How to Upload Music to Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and Much More.
Learn how to get your music on all streaming services step-by-step below.
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Last Updated: August 2022
A lot of new music artists wonder how to upload music to Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Tidal, Amazon and all the other major online music platforms.
So in this post we’re going to go step-by-step through releasing a new song/album online, so you can get your music on Spotify ASAP.
We’ll show you exactly what to do, where and how to do it, and then get into more detail about music distribution in the 21st century.
Let’s get into it.
Article Table of Contents
1. Overview of Getting Your Music Out There
- 1.1 Steps to Getting Your Music on Streaming Sites
- 1.2 The 2 Best Music Distribution Companies Online
- 1.2.1 What Company You Should Choose
- 1.3 How to Get Your Music Ready for Spotify + More
2. How to Upload Music to Spotify – Detailed Walkthroughs
3. FAQs About Getting Music on Spotify
- 3.1 How Much do DistroKid and TuneCore Cost?
- 3.2 How Long Does it Take to Get Your Music Onto Streaming Sites?
- 3.3 Where Will Your Music Be, Once Released?
- 3.4 Your Music’s On Spotify, What Now?
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An Overview of Getting Your Music Out There
The very first thing you need to worry about as independent artists is making sure your music is GOOD ENOUGH to be out in the world.
Got songs you’re really proud of? YES?
OK. Next question.
Can you upload music directly onto Spotify?
The answer is NO – you need to work with a record label or “music distributor/aggregator” to add music to Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal or another DSP (digital streaming platform).
Make sure you know how to sing, how to rap or how to make beats that are FIRE before putting it out there. And if you play an instrument, brush up on how to play guitar or how to play piano before you record your music.
Steps to Getting Your Music on Streaming Sites
- Sign-up for TuneCore (20% off) or Sign-up for DistroKid (7% off)
- Choose what type of release you’re distributing (single or album)
- Enter artist and release information
- Upload your music file(s), artwork and enter song details
- Choose the platforms you want your music on (choose ALL of them)
- Choose a Release Date
- Confirm all the info and finish the submission
Below, we go into much more detail of exactly how these steps are done (with screenshots!)
You’ll also need to enter in details on how you want to be paid out for sales and streams you make (iTunes digital downloads, etc).
And that’s it! Your music will be ready for the Spotify library and the libraries of other services. If you’re wondering how to upload music to Apple Music or Tidal, this process takes care of it for you! It’s not just for Spotify.
The 2 Best Music Distribution Companies Online:
Here’s our take on the best way to get your music distributed to all the music stores and streaming platforms out there. You’ve got a few options, but these are our 2 recommendations.
There are a lot of others out there, but the above 2 are the best (with TuneCore being the “OG top of the top!”).
You have to pay a fee (both are subscription based), then you can upload your song/album and enter all the applicable information (release date, artists/features, title, cover art, etc).
A couple weeks later, you’ll be able to access your music on all the different streaming platforms.
What Company You Should Choose
TuneCore is our preferred partner because it’s hands-down the best in the game… and they’ve been in the game a LONG time.
It’s got the best payout structure, tons of extra features plus it’s super effective and simple to use.
The best part about TuneCore, though, is you get to keep 100% of ALL your royalties, and there are no hidden fees. With other services (like DistroKid) you don’t always get the ALL of the royalty payout (more on this in a sec…).
Here’s more on why TuneCore is our #1 CHOICE when getting your music on Spotify, Apple Music and elsewhere:
- Addons like handling Publishing Administration (collecting your royalties for you)
- Film/TV/etc sync placement opportunities for your distributed songs (if you addon the Pub Admin.)
- Addon service for handling your Social Media management
- Excellent customer support and best payout structure
One of the world’s biggest Hip-Hop artists – Russ – used TuneCore to go from 0 to over SIX FIGURES in music royalties PER MONTH. He did that by using TuneCore to release a new song every single week, for years.
