is an automatic content recognition platform that uses innovative audio fingerprinting technology to help UGC platforms, DSPs, broadcasters, distributors and app developers identify, monitor and monetize content from creators all over the world.
Why is this important? Symphonic uses this technology to upload music by our clients into their vast database to detect copyrighted content preventing fraudulent users from uploading somebody else’s tracks to the distributors.
With Symphonic, you can protect and monetize your music on YouTube while easily managing your copyright protection. Both Symphonic and DistroKid utilize YouTube’s Content ID, which is a digital fingerprinting system that music creators can use to easily identify and manage their music on YouTube.
Symphonic and DistroKid both distribute music to TikTok, which is a major plus for both companies. However, we don’t see anything on Distrokid’s site that claims they distribute music videos or offer YouTube optimization services, which are both important features to consider. — Symphonic does all of these things.
- Symphonic can deliver your video(s) to the best video destinations, including VEVO, iTunes, and Tidal. All clients have to do is upload once, and we deliver it everywhere starting at $95 per video.
- We also provide a YouTube Optimization service that includes channel assessment, metadata cleanup, channel strategy, and data reporting.
Distrokid currently doesn’t offer any Publishing Administration services. For those who’re looking for a complete in-house solution, this is an important feature to note.
Here at Symphonic, we already receive sales reporting/accounting for your distribution sales money, so we can use that existing data to ensure you receive the proper songwriter royalties for mechanicals for you. The same song IDs used to distribute your releases to partners are also used to track and report royalties owed to the songwriter, so we automatically have an audit trail of how much money you are owed as a songwriter.
From a publishing standpoint, that means we can give you this valuable service without having to dive into a complex pub admin deal.
DistroKid may soon be launching a Video Distribution service but we’ve been doing that for about 5+ years. In addition, we’re the only distributor that has patented technology to help you transfer content easily, without you losing your streams and advanced analytics and SplitPay features. First, Analytics wise, we give you Amazon, Deezer, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora daily streams at the artist, track, and release level. We let you see what playlists you are on (for those that report that info), every single day. Even cooler, if you have a Split Payee, they too have access to seeing these analytics as well, we’re the only distributor allowing that level of real time transparency for your collaborators. Speaking of SplitPay, we do not charge you or your payees where-as DistroKid may require a fee in order for you to be able to pay their contributors. Other things such as up to 6+ artists on tracks (without upsells), multi-track edit to let you finish releases quickly, and a bunch of other opt in features that actually help you make more income.
As you can see, both companies have a lot to offer. Depending on your price range and what you’re looking for as an artist, there is a lot to consider. DistroKid is a great place to start as a beginner in the game. But for someone looking for a team to help grow their overall earnings, as well as to collect from as many royalty sources and from more DSPs, then we’re a fit for you.
In any case, always do your own research. Throughout this article, we’ve tried to find the most accurate information we can. However, if you see anything that is inaccurate or notice anything missing from this review, please contact us and let us know.