Record Union Vs Distrokid


When releasing music for the first time, figuring out the best way to get your music on Spotify, and other digital platforms can be daunting. A while back, I used TuneCore to do this and got frustrated with TuneCore’s massive price hikes, so I wrote an article comparing them with Record Union. That article helped many people get away from TuneCore and release their music more affordably. Now I want to showcase Record Union Vs Distrokid, as I think both can help different people.

In the time since I wrote that article, other options have cropped up, and I’ve been exploring them. Having used a few, DistroKid stands out as the most viable replacement, so I am going to explore the two services, how they are different and when you will want to use each.

Why I Can Help

Record Union Vs Distrokid: Daniel Tuttle will provide a comprehensive breakdown.

I have been releasing music online and digitally since the mid-’90s. Back then, I was part of a post-industrial band titled Ogun’s Will. The band helped form Killdevil Studios, an underground music hub, trying to keep underground music afloat in the 90s. Since then, I have released dozens of albums for many musicians that have met critical acclaim, do cover design, run an independent record label, and generally love music.

I want to help you on your journey. ?


At the end of the article, I offer discounts on both services. If you want to skip to those, you can.

Try Record Union

If you want to skip straight to it, I can give you your first release there for free.

Try DistroKid

If you want to skip straight to it, I can give you a discount on you fees.

Feature Comparison

In terms of additional features, DistroKid comes out way ahead. Record Union’s baseline is to get your music on digital stores and streaming services. It does that fairly well and at little risk, but compared to DistroKid’s plethora of features, premium and free, it pales in comparison.

Record Union Features

Most of what Record Union provides is pretty standard: get your music on the leading digital stores. It doesn’t do much else, but they do this well for first-timers on a budget.


Exclusive Offers

This feels kind of goofy, but they have some discounted services that they offer their customers. Personally, I don’t see a lot of value in them, but you may feel differently.

DistroKid Features

There are a lot of nice features at DistroKid, some of which I have not seen elsewhere.

Facebook and Instagram

Want your music available in peoples’ Instagram stories? This is available for free with these guys. Not sure how much you get paid, but it is optional and doesn’t cost anything extra.

It is all about the exposure

YouTube Money

If someone uses your music in a video on YouTube, you can collect some commission from it. This is a nice bit of automatic police work, but you may only want this if your music gets relatively popular. It costs $4.95 per year, plus DistroKid gets 20% of the revenue earned from this. I’d do the math on this before you throw down money on it. Be mindful though, people get their music from YouTube videos. A lot.

Record Union Vs Distrokid - YouTube's makes up 47% of on demand streaming.

Store Maximizer

For another $7.95 per year, DistroKid will add your music to any new store or streaming service they start working with. It is unlikely you’ll recuperate with this feature, but it is cool they offer it. If you want really wide exposure or your music is streamed a lot, it is probably worthwhile.


This is a nice landing page link you can use to broadcast your album to once you release it through DistroKid. It includes an array of links directly to your release for all the major digital stores. It also has a fair amount of statistics with it, so you can see if it is being used. This is extremely useful if you are using Instagram to promote your music.

Record Union Vs Distrokid Feature Comparison

Both of these music distributors have a lot of features. This article would be very long if I talked about all of them, but rather than talk about every item, here is a list.


A large number of stores available(including TikTok)
Option to get paid if someone uses your music on YouTube
Song credits
Referral program
Nice album linking that is Instagram friendly
Cloud backup of your high-quality music files
Protection for your music from unauthorized releases
Tool to help you set up your artist profile on Spotify
Most “per year” options are really good
Leave a legacy
No multi-artist releases
Shazam is a premium option

Record Union

Shazam is not a premium option
Discounted or free music-related services
A nice A&R Program
Can put up compilation and other multi-artist records
Can leave up forever at no cost, but also no Record Union royalties
Comprehensive, intuitive reporting
Few premium options.
Definite per year / per album fees
They keep a small percentage of your sales as payment
Pricing is convoluted
Charges by the number of stores
Limited amount of stores, but has the popular ones

Clearly, the winner for Record Union Vs Distrokid here is DistroKid.

Pricing Comparison

NOTE: Record Union recently started offering a pay-per-month plan similar to what DistroKid offers. This pricing is decent, but DistroKid’s pricing is somewhat better. Otherwise, my comparison remains about the same. I’ll update this article soon some day. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I find assessing the subscription pricing on these services is not how they describe it in the simplest terms. There is a huge difference between Record Union Vs Distrokid, but it isn’t as easily broken down as it would seem.

Annual Fees

DistroKid has a flat $19.99 per year all-you-can-eat subscription fee. This is for one artist, and you can release as many albums as you want with no hidden charges or fees. That’s going to be difficult to beat for anyone that has a large catalog.

Record Union has pricing that is far more like TuneCore’s, but it is much fairer. There is a base price to just put your music on Spotify, a middle-tier package that covers all the important stores, and a higher-tier package that includes a full array of stores.

In most cases, Record Union’s middle tier is what you want. It covers most of the premium stores that artists care about: Tidal, iTunes (or Apple Music now?), Google Play, Deezer, Spotify, and YouTube Music.