Guess what? We partnered with TuneCore to offer you 20% OFF your first distribution! Click Here to Claim Your Discount!!
DistroKid (who we’re also partnered with) used to be our #1 pick because they were the cheaper option, but not any more. TuneCore has similar pricing now and has much better royalty payout terms. Here’s what I mean…
DistroKid partners with a middleman company called Merlin to handle the collection of money for artists. And unfortunately companies like that often take a percentage of the money they collect FIRST, before giving it to DistroKid to payout to artists and rights holders.
So even though DistroKid pays out 100% of what they get, they don’t get 100% of the entire royalty payout from the DSP.
On the other hand, TuneCore negotiates DIRECTLY with stores – no middleman. And they payout more (100% of 100%) to actual artists and rights holders.
That doesn’t mean DistroKid is bad platform. And we absolutely still recommend them.
They have a couple of exclusive features we love, and also offer additional services like help with social media, publishing and more.
Read our Complete Comparison Guide on TuneCore vs DistroKid to help you choose the best distributor for your music after you’ve learned how to get your music on Spotify below!
We still think that choosing TuneCore is still the better choice for most artists.
With TuneCore you get higher payouts, peace of mind and excellent support + extras when getting your music on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and everywhere else.
What About “Spotify for Artists?”
Spotify has a feature called “Spotify for Artists” that you should definitely sign up for. It can be used to manage your artist profile on Spotify, but unfortunately you can’t use it to put your music directly onto the Spotify streaming platform anymore.
How to Get Your Music Ready for Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal
Before you put your music out there, you need to get your music properly mixed and mastered for streaming services.
If you don’t know what mixing and mastering is, you’re not ready to release any songs. Get in touch with a mixing engineer so they can get a more polished, clean and pro sound to your song.
When you get your mastering done, make sure the mastering engineer sends you audio files that are mastered for STREAMING (not for vinyl, CD, etc) with proper loudness levels.
When uploading local files from your computer, make sure they are high quality (44.1khz, 16-bit minimum) WAV audio files. Do NOT Use MP3s! USE WAV FILES! MP3s suck.
And finally, get all your metadata and additional media ready before you start the process below – artist + feature names, song/album name, song files, song/album artwork files, etc.
How to Upload Music to Spotify – Detailed Walkthroughs
In this section we’re going to show you exactly how to get your music on spotify, step-by-step! We’ll start with our #1 pick (TuneCore) and then do a similar walkthrough for DistroKid right after.
How to Use TuneCore – Step By Step
The process to distribute your music via TuneCore is SUPER SIMPLE.
Step 1: Create a Free Account
First off you have to create a free account entering in your basic info (name, email, etc).
After you sign up, you’ll have to verify your account.
They’ll send you a confirmation email. So next go to your inbox, and find the email from TuneCore. If you don’t see the email, check your spam folder or “promotions” tab if you’re using Gmail.
Step 2: Begin Your New Release
Once you click the link in the email, you’ll get to a page like below:
If you have more than one song to release choose “Album” and if you only have a single song to release choose “Single.” After that you’ll see a screen where you have to enter in all your information about the track. In the example below we use a single.
First, just enter the details of your music – song title, artists, genre, and language. And choose if there are explicit lyrics or not. Then if you scroll down, you can enter additional details if you’ve already released this song before. If you don’t know what any of that info is, don’t worry about it. It’s mostly optional info anyways.
Step 3: Upload Track Artwork
After you hit the “Create My Single” button you’ll be taken to a new page as shown below, where you can upload the track’s artwork.
Press the “Upload or Create Artwork” button on the top left, and you’ll see a page like this one:
Take a quick look at the requirements of to make sure your artwork is compatible with TuneCore. Then hit the blue “Upload Artwork File” button to choose a file from your computer. If you don’t have artwork that fits the requirements you can scroll down and have compatible artwork created for you.
Otherwise, after upload you’ll see this:
Just hit “Save And Continue” and you’re almost ready to finalize your release.
Step 4: Upload Your Music File (WAV Only!)
