Music distribution can be confusing sometimes, we get it. Here are a handful of our most frequently asked questions. Of course, if you don't see an answer to your question feel free to contact us.
Digital distribution is the method by which your music is distributed to various digital music stores and platforms like iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, etc. These stores then sell digital downloads or stream your content to their customers. Where a traditional distributor would ship out your physical album to stores, we distribute digital copies of your music and handle all accounting of these sales via an artist's or label's dashboard at Catapult.
Major digital music stores require artists and labels to use an approved digital distributor such as Catapult to make the artist's music content available in their stores.
Pricing depends on the type of content you are submitting: a full album, a single, or a ringtone. Full pricing information can be found here.
Currently, we offer digital distribution to all of the major music stores including:
Catapult is always in negotiations to provide distribution into other online music stores and platforms to maximize our artist's and label's sales.
In order for us to distribute a cover song (ie: A song you didn't write) you must purchase a license from the owner or administrator of the song in order to use it on your album.
Once you have uploaded your album's assets (ie: Audio Files and Cover Art), it normally takes 1-2 business days for us to encode the audio, process the cover art, and digitally distribute all of the album's metadata to the music stores around the world. From there, each music store's time frame is different*.
*Please note that it is not possible for Catapult (or any other distributor) to guarantee that an album will go live on the street date that a user sets during the album submission process. The times listed above are average times it takes the major music stores to make content available in their platforms. Sometimes it can be sooner and sometimes it can be longer depending on each music store's unique ingestion queues and processes. Therefore, we strongly recommend that users submit their content several weeks in advance (ie: Just like the major labels do) to ensure their content goes live on the street date that is desired.
No Way! By utilizing our distribution service, you allow us to digitally distribute your music until you terminate the agreement. We do not take ownership of the music, but only help facilitate the process of spreading your music digitally.
Yes. You may digitally distribute any of your music even if you have never had a CD printed. You will simply submit an album via your Dashboard at Catapult and then upload the audio files and cover art.
Yes. UPCs (or Barcode numbers) are required by every major music store. It is the universal method by which various companies and organizations are able to uniquely identify a product. If you do not currently have a UPC for your album, we can provide you with one for only $20 during the album submission process.
We regret that the nature of our business as well as our incredibly discounted payment rates do not allow for us to field a call center for questions pertaining to our digital distribution service. All questions must be submitted via the "Contact Customer Service" links located on our homepage or from within your Dashboard at Catapult. Once an inquiry is received, a representative from Catapult will e-mail you back.
We offer the following additional services that can be purchased during the album submission process:
Yes. Once your album has been distributed, you'll have access to HTML code for pasting the iTunes Media Player on your own website(s). Example:
Your album and single will remain distributed in the music stores until you choose to terminate the distribution for your item from within your Dashboard at Catapult.
If you are a label or an artist with more than 10 titles in your catalog, please contact Customer Service regarding our volume discounts.
Unfortunately, there is not a way to simply "transfer" your content over to Catapult if it is already in the music stores by another distributor.
You would have to terminate your agreement with your other distributor, at which time (depending on your agreement with them) they would then issue take down notices for your content. You could then create an account at Catapult and submit the content via your Dashboard at Catapult and we would deliver the content again to the music stores.
We disperse payments to our Artists and Labels once a month. Each music store is different and they all have their own payment intervals (monthly, quarterly, etc), however, once we have received payment from a music store, we will then pay you at the end of the next month for the previous month's sales.
We pay all of our artists by way of PayPal, the global leader in online payments. It is free to sign up for and regardless of which account type you create (personal, premium, or business) it will cost you nothing to receive money from us as we cover all transaction fees. Once the money is transfered to your PayPal account, you then have the option of depositing it into your bank account electronically for free, or for a small fee PayPal will mail you a check. To learn more about setting up a PayPal account, please visit paypal.com
Yes. You can log into your Dashboard and view detailed reports of your sales figures for the previous months.
When you subscribe to our Daily Trend Reports and Metrics Service, you'll have the ability to see reports of your sales faster than ever from iTunes, Apple Music, AmazonMP3, Deezer, Google Play and Spotify. The music stores delay their normal sales reports by around 2 months (These are the reports that you always receive free of charge once a month for previous months sales).
However with our Trend Reports and Metrics Service you don't have to wait months to view reports of your sales, you can view sales of your albums and tracks from as recent as the day before along with graphs and maps!
You can upload .wav or mp3 files (.wav files are recommended for posterity since they are not compressed and offer the highest quality possible to encode into the various formats for each music store).
WAV audio files must conform to the following industry standards:
Unfortunately, No. We used to offer this service but since only a small portion (ie: less than 1%) of our clients used this service we have discontinued it. You must upload your audio files and cover art via your Dashboard at Catapult.
Yes, you can submit a single (ie: An album containing only one track).
Please note that since "singles" are still albums, they still require their own UPC (Which we can provide during the album submission process) as well as unique industry standard cover art.
