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How to Publish a Song: A Complete Guide for Independent Artists

Published on
July 10, 2024

You've poured your heart out and created a masterpiece; now it's time for the world to hear it.

Publishing your songs on digital streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal is the perfect way to reach millions of new listeners.  It’s also a surefire way for existing fans to connect with your music. 

If you’re an independent artist with no label backing, you must handle this distribution process yourself. But don’t worry—we’ll walk you through the steps required to publish a song using distribution services and manage your artist profile across multiple platforms.

How To Publish Your Song On Spotify

With 615 million monthly active users, Spotify is the top audio streaming subscription service for many music lovers.

publish a song on spotify
Image Source: Exploding Topics

The popular music platform hosts over 100 million music tracks and reigns supreme in the streaming market.

Publishing your songs on Spotify will help nurture your fan base, reach new listeners, get you noticed by top record labels, and grow your career as an up-and-coming artist.

Currently, there is no way to upload music to Spotify directly. You need to partner with a music distribution service to post your songs to most streaming platforms and online music stores. There are many options to consider regarding distro services, but TuneCore and DistroKid are two solid choices!

Now, let’s look at how to get your songs on Spotify using these music distribution companies.

Using TuneCore

  • First, sign up for a TuneCore account to get your music on Spotify.

  • Choose the type of music release you want to do on Spotify, whether a single track or an album.
how to publish a song

  • Next, upload your music track and the cover art to TuneCore.

  • If you have music contributors like producers or song writers, list them so they get credited when your song is published.

  • After your song is approved by the TuneCore team, it’ll be published on Spotify.

Using DistroKid

DistroKid makes it easy to upload your music and get paid from Spotify.

Plus, they are one of Spotify's preferred distribution partners!

Here’s the steps to follow:

  • Sign up for a DistroKid account.

  • Depending on your needs, choose a preferred DistroKid subscription plan. The platform offers several subscription tiers with different cool features and pricing for artists or labels.
publish a song distrokid
  • Go to the upload form to upload your music. Ensure that Spotify is selected from the list of partners on the form.

  • Submit your music release. After approval, your music will be published on Spotify.

Claiming Your Spotify Artists Profile

After your music is live, you should verify and claim your Spotify artist profile.

Claiming your Spotify profile lets you edit it, add clean images, feature a playlist, add a fan support link, and access more unique features.

  • Choose the Artist or Manager option. This will redirect you to paste your artist page link.
  • Paste the link to your Spotify page and your artist profile should appear.

  • Choose your artist profile and fill out the required information.

  • You also need to verify with your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or one of Spotify distribution partners to confirm your identity. 

  • After completing the steps, Spotify will review your submission and approve your request in a few days.

Voila! Once you’re verified, you’ll get the blue checkmark and have total control over your Spotify profile!

How To Publish Your Song On Apple Music

Apple Music has steadily grown into a major competitor to Spotify. Over 90 million subscribers worldwide use the streaming platform to discover, stream and download songs. 

To publish music on Apple Music as an independent artist, you’ll need a partner with an Apple-preferred music distributor since the streaming platform also doesn’t support uploading directly.

These music distributors help you get your music, lyrics, and data on their platform so listeners can find you.

Using TuneCore

You can easily get your music on Apple Music through the TuneCore distribution platform. It’s pretty much the same process as Spotify.

  • Go to the TuneCore website and sign up for an account.

  • Choose the type of music release you want to do, whether single or album.
tunecore publish on apple music
  • Upload your music track and cover art to the platform.

  • List your music contributors so they get credits after the song is published.

  • Once your music release is approved by TuneCore, it will be on Apple Music instantly.

Using DistroKid

Uploading your music to Apple Music through DistroKid is super easy.

All you need to do is follow the steps below.

  • Sign up for a DistroKid account.

  • Choose a preferred DistroKid subscription plan depending on your needs. They offer several subscription plans with different features and pricing for artists or labels.
publish a song apple distrokid
  • Use the upload form to upload your music, lyrics, artwork, and metadata. Ensure that Apple Music is selected from the list of partners.

  • Once your submission is approved, DistroKid will publish your music on Apple Music and other platforms required.

That's it - it’s really straightforward!

Claiming Your Apple Music for Artists Page

Once you’ve waited five days and have at least one live release on Apple Music, it’s time to claim your Apple Music for Artists page.

Claiming your artist profile on Apple Music will allow you customize your profile, monitor analytics, manage your page and use other unique features.

Using Apple Music Web

  • Click Request Artist Access.
apple music web
  • Find your artist page by pasting it’s link to the Find an Artist field. You can also search with your artist or album name to bring up your content.

  • To be sure you’re claiming the right artist page, choose one of your music releases that you’re listed as the primary artist. This step won’t work if you choose a song where you’re a featured artist.

  • Choose your role, whether Artist, Manager, or Label Rep. Then, fill out the requested application fields and hit Submit.

Using Apple Music iOS App

  • First, you need to sign in to the Apple Music for Artists app with your Apple ID.

  • Click the Request Artist Access and find your artist profile by passing your artist help kr iTunes URL. 

  • Or you can find your artist page by searching with your artist or album name. This will bring up your releases, and you can copy a link to your page.

  • Paste the link of your artist page in the Find an Artist field.

  • To be sure you’re claiming the right artist page, select one of your music releases that you’re listed as the primary artist to successfully claim your artist page. This step won’t work if you are a featured artist on the song.

  • Then, choose your role out of Artist, Manager, or Label Rep. Fill out the requested application fields and hit Submit.

Your request will be reviewed and approved within a few days. To speed up the verification process, you can sign in and connect your music distributor accounts or social media.

How To Upload Music to Other Streaming Platforms

To upload your song to other digital streaming platforms (Tidal, Amazon Music, etc.), you need to use a distribution service. It’s pretty much the same process as Spotify and Apple Music.

Here are the steps involved in uploading your music to all digital streaming services:

Pick a Distributor Service: TuneCore and DistroKid are popular distro services that can get your music on as many DSPs as you want. Compare their offerings and sign up for any that fits your needs.

Choose Release Type: After signing up for a distribution service, choose the music release type. This could be a single (one song) or an album (multiple songs).

Add Release Information: Enter all the required information about our release, including the artist's name, release date, song collaborators, etc.

Upload Music: Now, upload a high-quality audio file of your song. After uploading the song, add cover artwork and all relevant song details, including the song title, metadata, producers/songwriters, etc.

Choose Streaming Platforms: You must choose the streaming platforms to publish your music. Most distribution services publish to hundreds of music stores worldwide, saving you time.

Submit Release: Double-check to ensure all your release information and metadata are accurate before submitting your release. Once you’re good to go, hit the submit button to publish your music on the selected digital streaming platform.

Before Releasing Your Music

As an independent artist, the first thing you should consider before releasing your music to the world is if it’s good enough.

Ensure you release quality music that your audience will love and enjoy. Not every song has to be available for public consumption.

Record in a clear studio environment. If you need original beats in different tempos and moods, you can try our AI music generator for your next hit. With SOUNDRAW, it's easy to create studio quality music to rap or sing over.

Make sure your music is properly mixed and mastered for digital streaming platforms. Use a DAW to edit yourself, or contact a professional sound engineer to get a polished touch on your sound.

In addition, you should upload only high-quality audio files locally from your computer. WAV (Waveform Audio File) retains all original data and is the most recommended format. So try not to use MP3. 

Finally, before you start the process, ensure your artist information, music release details, metadata, and media files are all ready.