Next, we’ll upload our audio file.
Your file MUST be a 16 bit 44.1 khz WAV file, so make sure it’s correct before trying to upload. Just scroll down a bit and click the “Upload” button in the “SONG” section.
Choose your audio file from your computer and you’re good to go!
One of the cool things about using TuneCore when learning how to upload music to spotify is you can setup your release before your master audio files are even ready. That way you save yourself some time while waiting for your engineer to get back to you. Check out the right hand side of the above picture. You’ll notice it allows you to pre-buy a release credit for future use.
Step 5: Enter Songwriter Information
Next, enter the songwriter and artist information below the “track upload” area. It’s important to enter proper full names in the songwriter section of the people who actually wrote the song! (Sometimes this is different than the people who record/perform the song).
After that scroll down a bit to see more options available to you.
Step 6: Choose Stores and Additional Options
Here you can choose which online stores can carry your music. There’s no real reason to customize this, so just leave it at ALL STORES. It’s also a good idea to add the “Store Automator” feature because any new stores that get started will get your music automatically without you having to re-submit to them in the future.
If you’re trying to sell physical CDs as well (lol) you can do so by choosing the “Amazon On Demand” feature. If you want to let fans “pre-order” before the release, you can set that up there too. After that, scroll up a bit and hit the SAVE button on the track information.
Step 7: Finalize Your Release
We’re almost done! Once you’ve saved your info you’ll be asked to choose a subscription type.
I usually go for the 1 year in most cases, but if you want to save a bit over time, you can go with a multi-year subscription. Once you hit the “Add to Cart” button you’re taken to a page with all the items you’re purchasing for this particular release:
Scroll down and hit the “Proceed to Checkout” orange button and you’ll be able to enter your payment information.
You’re able to pay with either PayPal or Credit Card. Once you’ve paid you’re taken to a confirmation page with the release information and you’ll be emailed a receipt. And that’s basically all you’ve got to do! Your single or album will be released to all stores you chose on the date you set. Congrats! Your music is out there for the world to find.
How to Use DistroKid – Step-By-Step Walkthrough
Here’s an in-depth guide on how to use DistroKid to release your music.
Step 1: Create Your Account
The first thing you need to do is create an account with your email address:
Step 2: Choose Your Membership Type & Pay
Most people will be OK with the Musician package for $19.99 per year. It lets you distribute as much music as you want for that year under a single artist name. But we recommend choosing at least the Musician Plus option. It gives you some additional customization and reporting/analytics. But it’s not 100% necessary.
Just click whichever option suits you best:
This service will make you enter your payment information and subscribe to the service before you’re able to start a new music release. So on the next page, enter your credit card information and pay for the yearly membership. Unfortunately they don’t offer PayPal or anything else as an option, so you’ll need access to a credit card. If you don’t have one, you can buy a Visa or Mastercard gift card and it should work.
Step 3: Click, Click, Click again… And Enter Contact Information…
After you hit that join button, your credit card will be charged and you’re greeted with this screen:
And then when you hit “Start Now” you’ll get the following screen. Notice the tiny link that you’re supposed to click:
And then you’ll be told before you can start a release you have to enter your contact information…
And then when you hit that “Add Contact Information” button (yes, that’s a lot of f$^kin clicks to get to where you’re going…) you’ll be asked to enter all your relevant contact details.
This is all the basic information that they ask for:
- Phone Number
- Business Name
- Postal Code
Also don’t forget to read (lol) the DistroKid Distribution Agreement. This is a legally binding agreement so make sure you know what’s up with it. No one likes reading terms of service and contract-law English that’s 1000 pages long, but it’s probably a good idea to do.
Then just click that little checkbox below it to state that you’ve read and agree to all the terms contained in the text above. Enter your DistroKid account password at the end and then hit the “Continue” button.
Step 4: Start a New Release
Next, you’ll begin a new release. A release is any single piece or collection of music you intend to distribute to all the different digital music stores and online streaming services around the globe.