Yes, you can submit a Ringtone.
Please note that Ringtones also require their own UPC (Which we can provide during the ringtone submission process) as well as unique industry standard cover art.
Only one ringtone can be submitted at a time. If you have multiple ringtones that you wish to have distributed, you must submit each one invidually and each requires its own UPC.
Unlike Albums and Singles, Ringtones are only distributed into the iTunes Music Store (As most all other music stores do not offer Ringtones to their customers).
The cost to submit a Ringtone is $9.
Ringtones are sold in iTunes for $1.29 (Foreign iTunes Stores may vary depending on the territory).
*Please note that currently iTunes does not support the sale of Ringtones in Germany or Ireland.
If you wish to have an Audio Book distributed, you should contact Audible.com as they are the sole distributor of Audio Books for iTunes and other music stores.
Yes. During the album submission process, you will have an opportunity to submit your ISRC codes for each of your album's tracks. If you do not have ISRC codes for your tracks, our system will automatically generate them for free during processing.
Yes. During the album submission process, you will have an opportunity to set the street date for your album or single. Please note however, that while many of the major music stores (ie: iTunes, AmazonMP3, Google Play, Spotify etc.) are very quick in ingesting albums (Normally only a few days), many of the other music stores can take several weeks, so even though you may choose a street date, it's entirely possible that the album will not appear in some of the stores until they complete their own processing and ingestion.
If you are choosing a street date in the future (Rather than just having the album or single go live as soon as possible), we suggest setting the street date at least 14 days out to give time for most of the music stores to ingest the album.
You can also select street dates for each specific store if you want your content to go live in only some stores first and then at a later date go live in the other stores.
The music stores have placed extreme restrictions on the Classical Genre (ie: Traditional composer based music) and therefore we DO NOT support the distribution of this genre.
Unfortunately, you cannot offer a track for free in the music stores.
The music stores do not allow tracks to be made available for free in their stores (or they would not make any money).
*Sometimes music stores do offer tracks for free in their stores as promotions, but this decision is solely determined by each music store's editorial departments and is normally reserved for high profile / top billboard artists.
The music stores have placed extreme restrictions on Karaoke albums and tracks, therefore we DO NOT support the distribution of this type of content.
When we deliver albums and singles to iTunes, most content goes live in their store within only a few hours (or on its street date that you choose). However, a small percentage of content is randomly selected by iTunes staff to be reviewed manually by them for quality control. This manual review is to ensure that your content conforms to their guidelines and does not violate any of their standards.
Unfortunately, when content is flagged by iTunes for review, it will take additional time for your content to go live in their store since an actual human will be reviewing your content and its metadata. The time frame for their review averages around 1-10 days.
Once iTunes completes their review process, your content will go live in their store.
*Catapult has no control over the timing and speed of this review process.
Finding content in iHeartRadio can sometimes be frustrating because due to the way they manage and provide their data in their search results it's possible that an artist may not be able to be found even if that artist's content is in their database. The reason being is that the way iHeartRadio works is by using similar artist data that is provided to them by 3rd parties like AMG (All Media Guide). If iHeartRadio doesn't have enough similar artist data, a station will not be able to be created and the customer will not see that artist in the search.
iHeartRadio uses a few 3rd party data companies including the Echo Nest, Rovi, AMG, etc. in order to try and come up with around 40 artists with similar music styles. Those artists are whose tracks are going to play inside the station. So there is a possibility that lower level artists will not have the ability to have a station created at first, but their tracks DO have the possibility to end up in another artist's station.
iHeartRadio is not an on-demand service (Though sometimes it feels like they are when you search for a specific artist), so customers won't be able to search for an artist and then play any song they want. Customers will only be able to create a radio station that plays seed artist tracks and other similar artists to them. However, iHeartRadio continually sends those artists without a station through the 3rd party companies services to try and have one created. This can normally take some time and is totally dependent on those 3rd parties.
Yes. Customers will be able to purchase individual tracks on your album without having to purchase the whole album. However, in cases where a track exceeds 10 minutes in length, some stores will flag the track as an "Album Only" purchase which would require the customer to purchase the entire album in order to download that specific track.
We are not able to flag tracks on an album as "Album Only" purchases.
Yes. However, the only music store that currently supports this is iTunes.
During the album submission process, you can select the Pre Order option. Once the album has been delivered to iTunes and has passed iTunes Quality Control it will be made available as a Pre Order in their store.
Pre Order Requirements:
Please note that by offering your album as a pre order in iTunes, customers will be able to listen to Previews of the audio before its street date. If you don't want customers to be able to listen to the Previews of the album before its street date, do not select the Pre Order option. Any Pre Orders that take place will be reported as being sold on the album's street date in the monthly reports.
Yes, you can modify the wholesale price in iTunes* once every 3 months via your Dashboard at Catapult.
