How Music Distribution Works: Everything An Independent Artist Needs To Know

We all know the role music distribution plays within the industry, it’s the modern method for getting your music onto digital platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. But how exactly does the process work and what should independent artists know before entering the world of music distribution?

As an independent musician, once you’ve written and recorded your music the next step in the process is to work out how to connect with new and existing audiences to share your tracks. As modern technology has advanced and much of the worlds services have shifted online, the music industry has evolved and digital music consumption is now the most popular and common method for listening to music and discovering new artists.

Here at Horus Music, we not only deliver your music from A to B, but we pride ourselves on our transparent, reliable, professional solutions and support for all your distribution needs. Once you’re ready to start getting your music online, the first step is to sign up with your distributor ready to upload your releases.

We’ve put together some simple steps which highlight the music distribution process for independent artists.

1. Select your music distributor and sign up to their platform. Horus Music is free to sign up to and you will not be charged until the point you are ready to submit your music to our team.

2. Set your profile up with the artist name you would like to distribute under. Don’t forget to select your preferred method to receive royalties! We offer both PayPal and Western Union for royalty payments.

3. Uploading your metadata. On our platform, you will be asked to provide specific information about your release including artwork, release title, release date and copyright holders. Make sure the metadata you submit is as accurate as possible and if you have any queries, you can contact our distribution tea via email at or give us a call and we’ll gladly guide you through the process.

4. Don’t forget to upload your audio files! We require you to upload WAV files and each individual track will need some extra details adding including the track title and performers.

5. Once you’ve uploaded your audio, check through your metadata and submit to our team for processing.

6. Once you have submitted your release for processing, our team will review the information you have submitted. We listen to every single release and quality control check all elements of your release right through to the audio file. If there are any issues, we will bounce the release back to you with information on how to correct the issue. All unsubmissions will be sent to the email address you have registered on our system. So remember to keep an eye on your emails in case any changes need to be made.

7. If you have received an unsubmission, make sure to action the necessary changes. You will then be required to submit to our team again for another quality control check.

8. Once the team are happy the information submitted meets online store requirements, we will deliver to platforms and on the artist side, you will next see your release live on stores on your chosen release date.

The process for artists really is as simple as that, but for those who are wanting a deeper insight on the inner workings, we’ve outlined how this works from a technical standpoint.

Once our team have quality control checked your releases and they meet online store guidelines, we will deliver through what we call a direct feed our IT development team have set up with our partners such as Spotify, and Apple Music to automatically deliver the information submitted to us to digital platforms.

Stores receive millions of submissions every day from distributors and require some time to properly ingest the information received. This is why we always recommend leaving two weeks from the date of upload to our team, to your desired release date. Not only does this leave you enough time to make any corrections to unsubmitted metadata, but it also means stores have enough time to ingest the information received and display live with the correct metadata.

If you’ve ever distributed a release with a 24-hour turnaround, you may find your distributor has processed the release, but it is not yet live and this is due to the volume of releases being received by stores and how fast they can process the information and display live. During busier periods such as the festive season, stores will also issue delivery deadlines and timelines to meet the increasing demand of music being submitted.

Sometimes you may notice errors on stores such as your release appearing on a different artist profile, therefore it’s essential for you to ensure all the information you have uploaded is as accurate as possible to avoid issues on stores.

Horus Music offer music distribution solutions for artists and labels of all genres and calibres, starting from just £20 a year. If you’re interested in how the process works and are looking for a distributor to get started with, get in touch with our team today at to start your journey.