There’s a ton of sites to upload to, and we suggest choosing all of them. Remember, even though this is a guide on how to upload music to Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal are the biggest streamers, you want your music to be on every site possible. Don’t make it more difficult for a random person to access your music. Then choose how many songs you want to release on this project. You can choose to release a single (1 song) or up to 35 songs together as an album/collection/playlist.
Next, select whether or not this music has already been released elsewhere. If you choose “Yes” another are pops down asking for the original release date. This would then make this submission a “re-release.” This is usually best for stuff that’s been out (ex/ old music for the past) but isn’t on the streaming sites yet. But maybe if you already put it out on SoundCloud you can also consider it a re-release. Not a big deal, it’s totally up to you.
Step 5: Enter Artist Name and Release Date
First enter your artist or band name (not your real name, unless that IS your artist/band name). Make sure you capitalize the first letter of each word/name. Don’t use ALL CAPS or all lower case letters. AnD DoNT uSe WEirD AsS SpONgE BOb CaPItaLizAtIon. It will get rejected from all the stores/sites.
Important Note: The Artist/Band Name section is ONLY for the MAIN artist. This is NOT for any featured artists or producer names. That comes later…
Next, you can choose your release date (it can be the same day or in the future) and time. DistroKid recommends that you set your release date to at least 7 days in the future, because it increases the chances that you’ll be added to major streaming playlists. And music discovery in 2019 really is all about playlists, so it’s a good practice to follow.
But beyond that, 7 days is cutting it close, and you may not be able to access your song everywhere by that release date. You should try to give yourself a 4 week window before your release date. That will ensure that on your release date your song/album WILL be available on EVERY store.
You can also choose if you want to allow people to pre-order the song on Google Play, iTunes and Amazon. Totally up to you. We like making shit easy for people, so we’d say “yes” allow pre-orders from the very same day we setup the distribution. (But at the same time,we don’t ever expect ANYONE to actually buy a song… it’s not 2005 anymore…) For the release time, we recommend choosing the second option – make the song available to everyone, everywhere in the world at the same time. Make it easy.
DistroKid’s system will automatically check to see if there is another artist/band in Spotify or iTunes with your same name. If this is the first time you’ve ever released music under this name (and there’s no one else with the same artist/band name) the screen will look like the above screenshot.
If you already have music in Spotify or Apple Music/iTunes or there’s already someone else out there in the world that has the exact same artist/band name as you, the screen will look like the pic on the left.
If the artist that gets found is really you, then choose “That’s Me!” or “Yes – group this release with my other [NAME] releases” for both.
If there’s some other artist/band that’s using your name make sure you choose “I’m a different [NAME]” or “No – this will be my first [NAME] release.”
If you mess this up you’re going to have a huge headache (and potential legal issues) in the future. So make sure you’re picking the right option so everything shows up correctly on the streaming sites.
Step 6: Add Artwork and Genre Info
The next field is “Record Label” if you’re on the Musician Plus package. If you’re not on a label or don’t have a label, you can just make up a name. Next up, you want to upload the song or album artwork. Make sure you’re uploading something that looks good. If you need to hire someone for a photoshoot or an artist to draw something it’s well worth it. We live in a visual culture. The look is just as important as the sound.
The image file you use should:
- be 3000x3000px
- be a JPG file
- be original artwork (not already used before + you own the rights to use it)
- NOT CONTAIN a website address, social media account names, spotify/apple/amazon/etc logo
- NOT BE blurry (don’t re-size a small image, pixelated images get rejected)
After you’ve uploaded the artwork choose the genre of the song/album. You don’t need to enter a secondary genre, but it may help with fans discovering you if you do.
Step 7: Enter Song Details and Upload Song(s)
Now we need to enter the details about the music we’re uploading and actually upload the audio files. We always recommend uploading high quality (44.1khz 16-bit) WAV files to make sure that the audio quality is as high as possible. Also you want to make sure your music is fully mixed and mastered properly. Don’t upload some amateur, distorted or shitty sounding audio.