And making things even more confusing, their pricing is based on the number of songs on your album. This is the full breakdown:

Record Union Vs Distrokid - Pricing grid directly from their site
Record Union’s pricing. I generally recommend Top Dog.

At base, DistroKid is a flat $19.99 per year, with as many albums as you want. If you have more than one artist, the subscription price varies:

1 artist: $19.99 / year
2 artists: $35.99 / year
5+ artists: starts at $79.99 / year and goes up from there.

The more artists or band names you represent, the cheaper it is. Basically, you’re going to pay an annual fee per band, but if you’re a label and represent a lot of musicians, you get a bit of a discount on them.

Optional annual fees

While DistroKid advertises as an all-you-can-eat model, there are some annual fees per release you can sign up for. These are optional niceties that you can completely ignore if you want. But, it is worth noting because they are things you can get via Record Union for free if you want.


Shazam isn’t a streaming service, but it puts your music in a database, and if someone is listening to your music somewhere, it can be identified using Shazam’s app on their phone. It is useful and is one of the places your music gets aggregated to with Record Union’s “World Domination” package. DistroKid charges ~ $0.99 per track(though it also includes iPhone’s Siri), which by itself can rival Record Union’s entire pricing.

This is a service you want if your music has popular traction, otherwise, it is just a vanity feature.

Leave a Legacy

What happens when you die? ☠️

DistroKid’s “Leave a Legacy” addresses that. It is actually a good feature. You pay a one-time $49.00 fee, and when your subscription lapses, the album stays in the respective stores forever. When you eventually die, and I think we all do, your account still makes all the royalties on that album ad infinitum. This works, too, if you simply quit paying for your account, so it is a bit of a long-term investment.

With Record Union, you sort of get this feature for free, but you also don’t earn money from the music, i.e. they keep the earnings. But, if you’re just looking to get your music out in the world, it is a less expensive option. If your music stands to make someone a lot of money, you are best off paying for DistroKid’s “Leave a Legacy.”

What they take

DistroKid takes nothing. You earn ???? percent of your commission, minus the portion taken by the store in question. With Record Union, they keep 15% of your earnings. I don’t think this is much of an issue, but if you stand to make a lot of money from streaming services(????????), getting the extra could make a big difference.


I threw this calculator together to highlight Record Union Vs Distrokid.

If you have only one or two albums, Record Union might be a better option, if cost is more important than premium features.

If you are established, DistroKid very quickly becomes the preferred selection since their price does not increase with the number of albums you have, not considering extra options.

How much will you earn?

I made a calculator based on data others have put together.

Available Digital Stores

Both services have a wide selection of digital stores, but again, DistroKid wins out.

Record Union Stores

Record Union has three tiers. The first one allows you to choose any one store. Top Dog has the standard set of stores. World Domination has a few interesting premium options, which you should strongly consider.

Build Your Own

Pick one

Choose any one music store.
Add others for $2 per year each.

Top Dog

Top six

iTunes (or I guess Apple Music now)
Google Play
YouTube Music

World Domination

The top eleven

Amazon Music
beatport pro
24-7 (not sure what this is but it might be a series of stores)

DistroKid Stores

These guys generally put music everywhere for their single, yearly fee. Plus, they distribute to TikTok, and I don’t think anyone else does. These are their standard stores:

Apple Music
Google Play and YouTube Music
MediaNet and 150+ smaller outlets

Ease of use

Both services are easy to use. In my article comparing Record Union and TuneCore, I noted that Record Union’s interface was poorly designed. It has improved a lot over the years. It still has a few goofy interface elements that do not seem like they were tested, but it is mostly a smooth experience.

DistroKid is a little rough around the edges but is pretty straightforward forward, and you shouldn’t have any problems using it. Record Union unquestionably has a nicer experience, though.

So, which one do I use?

If you want to look at Record Union Vs Distrokid, DistroKid is almost always a better choice than Record Union, or any music distribution service. With a few notable exceptions, you will almost always want to go with them to release your new music. If you are new, however, you probably should start with Record Union.

DistroKid is almost always a better choice than Record Union, or any music distribution service.

When is Record Union better?

Record Union is a better choice in a few situations:

Your band has a single release, and you want it on the big digital stores.
If you are new and are testing the waters.
You are releasing a compilation with many different artists.
Intuitive reporting is important to you.

Record Union Invite

Sign up for Record Union

Record Union logo

Signing up through my link will get you a free release for a year.

I will make residual off that, but it doesn’t dent your pay. It comes from Record Union’s cut.

When is DistroKid better?

DistroKid is better for most prolific artists:

With some exceptions, you can release as many albums as you want for one annual fee, instead of a per-album fee.
There are way more store options. WAY MORE!
A lot of neat features like HyperFollow that don’t cost any extra and are easy to use.
Distrokid Logo


If you sign up through my link, you’ll get 7% off. That isn’t huge, but it helps!


Record Union is preferred for new musicians who want to try out releasing their music, but DistroKid is better for almost anyone serious and committed.

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