AWAL is unique in that they are a submission based company.
They have some very talented artists on their roster and support their artists careers very well.
If you can get in with AWAL this might grant you some unique opportunities!
Check out our AWAL Distribution Review below.
Absolutely Free – Based On Submission
AWAL Distribution Review - What You'll Learn
Who Is AWAL For?
AWAL is an excellent choice for artists who are already somewhat established and have a track record of consistent quality. Since you have to be accepted into AWAL, make sure to understand exactly what they are looking for in an artist.
According to their website they are looking for artists with a track record of quality music which is well recorded. They also look at your artwork, design, and the overall strength of your brand. Social media following is also a factor. You don’t have to have millions of followers, but they are looking for artists with a following.
Keep in mind that artists are not expected to have all of these attributes. In the end, AWAL A&R executives make the final call. If you think AWAL is a good fit for you, go ahead and apply. After all, the worst thing they can say is no.
It could be argued that since AWAL only pays when their artists earn, that they are looking for commercial artists. While this is true to a certain extent, they have underground and less commercial artists on their roster as well.
With a simple 15% commission, AWAL’s fees couldn’t be simpler and attractive for someone not looking for upfront fees, yearly fees, or hidden fees. I also like the additional label-like features that are offered to high performing artists. Just keep in mind that not all AWAL members are offered these services.
Fees & Commissions
There are no signup fees, yearly fees, or opt out fees on AWAL. Their only charge is a distribution fee in the amount of 15%. This means they only make money when you do. Furthermore, there are no additional fees for adding a new store or for ending your licensing deal.
There is a payment threshold however, which means you will have to earn $45 before you can withdraw your earnings. Statements and payments are issued forty-five days after the end of the calendar month in which you obtained your earnings.
If you begin to gain traction, either through streams or sales, you may be offered label services which include advances to pay for PR, marketing, and more. AWAL also assists certain artist with getting their music onto important playlists.
How Does AWAL Work?
You want to write and perform music, but you can’t do that if you’re spending all your time on the business end.
Fortunately, the AWAL platform is simple to use and understand. You keep all of your rights and maintain control of your music. The deal is a simple digital distribution license with a 30 day term. You can end the deal at any time provided you give 30 days’ notice. There are no upfront or annual fees, just a 15% share of revenue that AWAL collects from you. In terms of simplicity, AWAL scores high.
Unlike most of the digital distribution companies, AWAL won’t accept just anyone. You first must apply via their website and if accepted, only then are you free to upload your music.
According to AWAL, there are several factors they look for in an ideal candidate. First, they look for quality material: a great sound, well-recorded tracks, plus quality artwork and designs. They also consider your previous releases and consider how consistently you put out quality material.
Another important consideration is your social media following. They like artists to already have an audience. This doesn’t mean you have to have millions of followers, just an established fan base with the potential to expand.
You may be saying, “I have good music but I’m not that well established yet.”
That is fine! AWAL points out that they don’t expect every up and coming artist to possess all of these qualities. After all, everyone is at a different stage of artistic development. When you apply, their A&R people listen to your tracks, evaluate you as an artist, and make the final decision whether or not to accept you into their lineup. Therefore, a special quality they hear could override any lack of the above factors.
Top performing AWAL artists are offered label services which include playlist pitches, marketing support, sync services, and advances. Since they are owned by Kobalt, which is a heavily regarded publishing company, top tier artists can be offered Kobalt services as well. This includes help with getting your music in TV, ads, film, and video games.
Outlets & Release Options
AWAL places your music with popular providers including:
iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, Sound Cloud, and more.
AWAL delivers your music to over 100 digital partners in over 200 territories worldwide. You can easily opt out of any provider and there are no additional charges if new providers become available.
With “Direct Live” to iTunes, AWAL is able to get your music on iTunes fast. They also report fast speeds to other outlets as well. Still, they recommend uploading music, artwork, and metadata to the AWAL Portal at least four weeks before your release or pre-order date.
One should also note that more favorable artists or those who they have money invested in will more than likely receive the best service when it comes to getting music to stores. So although AWAL may claim to be “fast” this could mean different things for different artists.
The AWAL app features an incredible amount of data which is easy to find, understand, and use. With the app you can find out who your fans are, compare yourself to your peers, and see the cities and countries where your music is being played. You are also informed whenever you are added to a new playlist.