First enter the name of the song(s) – and note that THIS is where you’d enter any featured artists names. See the screenshot below:
A featured artist should be entered in brackets like this: “SONG NAME (feat. [feature artist name])” If you have 2 features, use the “&” symbol. If you have 3 or more, use a comma to separate the names and an “&” before the LAST featured artist name. If you’re uploading a cover version of another song, DO NOT enter the original artists name here. That’s not allowed. As far as capitalization, it’s the same rules as for the Artist Name section above. Also, you can’t enter any producer names here either.
Then choose the file(s) (make it high quality WAV if possible) you’ll be uploading. If you already have an ISRC code click the little link on the right side and enter it. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry about it. After this you’ll enter song details – songwriters, explicit lyrics, etc. If you’re on the Musician Plus plan you also get to choose the price you sell digital downloads for. So if you want to charge more than $0.99 per download (good luck…) you can.
For the songwriter choose “Another artist wrote it” if the song is a cover version (you’ll enter the original artist’s name in a section that pops up if you choose that button). If it’s your original work, make sure you’re entering EVERYONE who has rights to the song. If you buy beats online or work with music producers or additional songwriters, you need to enter their name and role in the songwriting process here. Then, choose if you have explicit lyrics (swears) in the song and whether the song you’re uploading is an instrumental (no lyrics/words) or a “radio edit” and move to the next step.
Step 8: Choose Extras and Submit
OK.. We’re almost done. The next step is to choose additional distribution options (these cost extra money) and agree to all the terms of DistroKid.
Here’s what it looks like:
And here’s a quick breakdown of the extras:
- Instagram and Facebook Music
- Cost: Free
- DEFINITELY select this one. It’s free and gets your music on the biggest social networks in the world. Why wouldn’t you?
- Store Maximizer
- Cost: $7.95/year
- DistroKid is always adding new stores/platforms they work with. So if you choose this it’ll add this release to them as they get added.
- Shazam & iPhone Siri
- Cost: $0.99/year
- Shazam and Siri can be used to tell listeners the name and artist of a song they don’t know but are currently listening to (think of malls, restaurants, coffee shops, radio, etc).
- This is WORTH IT. Check this option at the very least because it increases the chances new fans will discover your music.
- Leave a Legacy
- Cost: $29.00 (one time fee)
- So, if you don’t choose this option you’ll need to make sure you’re renewing your DistroKid membership every single year to make sure your music always stays on the different streaming and music purchase platforms.
- This one’s up to you – it’s not necessary but it’s always nice not to have to worry about your music being deleted from Spotify because your credit card expired…
If you choose to get ALL the extra options (a good idea, in our opinion) it will cost you $37.90 at the time of purchase and another $8.94 every single year that you want these options for this music release. After you’ve chosen your extras (make sure you AT LEAST choose the Instagram/Facebook option), check the 4 check-boxes at the bottom (you’re agreeing to a bunch of terms and conditions so you should read all that shit). Finally hit the “DONE” button, and there you go. Your release will be put onto all the various music streaming and music purchase services on the internet!
If you scroll down a bit you’ll see a link to a page that gives you details and status of the release. You can also see how the royalty/payment splits are setup, add lyrics, add extra distribution features and more:
You also get a “pre-release” link you can share with your fanbase, family and friends that lets them know about the upcoming release:
If this is your first release, you’re probably pretty stoked right now. Congratulations! That’s really f$#kin dope. It’s a crazy feeling seeing your name and music on places like Spotify and Apple Music.
Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Music on Spotify
Here’s a couple things a lot of people wonder about uploading their music onto streaming sites.
How Much Do DistroKid and TuneCore Cost?
TuneCore used to be more expensive than DistroKid, but they recently changed everything up and are now CHEAPER than DistroKid.
Both services offer unlimited releases on their subscription plans. That means you can release as much music as you want for a yearly fee.
