Which Options to Use on DistroKid When Uploading

Confused by the options DistroKid gives you? Here are my recommendations for what you should and shouldn't do.

First things first, make sure you’re uploading full-resolution WAV files. I will legitimately cry if you upload an mp3. You might not be able to tell the difference… but it will sound way worse when the streaming services convert it to their delivery format.

Also be ready to upload the cover artwork at the same time as you upload the audio (Spotify Canvases are unique to Spotify and can be uploaded any time). This gets submitted all at once to the streaming services. Make sure your artwork is large enough too. Minimum 1000px by 1000px – but really you need 3000px x 3000px.

With your album art, you also have to be careful about what you submit. Stores will reject stuff like URLs, social handles, streaming logos, obviously unmodified stock photos, etc.

Most services have some checkboxes for upsells when uploading. The only ones I would consider are:

  • Distrokid’s Leave A Legacy – Useful if you just want to drop and album and not worry about keeping up your Distrokid subscription forever. Just depends on what your business model is.
  • Shazam/Siri – Good if you like people to save your song when they hear it randomly.
  • Youtube Content ID – If you want money if/when people use it in their videos (for their vlogs, fan music videos, etc).

The following DistroKid options are useless:

  • Tidal MQA: Pointless. It’s 100% hype on Tidal’s part to get money out of wannabe audiophiles. It’s not even truly lossless. And the format sounds funny to my ears. Not worth the extra $8 a year.
  • Loudness Normalization: Do not, I repeat DO NOT do this option. It’s even more pointless than MQA. If the listener has loudness normalization enabled in their playback settings, your song will be matched then. If they don’t you’re gonna be waaaaaaay quieter than everyone else. If you’re really worried about your file being so hot that it gets clipped in the conversion to AAC/OGG, just ask your mastering engineer to leave 1db of headroom (I personally don’t leave that much).
  • Social Phone Number: Why is this $13 a year? If you want a local phone number, just get a free Google Voice account. If you want to do serious SMS marketing, get it through your email marketing service (ActiveCampaign offers this) or through a dedicated SMS marketing service like SlickText.

Looking for a Music Promotion Guide?

This article is part of our giant guide on how to release and promote your music so you get on blogs and playlists. You can check the whole guide out here.

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