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Transferring Your Catalog to a New Distributor

Updated: Jul 13

On That Note, a music industry blog powered by Cage Riot - how to change your distributor

Transferring your catalog to a new distributor is simple—it's the same as setting up a new release. However, you need to gather some important data first.

To ensure a smooth process and avoid losing your stream counts, related artists, or playlists when redistributing a previously released song or album, you must ensure that certain key points are met.

  1. The song titles, artist names, and artwork need to be identical

  2. Audio files need to be identical. Track length and format need to be identical.

  3. Release type needs to be identical (album, EP, single)

  4. You must use the original ISRC. We prefer the original UPC numbers however the original UPC is unnecessary.

  5. You must use the original release date.

  6. You want to remove the previous release only after the new one is live on the DSPs (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.). You will have a duplicate release up for a couple of days—that’s okay. It will say “1 More Release” on Spotify.

The easiest way is to log into your previous distribution account. Open up each release to gather this information.

  • Album titles

  • Song titles

  • Primary artist

  • Featured Artist

  • Composer(s)

  • Producer(s)

  • Year of release

  • ISRC

  • UPC

  • Audio File

  • Cover Art

Double-check your ISRC codes and metadata

You must submit identical metadata and ISRC codes to make a smooth transition.

Streaming services use your unique ISRC codes to identify your tracks and pay out streaming royalties, so getting them right is important. The ISRC is the most important. Inter your song is recognized by its ISRC and not the title, knally,ind of like your social security number. It holds all the pertinent details.

Upload the exact same audio files.

Now that the data is formatted and ready, it's time for the main event - your audio.

Unfortunately, you can't upload a new version of your song and have it transition properly. If you want to update your audio file, you must wait until after the transfer.

To switch distributors, you must upload the exact same audio file from your original release. So, grab that original master file and upload your original track.

Set the release live, and don’t panic.

All right, you diligently exported your data, codes, and other information.

Then, you fill out your information and upload music to your new distribution service.

Great work! The hard part is done.

Select to distribute the release, click on it as soon as possible, and wait for it to hit the digital stores.

But don’t cancel your plan or issue a takedown notice right away.

Things might look weird for a second since you’ll need to wait for your tracks to hit the streaming platforms—for a time, you’ll have the same release live as two different releases. Don’t worry; this is normal.

Now that your release is live on the new distribution platform, it will be “merged” on the streaming platform and show as one release as it originally was.

Once the release is merged, you can issue a takedown notice and cancel your plan with your old distributor. Do not delete your account; you will still earn royalties from them for about 3-6 months. There will be an overlap in your earnings from your present and previous distributors.

You just completed transferring your catalog to a new distributor.

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music industry blog, cage riot, music distribution, how to distribute music, cage riot publishing, a2im, music biz, Yvonne Claro


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