DistroKid has 3 different membership levels ranging from $19.99/year up to $79.99/year – the higher up membership levels are mostly meant for people that need to release music for multiple artists. If you’re running an independent label choose the $79.99 “Label” membership, otherwise one of the others will do.
Also remember, there are additional options you can choose for your releases on DistroKid that cost extra.
TuneCore has 4 subscription options:
- a FREE tier that lets you release music to social platforms (but not streaming sites like Spotify)
- Rising Artist Tier @ $14.99/year – get your music on 150+ digital stores + streaming sites
- Breakout Artist Tier @ $29.99/year – adds advanced features to customize your release (ex/ Store Automator + Cover Art Creator)
- Professional Tier @ $49.99/year – meant for labels with premium product/service access
If you’d like to add music publishing and sync licensing support it costs $75.
How Long Does it Take to Get Your Music onto Streaming Sites?
Once you finish filling in all the information you’ll be asked to upload audio/image files and make payment. It usually takes some time (a day or so) for the Aggregator staff to review your submission.
After that there are different wait times before you’ll actually appear on all the different platforms.
- iTunes: Though the time it takes for music to go live on iTunes can vary, releases typically go live within 24-48 hours
- Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadio: 3-7 business days
- Amazon On Demand: 6-8 weeks
- Google Play: 1-2 weeks
- Spotify: 5 business days
- All other stores take 1-3 weeks
Where Will Your Music Be, Once Released?
Now that you know how to upload music to Spotify you’re probably wondering where else your music will be placed. Both companies release your music to over 150 digital stores across the globe.
Both will get your music on:
- Apple Music
- Amazon Music
- Google Play
- YouTube Music
- many other platforms
Your Music’s On Spotify, What Now?
Think you know how to get music on Spotify now and that’s that? You ain’t done yet! All the music streaming sites out there have millions of tracks in their library to choose from.
And you don’t want to get lost in the crowd.
So, after you upload to Spotify you NEED to actively promote your music to new fans and get new listeners from other online platforms.
Deviant Noise is more focused on making music than promoting it, but promotion is an important part of any music career.
There’s just one big problem – the sheer amount of music out there. Hundreds of new songs are released everyday, so you’re going to have to find creative ways to gain attention.
Whatever you do, DO NOT just spam people on social media with your links. That’s the worst and will actually make people hate you before they ever hear you.
Upload music videos (or picture videos) of your songs to YouTube. Upload MP3s to places like SoundCloud, BandCamp, SoundClick and anywhere else you can think of where people find new music.
Start interacting with music-based communities/forums online (don’t spam your music!). Be helpful. Become a part of the community. Engage with the people. And then eventually share your stuff.
Make sure your music’s available on TikTok (TuneCore and DistroKid will help with that) and create videos using it. Get your friends and any fans you do have to do the same.
Reach out to independent playlist curators on Spotify or other streaming sites. Search for opportunities online to get your music synced in ads, movies, video games or tv/film. Reach out to small podcasters and YouTubers and offer them your music for their shows/videos.
Play open mic nights in your city and throw your own live shows. Collaborate with other artists in your town and online. Just get yourself and your music out there any way you can.
The point is, just because your music is on Spotify, doesn’t mean anyone will listen. You still gotta grind it out and build up a fanbase.
The sad truth is there’s a TON of music out there, and people have less and less bandwidth for new things.
Attention is scarce.
So the best advice I can give you is to work on your craft of song-making until you have OBJECTIVE GREATNESS.
Then get your music out there and GRIND hard for opportunities to gain new fans any way you can.
If you’re willing to work at it, you can build yourself a great career in music.
The rapper Russ used TuneCore and great music to become one of the most successful independent music artists of this new generation – eventually making six figures in MONTHLY royalties after years and years of consistently putting music onto streaming sites and promoting it.
So it can be done. Good luck!
That’s all y’all! Hope this post was helpful in showing you exactly how to upload music to Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal.
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