You have the option of selecting the Wholesale Price** tier for either the Album as a whole or for each individual track on the Album. The Wholesale Price is the price that iTunes will pay when your content sells in their store and the Retail Price is the price that the customer pays iTunes when they purchase your content. The Retail Price is solely determined by iTunes, however we display an estimated Retail Price alongside the Wholesale Price to give you an idea of what iTunes will most likely sell your content for in their store based off of the Wholesale Price tier you select.
You can also set a Start Date for the price modification to take effect as well as an End Date. Album level prices will take effect on the Start Date that you provide and will revert back to the previous Album price tier on the End Date that you provide. It's very important to note that the Start Date and End Date only apply to price modifications at the Album level and will not effect the Track price in any way. Track prices take effect as soon as possible and have no bearing on the Start Date or End Date.
*Currently, iTunes is the only store you can modify your price in. The option to modify your content's pricing in AmazonMP3 and Google Play are coming soon. The other music stores use default pricing based on the number of tracks and cannot be modified.
In order to protect our relationships with the major music stores some content is restricted and will not be distributed by Catapult such as:
Catapult has sole discretion on deciding whether content falls into the categories of restricted content listed above.
With this service, Catapult can collect revenue from videos that are played in YouTube when those videos contain your sound recordings.
Catapult will deliver your songs into YouTube's service which allows them to then scan the audio files and make a "fingerprint" of the audio files. YouTube then searches their entire video library of billions of user uploaded videos and finds every video that exists that is using your songs. When YouTube finds a match, they then begin "monetizing" the views by displaying advertisements from their partners. YouTube will then send reports and payment to Catapult which we then report and pay to you.
There are certain requirements for Sound Recordings in order for Catapult to submit them to Youtube.
Eligible Sound Recordings include:
Ineligible Sound Recordings include:
Due to the complexity and ever changing nature of the way that ad revenue is generated in YouTube's platform, it is not possible to provide an exact amount.
When YouTube places advertisements on videos in their platform, those advertisements are paid for by companies that paid YouTube a bid price to compete with other companies that also want to advertise their products/services on those same videos. The highest bidder (ie: The company willing to pay the most for those ads depending a number of factors) will have their ads shown and the price they paid at the time they won the bid price will be the ad revenue by which YouTube calculates their payout.
Alternatively, users that are subscribed to YouTube Red will not see ads when they view videos in YouTube because they are paying a monthly subscription. When views occur from YouTube Red subscribers, the revenue earned is determined by the total subscription revenue pool and a pro rata share of that subscription revenue based on the number of a views that a video receives.
Yes. When you "whitelist" your channel, it prevents Catapult from monetizing any sound recordings on that channel (The assumption is that you are monetizing your channel on your own).
Yes. Catapult will still be able to monetize videos in YouTube that are not a part of your own YouTube channel.
It normally takes about a week for videos to start monetizing on YouTube.
When a video is played in YouTube, various types of advertisements are used alongside that video. Different companies pay YouTube to market their products and services and thus their advertisements appear on videos throughout YouTube's library. When a user views a video in YouTube with an advertisement (or clicks on an ad), this is where the revenue is coming from.
YouTube will only monetize videos that have advertisements placed on them. Any views of a video that took place prior to ads being placed on them will not be monetized.
Yes! As soon as we receive a video report from YouTube, you'll be able to see all the videos in YouTube that have been matched so far to your content. YouTube releases video reports weekly.
It depends. YouTube cares about the viewer's experience which can be effected by their territory, device and the various ad formats available for a video. To ensure that each unique viewer on YouTube has the best experience, YouTube will not always place advertisements on videos.
*As of April 2017, YouTube will not monetize channels that have less than 10k lifetime views.
Yes, we can monetize videos that use your own songs from your own YouTube channel. Just like other users on YouTube that might be using your songs, you will receive a copyright notice from YouTube once they find a match on your songs(s) on your own channel's videos that will state that Catapult is claiming the sound recording and is monetizing the video. You do not need to do anything further when you receive this notice.
You can also opt out of us monetizing your own YouTube channel by "whitelisting" your channel if you prefer.
YouTube Music is not the same thing as our YouTube Sound Recording Collection Service.
For clarification purposes, it's important to define the difference:
YouTube Music (Formerly YouTube Red): This is YouTube's streaming music platform that competes with other streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, etc. When we deliver our artist's and label's albums to this platform, YouTube creates what are known as "Art Tracks" for each of the songs on the album. An Art Track is simply a video on YouTube that plays the song and displays the album's cover art, title and artist name. When a user watches/plays one of your Art Tracks, they are served an advertisement during the video which allows the view to be monetized. Alternatively, paid subscribers to YouTube Music will not see any ads for Art Tracks in YouTube and money is earned based on the industry standard pro-rata share of subscription revenue.
YouTube Sound Recording Collection Service: This is our service that scans YouTube's entire library of user uploaded videos and searches for any videos in their platform that are using your songs. This unique service allows Catapult to monetize user uploaded videos by ads being displayed during the video.