Let’s face it, every company is different. Differences can range from price, services, tech, ability to deliver to certain partners, and so much more. As an independent artist, you have to take all of this into consideration. There’s a lot to consider, but we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll compare the differences between Symphonic and DistroKid services while remaining as unbiased as possible to help you decide for yourself.
Comparison: Symphonic vs DistroKid
Before we dive in…
The information provided in this article has been sourced via each company’s available online resources and presented as honestly and directly as possible. We respect any company that has the clients’ best interests in mind. We’d like to reassure our readers that the goal of this post is to simply offer some clarity for those interested in either platform for their own personal endeavors.
If any of the information or features mentioned in this article have changed or are incorrect, we welcome DistroKid and/or anyone else who has knowledge of these offerings to let us know so that this post can be as accurate as possible.
We appreciate your understanding and for taking the time to read this quick disclaimer. Now, let’s dive in.
Let’s Talk Sign Up Fees
Symphonic has two options: Starter and Partner. Symphonic Starter is $19.99 per year and gives artists 100% of royalties on unlimited tracks and releases. Symphonic Partner is an application-based service with no sign up fees, however accepted partner artists and labels share a % of royalties with Symphonic. Symphonic Partner artists and labels receive additional service offerings not available to Partner artists.
DistroKid’s base plan charges artists $19.99 per artist per year. Any featuring or collaborating artists on your tracks will cost another $19.99 per year. They also limit the amount of individual artists you can have on your account and charge $19.99 for each additional artist. Keep in mind, the maximum number of artists you could have on an account is 100 artists. (Which would cost you around $1999 a year.)
What About Additional Fees and Charges?
Plain and simple – Symphonic Starter has none.
DistroKid forces artists to upgrade to the $35.99 per year plan for enhanced features such as scheduling releases, editing, and adding additional artists. Symphonic doesn’t charge for pre-orders or require clients to upgrade or change their plan if they’d like to have pre-orders for a release. Symphonic also offers competitive pricing on distribution, along with many other services and additional support. Plus, you aren’t required to upgrade and can set custom pricing for partners that accept it.
Note: If you produce Electronic music, there are additional fees to supply material to Electronic Dance Specialty DSPs and providers with DistroKid. With Symphonic, you can deliver to Electronic Dance DSPs without any extra fees or plans. Symphonic started with EDM. It’s in our blood. As an electronic musician, it’d be additionally beneficial to work with a team that understands the genre more than your average distributor.
From our own research, we found that DistroKid requires you to upgrade your plan to set a specific release date. On the other hand, Symphonic Starter and Symphonic Partner allow you to, not only set your release date, but to also set your pre-order release date. Even more, Symphonic allows you to select which partners you want to distribute your music to at no additional cost. In addition, Symphonic’s distribution time ranges from 2-4 days while Distrokid ranges from up to 7.
DistroKid restricts albums to 35 tracks. Honestly, that’s fair in our eyes. Anything above 35 tracks is usually not a proper strategy in this business. However, we did want to state this differentiator since our system has a limit of 99 tracks. Just in case an artist is interested in that, it helps to know.
As far as we know, DistroKid doesn’t currently offer marketing services to their clients. On the other hand, Symphonic Partner offers digital marketing services and the ability to have your music pitched to DSPs.
Symphonic Starter and Symphonic Partner clients also have the opportunity to apply for representation by our in-house sync licensing division, Bodega Sync, which has placed artists in hit TV shows like Teen Wolf and Queen Of The South, commercials like Mini Cooper and Amazon Alexa, and more.
With Symphonic, we monetize content on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch, SoundCloud, Triller, and more. Platforms such as ACRCloud, Audible Magic, and Pex Attribution Engine monitor numerous platforms for iterations of catalog. Symphonic delivers to these in order to maintain the best “big data” picture of releases across the industry and gain advantage for protection of IP, and to maintain the most thorough monetization strategies available.
Both Symphonic and DistroKid utilize YouTube’s Content ID, which is a digital fingerprinting system that music creators can use to easily identify and manage and monetize their music on YouTube while easily managing copyright protection. DistroKid clients have to pay a fee alongside a percentage of royalties for Content ID. Symphonic clients share a % of royalties for Content ID with no extra fees.
Symphonic also works with SoundExchange to enable collection of Digital Performance royalties, performance royalties / neighboring rights from worldwide territories, and more. (That includes royalties from any of your music being played on SiriusXM and Pandora.) Plus, we make it as easy as selecting SoundExchange as a DSP. — The ability to collect digital performance royalties isn’t an option on DistroKid at all.
Distrokid currently doesn’t offer any Publishing Administration services. For those who’re looking for a complete in-house solution, this is an important feature to note.
Symphonic’s customer support is hard to beat. Our legendary Support team does their best to get back to inquiries in one business day while Distrokid tends to take much longer. However, Symphonic and Distrokid both offer a Help Center with hundreds of articles to answer commonly asked questions.
Both Symphonic and Distrokid have the capability to split payments to other collaborators. Distrokid’s feature is dubbed “Splits” and requires an extra charge for use, while our “SplitShare” tool allows you to automatically transfer a percentage of your royalties to a payee right from the SMS for no extra charge.
This one’s a big one. With us, you get access to TikTok and YouTube UGC analytics you can’t find anywhere else. This new feature helps artists, managers, and indie labels track measurable success on TikTok. We’re stoked to be able to offer it before anyone else. In addition, the Streams analytics feature in the SymphonicMS provides daily stream data across your entire catalog, all in one place. The feature currently includes data from Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, YouTube art tracks and Pandora.
When it comes to Distrokid, they do offer very basic stats and analytics on their platform. However, they force users to upgrade to a more expensive plan for more in-depth details.
With Symphonic’s User Roles feature, you, as the account owner, can invite team members into your Symphonic account with designated roles. These roles determine what level of access each account member has within your account. Need someone to only view and handle your Royalty accounting duties? You can do that. Want an intern to handle your release creation and inventory management? You can do that, too.
As you can see, both companies have a lot to offer. We’ve crafted Symphonic Starter and Symphonic Partner to work for different types of artists and situations. Depending on your price range and what you’re looking for as an artist, there is a lot to consider. Symphonic Starter is a great place to start as a beginner in the game. If you are someone that is generating a lot buzz, growing rapidly and looking for a team to help you grow your overall earnings, then Symphonic Partner may be a better fit.
We hope this helps!