Arizona Zervas’ debut single “Roxanne” is four-times platinum in America and has more than a billion streams worldwide — but he started out as an unsigned artist self-releasing via DistroKid. That was 2019, when the DIY trend and the might of independent, non-label distributors became acutely clear to the music industry.
Now, DistroKid ingests and processes 35,000 new songs every day, which is “significantly more than any other distributor,” the company announced on Friday. (To put that in perspective: Spotify gets about 60,000 new tracks a day in total, both from labels and independent distributors. DistroKid falls into the latter category.) Launched in 2013, DistroKid estimates that it today distributes 30 to 40 percent of all new music across the globe at this point, and the company’s catalog has grown to more than 20 million tracks.
These stats came nestled inside a Friday press release about the company’s updated royalty distribution service, Splits, which is one of the offerings that has helped DistroKid stand out, as the popularity of music-streaming platforms reached new heights.
Splits was launched in 2017 to give artists a transparent, online portal that makes splitting up a song’s percentages of royalties more hassle-free. The idea: Whether you created a beat, produced the majority of a track, wrote the lyrics, sang one part, or brought the weed that inspired the creative direction, what you’re owed is clear — and the payments are automatically dispensed and logged. (It may seem utterly bonkers that such a concept could feel revelatory in the digital age, but consider that much of the music industry’s transactions still take place in the dark ages, run on convolutions and a handshake business.) Splits 2.0, which arrives Friday, aims to make the process even more adjustable. A new function called Recoupments lets the artist designate who needs to get paid first. If your buddy leant you money to record in a professional studio, for example, you can make sure said pal is reimbursed before the royalties start rolling out.
“Artists love DistroKid’s Splits feature, and have been asking if we could add a tool that enables them to reimburse a collaborator who fronted money for a video or studio time, or provided some other service on an individual track,” DistroKid founder Philip Kaplan said in the release. “We’re excited to roll out Recoupments, which give artists even more control over how their earnings are distributed.”