Selling music online: Frequently Asked Questions

Are you looking for the best way of selling music online? You’re at the right place.

Selling music online

Over the past years, Digital Distribution Netherlands (DDN) has grown to become a leading provider of services tailored specifically for the needs of an independent artist, band, or record company. We have become the music industries “Go To” company for everything from worldwide distribution, pre-release promo campaign tools, royalty management, and much more. Our expertise in both the music industry and IT sector has allowed us to design and deliver many technological innovations that have revolutionised the way independent record companies run their businesses.

Below we accumulated questions from our clients from over the years.

Frequently Asked Questions

selling music online digital distribution netherlands

Selling music online: do’s and don’ts. 


Are there any fees I need to pay to get setup with DDN?
To sign up with DDN there are NO setup fees at all. We will provide you with free help and advice and do not expect any payment for this until your music is selling in the stores. We only take the agreed commission rate from your sales as and when they happen.

Are there any other costs I will need to pay?
There are no additional or hidden costs that you will need to pay. We only take the agreed commission rate from your sales as set out in your DDN Distribution agreement.

What Stores & Services will my music be available for sale on?
A complete list of the stores and services that DDN is connected with can be found on our stores page at the link below. However, this does not mean that your music will be available on every store & service in the list. Many niche stores specialize in specific genres or have vetting policies so your music may not be suitable for them. DDN will endeavour to get your music on as many platforms as possible and we will provide help and advice to ensure that your label meets specific stores requirements. We are adding new stores and services every month to our network. If you feel we are missing any stores or services than please don’t hesitate to get in touch. DDN Connected Stores List

Will my releases be listed under my own label on the stores?

This depends on the deal you wear with us. As a record label, you can request this option. Name this explicitly in your application. We will do our best to tag your label as a new, approved label. Many stores, however, have the requirement that a label needs at least 10,000 associated releases to the record label. The chance that your application is approved by the stores, is therefore very small. In general, your releases are grouped under Digital Distribution Netherlands, especially as an artist without a label. However, this is not always visible (as in iTunes and Spotify) and, perhaps more importantly, your own copyright and publishers notice (P / C line) are visible. © YourLabel will show under every release, as oppose to our label name.

How long does it take to get my music available on the stores?
DDN recommends that you give several weeks lead time when submitting your Albums & Singles for distribution and start selling music online. This gives ample time for our team to request features and banners at relevant stores. It is possible for DDN to get your music online within 48 hours but not all services can ingest your music in this time frame. So in short – DDN recommends 5 weeks with the minimum being 2 weeks notice. At a push we can work with as little notice as 48 hours but it is not recommended. Note – Your first release through DDN may take longer due to the time in which it takes stores and services to review your label and add a profile to their store. It is always recommended 5 weeks for your very first release.

How quickly can I get a release to appear on stores?
DDN checks all releases that come through our system for errors and omissions. This happens daily (Mon-Fri). Once your release has been approved for distribution deliveries to stores will start immediately and are usually complete within 24 hours.

Is my contract with DDN exclusive?
DDN builds bespoke deals for each of our clients. These can be both exclusive and non-exclusive. Speak to one of our Account Managers to discuss your specific requirements and we will build a deal that suits your exact requirements.

If I work with DDN do I still own my music?
You always own your music. Your rights and the ownership of your copyright is not affected. Your contract with DDN will just give us permission to distribute and sell your music on your behalf, for the duration of the contract.

What do you need from me when issuing a release?
After you signed up, you’re free to send in as many releases as you want. What we need per release, is a .wav file in your best quality, a .jpg-cover (min. 1400×1400) and all information you can think of about the writers, composers, and editors. Also, think of a release date you’d like to set. We will always email you when we need more information/data for a release.

Do I need to have my own ISRC and EAN / UPC numbers?
DDN will issue both ISRC and EAN / UPC barcode numbers to all of your Albums, Singles and Tracks if you do not have your own. We do this FREE of charge to you. We do however recommend that all record companies signup for a free ISRC prefix and generate your own ISRC codes.