The AWAL app is more than a tool; it’s a partner in your musical journey.
You can also see where your earnings are coming from as It’s important to know which providers have the most streams. With the app you can see this anytime you like. There are also some excellent analytics for YouTube monetization. Provided you opt in to allowing AWAL to collect YouTube revenue for you, you can see how you are doing on YouTube and get your share of revenue.
Today YouTube is a leading music provider and its monetization can be another revenue stream for recording artists. In fact, YouTube has paid out over 2 billion dollars in royalties in the past ten years, and the numbers are expected to grow.
AWAL will, if you choose, monetize your YouTube videos and collect royalties on your behalf. Videos can be placed into both the user generated content section of YouTube, as well as in the subscription service, YouTube “Red”. This ensures you are paid for music streams as well.
The AWAL service includes promotion via pitching for store promotion, placement on playlists, and editorial coverage. AWAL asks for artists to give at least six weeks of lead time for all promotions.
That said you can also check out other promotional alternatives outside of AWAL. For example, If you want to make sure you’re prepared for your next release, Boost Collective is here to hook you up with everything you need for your release, all in 1 place! Cover art, music videos, Spotify promotion, music mentoring, a Spotify Canvas maker & more!
Beatport chooses what music they make available so the decision is up to them. However, an application form is available from AWAL which allows you to apply for inclusion. You can fill out this form after you are accepted in AWAL.
Both UPC (Universal Product Code) and ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) barcodes are essential for distribution. UPC barcodes identify your release and ISRC barcodes are unique codes for specific recordings. If you have different versions of the same song, for example, such as studio and live versions, or a remix version, each would have its own ISRC code.
If you do not have your own barcodes, AWAL will provide them free of charge. This is a plus as some of the other services charge for barcodes.
Can I Release Cover Songs On AWAL?
Yes, but you are responsible for payments, whether mechanical or of another type. Some of the digital music providers take out mechanicals and other publishing payments and give them to the artist’s respective collection society or publisher. Others do not. AWAL will let you know on your statement if these payments have been taken out. If they have not, then paying the copyright holder or publisher is your responsibility.
What About Samples Of Other People's Work?
Music on AWAL may contain samples of other people’s work provided you obtain written permission from the rightholder and provide this to AWAL via email before submitting.
You don’t want to go it alone. And chances are there aren’t many people around who can answer your questions…
Fortunately, AWAL offers several resources to help you along the way, make you feel at home, and give you a sense of community.
AWAL’s website includes a helpful blog which is filled with tips and tools. There are lots of “how to” articles which help you get the most out of the service. Blogs are divided into the categories of artists, tips, industry, playlist, product, and news.
You can also read stories from other AWAL artists and gain a sense of community with people who are on a similar musical journey and working to fulfill their dreams, just like you. There is also an AWAL newsletter that you can sign up for in the blog section of the website.
Analytics & Reporting
You wouldn’t open a business without learning about your potential customers, so why would you make a career in music without knowing your audience? You need to know who your fans are and where to find more of them. With the AWAL app you can learn about your audience and see where your streams are coming from. AWAL provides artists with some of the strongest analytical data on the market.
Ease of Use & Customer Service
Using AWAL is all about convenience, especially when you look at the lengths they have gone to provide you with a user friendly app. When it comes to the desktop version of AWAL, music is uploaded via the AWAL portal. When you are accepted by AWAL you will receive an email with login details and instructions. You can then go to the AWAL portal to upload and distribute your tracks.
Where customer service is concerned however, there is a bit of a negative light that shines on the company in this area. Since they are focused on creating an environment that not everyone can be a part of a stronger hierarchy begins to form. This means that the artists on their platform who are being heavily supported are going to get first class hands on service.
Being so attentive to these artist can certainly take away from the other less established artists on the platform. However don’t think for a second that other platforms don’t work in a similar fashion.
If you’re an established artist who feels they will soon need help in reaching a bigger and more diverse audience, then AWAL is definitely worth considering. While their label services are invitation only, the artists who receive them have access to a level of support that is unsurpassed in the digital distribution industry.
I’ve always been someone who believes that if the worst they can say is no, then there’s no reason not to ask. If you feel AWAL is right for you, then apply now and makes your tracks part of their over 1 billion streams.