Music Business

Apple Rewards 3 ‘Preferred Plus’ Music Distribution Partners With Advanced Features, Analytics

Apple-music-gift-cardLast week, Apple launched a "Apple-Preferred Distribution Program," naming just three music distributors as "Preferred Plus" partners, and rewarding them with advanced customer features and analytics not available to their competitors. 


Apple Preferred

The Orchard, CD Baby and EU based aggregator Kontor New Media were named Apple Preferred Plus music distribution partners last week with the launch of the "Apple-Preferred Distribution Program." The three were rewarded with features for their users that are not available to dozens of other distributors, including Tunecore, DistroKid, AWAL, Ingrooves, oneRPM and several  major label controlled aggregators.

The Orchard, CD Baby and Kontor can now exclusively offers their clients:

  • support for advanced Apple Music and iTunes customer features
  • advanced Apple Music and iTunes analytics
  • early access to Apple Music and iTunes product features
  • Early access to Apple Music and iTunes  Sales and Trends features

Apple's Preferred Plus status is based on both size and a "low music rejection" rate.  40,000 songs delivered every three months is the threshold for Plus status, with Preferred status available to distributors who deliver 10,000 or more per quarter, but do not meet Apple's rejection standards. Many other distributors are listed simply as "Approved."

Apple Music, Spotify and other music services have become more sensitive to the quality of metadata attached to each track upload after being hit with multiple licensing lawsuits.

"CD Baby has a long tradition of investing in Apple’s partner program, going all the way back to the launch of the iTunes Store in 2003 and supporting Apple Music by collaborating around direct artist submissions in 2015" CD Baby CEO Tracy Maddux told Hypebot when asked to comment on receiving Apple's top designation.  "Where Apple Music leads, we will continue to follow.”

We reached out to several distributors who did not recieve "Plus" status and all refused to comment.  

Spotify Preferred and 2 Big Winners

Spotify recently named Distrokid as its "Preferred Artist Distributor" after taking n equity stake in the company. CD Baby, The Orchard, Glasgow based EmuBands and digital music distribution technology provider FUGA were also named "Preferred" Spotify distributors.

Like the Spotify Preferred status winners, the three distributors dubbed Preferred Plus by Apple have been handed a strong competitive advantage. But the biggest winners are CD Baby and The Orchard who topped both the Apple and Spotify distributor rankings. 


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  1. Both this article and your piece about Spotify are red herrings.
    This info is old, out of date and has no bearing on any of the other companies. The Spotify “preferred” list hasn’t been updated in 5 years, neither has this one

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