What payment methods do you have for sending royalties to labels?
DDN can pay your royalties via PayPal or International Bank Transfer after selling music online. You choose which payment method you would like us to use when you request payment for your royalties. PayPal is by far the quickest and easiest way for us to send you money but this is not available in every country. You can view a list of countries PayPal is available in here – PayPal Country List. For international customers that can’t accept PayPal payments we can send IBAN transfers. These incur a charge of €2.00 which will be deducted from your royalties. Check with your bank because they may also charge you to receive money from overseas.

Will my releases be taken offline if I transfer my distribution to DDN?
Many dance specific stores allow us to ‘takeover’ your catalogue with them. This avoids downtime and keeps your music available. Some stores prefer that we resend all of your content because they know the quality of data we send will be much better. Other stores including most commercial outlets like iTunes and Spotify require a complete redelivery. In short – Yes your music will be taken offline at some stores for a select period but DDN will make this as painless as possible.

What do I need to do to transfer my distribution to DDN?
Most importantly you must check with your previous distributor (if you have one) that transferring to another partner is permitted. If your contract with them has expired, it will not be an issue. Some distributors will let you move early even if you are still in contract so it’s always worth asking.If you are planning on moving to DDN then we recommend getting setup with us prior to your move date. We can then ensure that everything is setup and ready to go before we can go live with distribution.To action the move is very straight forward. You just need to sign up with DDN and we will handle the rest.

Are there any charges to deliver my Albums and Singles to stores?
If DDN is distributing your music we feel our commission is ample payment so we do not take any fees to deliver your content to stores and other services.

Are there any charges to takedown my releases at stores?
DDN does not charge you to takedown your music from stores. You simply email us and we will manage the takedown for you.


How can I license my music?
Brands, advertising agencies, film productions, TV channels, game developers and others are always searching for the perfect music compositions for their projects. In most cases, these usages of your music require a special license with all rights holders of the music. The fees for these licenses can range from a few hundred to thousands of Dollars/Euros/Pounds. This depends on the type of media, the country, the duration of the music within the film or commercial or the importance of the music for the project.
DDN does not set a price for licenses as we believe in the concept of a marketplace. Naturally, the better the project/budget, the more people are sending music. On the other hand, the more specific a briefing, the less people actually have something that fits. Some projects pay less but are cool projects that have promotional benefits for you; others are not making your heart beat faster but pay a lot of money. We believe the decision is yours as to what works for you and what doesn’t.

The process is quite simple: Companies/people who need music post their request on our portal. The briefing they’ll provide will tell you exactly what they are looking for. The deadline is the time by which they need it. The payout will let you know how much they can pay for the license to all rights holders. If the requesting user wants to work with your track, we will contact you and arrange the details, including paperwork, payment and possibly additional editing of your track.

Who is listening to my music?
The typical request has anonymous submissions, which means only the agency that has set up the request can listen to submissions. All submissions are made available to the person who has started the request. Within the agency or production company it is usually forwarded to the person that has the final decision over the music.

How can I submit my music to requests?
Send your DDN-representative an email with the sound files and metadata. If you do not have a representative yet, please contact us. You have not entered a license by simply uploading; it will require an agreement once your track has been selected. Most requests are for signed users only. We do this to make sure we only have serious and professional artists, producers, labels and publishers submitting music to the requests.

Can I submit more than one entry?
Yes, but within reason. Try to limit your submissions to a maximum of three submissions per request. If you have more music you think is great for licensing, put them on your profile page. If someone likes the direction of your submissions he/she will check out the rest.

How do I know when the request is over?
A request is over when the deadline has passed and a track has been chosen. If your track has been chosen, you will be alerted via message. Generally, requests have three statuses in our system: running (green), pending (yellow), closed (red). As long as the request you submitted to is pending, the decision has not yet been made. If the request turns to red, the decision has been made, and if you haven’t received a message by then, the person requesting decided on another track.

Can I get feedback on my music?
Feedback is not very common, unless the client wants to license the track or sometimes when it is shortlisted.

