How to Distribute Your Music

July 3, 2018 | Written by: Stem

Music distribution can be tricky to navigate.

When it comes to releasing music, a typical plan between artist, manager, label & publicist looks like creating & finalizing the product, and then promoting it once it’s out there. Often times, the act of actually getting the music out there is disregarded, or seen as a minute part of a bigger plan. However, how and with whom you distribute music can have major implications (both positive and negative).

Choosing the right music distribution platform can mean things like optimizing metadata and streamlining payments. Unfortunately, many teams aren’t thinking of this, and are purely thinking in terms of marketing: what playlists can I get on, what blog will premiere this, how many fans will share this? While all of these things are important, it’s worth noting that keeping your metadata organized and accurate, and setting yourself and collaborators up for easy payouts means more time to focus on creativity and marketing in the long run.

In this post, we break down how to set up your music distribution properly, including how to choose a distributor to what to have prepared when you’re finally ready to upload. 

Find a Music Distribution Platform You Consider a Partner

How and with whom you distribute music matters. As with any role on your team — manager, agent, publicist, so on — your distributor is part of your organization and plays an integral role on getting your hard work out into the world.

There’s no right or wrong way to go when it comes to music distribution; it all depends on your needs and priorities for a given a release. When you choose Stem as your music distribution platform, you get:

Stem has no term, so creators can use us at-will as they figure out what works best for them and their businesses.

Create An Account with Your Distributor

At Stem, we make it easy for creators to apply and start distributing music.

To apply to be a Stem client, head here.

Prepare to Upload Your Music

Knowing what you will need in order to complete a process up front, especially as it relates to distributing or getting paid for your music, will save you a lot of time in the long run. At Stem, we want our users to have the smoothest experience possible, and make an effort to manage expectations up front. Once you’ve recorded your next great song and are ready to distribute, use this checklist to manage everything you’ll need to have handy:


Metadata – the basics:

Metadata – the complicated stuff:


For each song, you will need:

Master (Sound Recording) Splits:

Publishing (Composition) Splits:

To help when you’re on the go, we created a handy master checklist for you:

Stem's Ultimate Music Distribution Checklist

Once you’ve uploaded your music, check out our guide to 10 Things to do After Making Your Music Available Online. This includes creating a Spotify for Artists profile, registering with a PRO and more.