How to Switch Music Distributors Without Losing Streams (Easy Step-By-Step Guide)

Andy Berendsen
April 2, 2024
7 minutes

Imagine that after years of your musical career behind you, your music distributor is no longer efficient and you need an urgent change. Distributors play a key role in making your music available to the public and should simplify the process of uploading to streaming platforms. With constant changes in the music industry and streaming world happening almost daily, sometimes swapping distributors is a necessary move to better your career.

There is a collective fear among artists about switching distribution companies. Many people believe that changing their distributor will mean sacrificing their streaming numbers that they worked so hard to build up. However, this information is false. There are definitely a number of ways to properly swap distributors without losing any streams, listeners, or playlist placements. So, how does one go about doing this? Well, that’s exactly what I’m here to tell you.

Reasons for Changing Distributors

There are multiple reasons why a musician or band may need to make a distribution change. The most common being that the price paid for the service is too high in relation to the real benefits being obtained. Or the company doesn’t provide distribution for all of the streaming platforms an artist may desire. Whatever the reason may be, distributors play an important role in an artist's overall success. So If you feel you are not receiving proper representation from your current distributor but haven't dropped them due to the fear of losing your current streaming numbers, then this article is crucial for you to read.

For all of these reasons and with the intent to benefit musicians across the globe, we’ve created this guide to explain all of the steps that must be taken in order to correctly change digital music distribution companies without losing any streaming numbers. The team at Collabhouse is a team of professional music consultants with a mission to help artists find their way in the music industry. Our teams of experts will always be available to answer any questions you may have and help you find quick solutions to common problems such as the one we have outlined here.

How to Switch Distributors Without Losing Streams: Step-by-Step

If you are wanting to change your digital music distributors without losing any of your current streams, keep reading this article to find out how exactly do this — the safe and correct way. Take note!

1. ALL Data Must Be EXACTLY the Same

The first big rule to understand when you are seriously considering redistributing all of your music through another distributor is that everything has to be the same, absolutely everything. The audio files you created your first album with should be the same, with the same name and format as when you first used them to distribute them with the other platform.

You should also make sure that the ISRC and UPC numbers are also the same before redistributing everything (we will explain in more detail what these numbers are) so that you don't have any authenticity problems when you re-release them. It is vital that even the image, logos, or covers you used in each of the singles are also identical so that the change goes smoothly and does not cause problems.

In order for your distribution swap to go smoothly and for you not to lose streams when swapping distributors, you must ensure the following key points are met when you begin redistributing your music with the new company:

  • Song names/titles & artist or band names need to be identical.
  • Song or album artwork, covers, or logos need to be identical.
  • Audio files, track length, and format need to be identical.
  • Release type needs to be identical (album, EP, single).
  • You must use the original ISRC and UPC numbers (more explanation on this below).
  • You must use the original release date.

2. Find ISRC and UPC Numbers

ISRC numbers are assigned to each song. UPC numbers are assigned to releases (like albums, EPs or single releases). No matter which distributor you use, you will be able to find each song’s ISRC number. Just login to your distributor’s backend, click on the release and you’ll see there will be an ISRC number assigned to each song and the UPC assigned to the full release.

The main function of ISRC and UPC codes is to give a file authenticity and a legitimate owner to whom all creation and distribution rights are attributed. When you send your request to work with a new music distributor, you must fill in these two fields with total accuracy. Do not make any mistake during this process because this will cause all the documentation to stop and all your plans to re-publish your songs will be delayed.

3. Wait for streaming data to match

The artist will see two versions of the product on it’s profile, there appears a button then named “1 other release” or something similar on Spotify. With this button you can swap between the two products uploaded by two distributors. Once all the streaming data is visible on both products, the matching has been completed, and the old product can be removed.

4. Withdraw From Your Old Distributors

Now that you've reached the heart of this article, it's time to learn how to initiate the process of withdrawing your songs and starting to redistribute them through a different platform. While it may seem straightforward at first glance, failure to follow the proper steps could result in frustration and hinder your ability to publish your work again.

To request the withdrawal of your music, you'll need to send an email to your current music distributor informing them of the specific songs you want to remove. Depending on the distribution company you're currently with, they typically have detailed instructions on their website outlining the process of withdrawing your songs and canceling your service.

Some distribution companies may require a more detailed email with attachments, including the name of each song along with its ISRC and UPC numbers. This ensures authenticity and facilitates a seamless withdrawal procedure through official channels. Other companies may have a simpler process, allowing you to remove tracks directly through your account on their website.

A Crucial Note

The following piece of information is the most critical aspect of this entire article. As mentioned earlier, once you've successfully uploaded your music to your new distributor, you should remove the previous release only after the new one becomes available on your streaming platforms. This will result in a temporary duplicate release, which is perfectly normal. Spotify will display "1 More Release" during this period.

Begin by completing the entire music uploading process on your new distributor (as described in the first two points). Before proceeding to withdraw your songs from the old distributor, ensure the release has been uploaded correctly, including all titles, artwork, streaming numbers, and other relevant information. It should be identical to the original distribution format.

After registering with your new music distribution service, keep any music you intend to transfer uploaded. I recommend leaving them up for at least 2-3 days after confirming the presence of duplicate versions of your tracks.

Once the (new distributor) release has been live on Spotify for a few days and you've verified that the play counts match for all songs on both releases (you can do this by hovering over the popularity bar), you can proceed to remove the release from your old distributor. Most distributors provide a simple takedown button to remove the track, while others may require an email submission or an official request.

After withdrawing the song or songs, wait for the process to finalize. Now, send them to your new distributor and start making the desired changes: modify the official artwork accompanying each single in major streaming platforms, the title, and even the format. Once you've officially switched to your new music distributor, things will become more streamlined, and you'll regain control of your work under the new terms agreed upon with your new agency.


We hope this simplified guide has effectively conveyed the steps involved in safely switching music distributors without compromising your previous streams, likes, listeners, or playlists. If you have any further questions about music distribution or swapping distribution companies, feel free to send an email to Our team is ready to help! 

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