I share the rights with a label/ publisher. Can I submit to this request?
Yes. It is best to make sure beforehand that the other rights holders are OK with the deal. At the latest when your Track has been chosen. You would then need to inform your label, publisher and any other party who has rights to your music and everyone has to sign the licensing agreement with the licensee. You should be able to take care of this very quickly.

The briefing is very specific, should I submit even though I am not quite sure my Track is spot–on?
Briefings can be quite subjective and require some common sense. If someone asks for Brooklyn–style indie rock and you think you sound more like London, chances are it is close enough. But if your Track is a hip–hop track, you don’t match the briefing. However, be honest with yourself and ask if your music is really what they might be after. Do not randomly submit your music just because you’ll know someone will listen.

Will I know the exact project before I license my music? What happens if I change my mind?

Yes. Once you are chosen you will be revealed the brand name, exact usage, length of usage etc. Briefings are usually specific enough that you can get a very good idea what it is for and they should include enough information so you can make the decision before you submit. However, in the unlikely case that you might feel like there has been something left out and that this changes everything for you, no one can force you to license your music.

What is DDN’s provision?

We take a fee from the licensee for various services, including clearance, administration, creative consulting etc. This fee ranges between 14%-25% of the direct licensing budget. We do not take a percentage from backend royalties (PRO), i.e. for broadcasting, streaming or public performance.

Revenue collection

(indirectly selling music online)

Where Does The Money Come From?
Advertising. Advertisers pay YouTube for ads on videos. YouTube takes a percentage of this ad money and pays out the rest. When YouTube gets paid, so do you.

Does DDN Get Me Paid From Views On My Own Videos On Youtube?
No, that’s up to you. The YouTube Partner Program is easily accessible from your profile, though. Our service generates money from the usage of your music in videos by other user profiles, which are not managed by you. 

Does DDN Take Any Of My Money From Views Of My Own Videos On Youtube?
No. Not a single penny. You get 100% of the revenue generated from your own videos on YouTube if you’re connected to the YouTube Partner Program.

Why Should I Use DDN To Make Money On Youtube?
It’s easier and faster to sign up with DDN to make money on YouTube than via any other entity. You’ll make more money on views of your own videos and can even make money from other people’s videos as well. 

The Benefits Of DDN:

  • You get 100% of the money: You get 100% of any money paid by YouTube from views of your own videos on YouTube with your music in them. 
  • We can get you higher paying ads: We authorize YouTube to place both text ads and the higher paying video ads on your video. 
  • You make money from views of other peoples’ videos: We get you paid when other people use your music in their videos (you can’t do this on your own).
  • It’s easier: There is no need to sign up for multiple accounts and services. 
  • DDN has the contracts as well as staff and infrastructure to:
    • Find other people’s videos using your music.
    • Get text ads or commercials placed in or on other people’s videos.
    • Increase the amount of ad money you make.
    • Teach you how to get found more often in YouTube.
    • Make sure other people are not telling YouTube they own your music.

How Much Does It Cost?
The service is free for everyone.

You get 100% of the money from views on your own videos. In addition, DDN gets you money from other people who use your music in their YouTube videos (you can’t do this on your own). DDN only charges a 14% administrative fee if it gets you additional money from other people using your music on YouTube. 

How Does It Work?
Once we get the information, we go to work using our own and YouTube’s technology to find all the videos in YouTube that have your music in it, including your own. When we find these videos, we authorize YouTube to put text ads and/or commercials in or on the videos. When those ads generate advertising revenue, the advertiser pays YouTube and we get you your share.

When Does An Ad Generate Revenue?
A video generates revenue if the text or banner is clicked on or if the whole commercial, or a minimum of 30 seconds of the commercial, is watched.

Why Do You Need Exclusive Rights?
We need the exclusive right because YouTube requires us to have the exclusive right. 

Do I Still Control My Rights?
Yes. DDN does not own your copyrights, you do. We work for you.

How Does Renewal Of The Term Work?
If you want to cancel after the first year, let us know within the last 60 days and that’s it. If you don’t cancel, the Term renews for another year.

What Do I Need To Use DDN?

You need:

  • the rights to the sound recording (the “Master”) or the lyrics and melody of the song (the “Composition”), or both.
  • a valid email address
  • to be over 18 (or have your parent or guardian represent you)
  • a way for us to pay you.

Why Are Certain Videos Not Showing Up In My Reports?
The data used in the claims reports comes directly to us from Youtube. This data is never guaranteed to be 100% complete. For a comprehensive list of videos found using your music, please refer to your royalty statements. If you have located a video that you know has your music in it, but you do not see an ad on it, please email us. 

What’s An Isrc And Do I Need One?
The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the international identification system for sound recordings. ISRCs are widely used in digital commerce by download sites and collecting societies. If you have digital distribution, your distributor has already provided you with an ISRC. You should be able to obtain them by logging into your distribution account, or by contacting your distribution representative. Including ISRC’s is not mandatory, but it is HIGHLY recommended as it will make the set up process much faster and efficient.

NOTE: if your music is already live in iTunes, Google Play or AmazonMP3, we can submit your ISRC’s to YouTube that may allow them to place “Buy this music on iTunes, Google Play and/or AmazonMP3” links right below videos that have your music in them, but only if you enter the same ISRC or Song Identifier here you used for your music in iTunes, Google Play or AmazonMP3.

Do I Need To Include Album Information?

Does My Song Need To Have Been “Released” Or Made Available On Itunes Or Publicly Some Other Way?

EXCEPTION: If you are a Publisher (“Composition”-only) customer, you must provide a URL to any YouTube video that features a recording of your composition(s). Additionally (but optionally), you can supply an ISRC or Song Code for any one released recording which features that composition.

What If More Than One Person Wrote The Lyrics And Melody (The “Composition”)?
DDN only represents you, and we’ll get you your share of the money. Co-owners of the Composition either need to find a way get their share of the money themselves or join DDN and have us get it for them. 

Does It Create Any Problems If I Use DDN And I’m A Member Of A Performing Rights Organization (Pro)?
No, it does not conflict at all. Actually, quite the opposite.

A deal with DDN unlocks more of your Performing Rights Organization YouTube money. Here’s why:

YouTube needs TWO rights to your music:

  • The right of “Public Performance,” represented by your Performing Rights Organization
  • The right of “synchronization,” represented by DDN

Without these two rights grants, your composition cannot make money on YouTube. (With very rare exception, YouTube will not do a deal directly with you for these two rights.) DDN needs the Performing Rights Organization and the Performing Rights Organization needs DDN: each has a different piece of the puzzle.

Can I Use DDN If I’m Not A Member Of A Performing Rights Organization (Pro)?
Yes. There are no conflicts or problems.

Does DDN Get Any Of My Money From A Pro?

Why Am I Sending DDN A Copy Of My Master?
When we get a copy of your recording, it’s digitally “fingerprinted” by both DDN and YouTube so we can scan through billions of videos in YouTube to find the ones that are using it.

We won’t give away, share, sell or use your recording in any other way without your permission.

What Kind Of Audio Files Can I Upload?
You can upload any .mp3, .mp4 or .wav file. Upload files with a high bit rate, but it’s not critical to have perfect fidelity. No embedded tags, please.

What Happens After I’ve Uploaded My Sound Recording (Master) And/Or Composition Information To DDN?
First, sound recordings get digitally “fingerprinted.” Next, all the billions of videos in YouTube (past, present and future) begin to get scanned on an ongoing basis to see if there is a match between the digital “fingerprint” of your recording and the music in the video. When a match is found, we tell YouTube to allow advertising to be sold on that video. 

If you control just the music and lyrics (the “Composition”), we take your information and our technology (and YouTube’s) searches by the name of the song, the song writer and other information you supply us (see below) to find covers in videos all across YouTube. When a match is found, we tell YouTube to allow advertising to be sold on that video. 

How Long Until I See Results?
Statements are generated monthly. The generation process is 2 months behind, which means you get your March statement in May, and so forth.

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