Demystifying iTunes, Waabeh and Mdundo: The Musician.

Three weeks ago I did a post for the listener where I tried to make digital music shopping simpler. Today I do one for the musician. Every time you release a record, it is advisable to make it available online either as a free download or on sale. A Youtube video with the song art as the background is not enough in my opinion. I’ll begin with the less complicated option and eventually the more complicated ones.

1. Mdundo.

This is a fairly easy platform to get your music on.

Uploading music:  The first step is creating an account on the website here. Afterwards you can upload your music directly. Mdundo, is currently a free download website which means you upload music you are willing to give out to the public for free.

Benefits: Mdundo pays out a blanket amount to artists who have their music downloaded from their website. They then take the downloads per artist as a percentage of the total downloads by the amount to be paid off. [Say you had 1000 downloads and the total number of downloads that month was 100,000. The total amount Mdundo is paying out to artists is 1,000,000. You make KES. 10000. The more the masses like your music and actually download, the more the pay.

2. Waabeh.

Uploading music: Either upload it directly by creating an account on Waabeh and upload on the Dashboard or send an email to info[at]waabeh[dot]com with your music and they will upload it for you. You must own the music you upload and have high quality cover art. You can either set a price for it or give away your music for free.

Pricing: Users do not currently pay to upload music.

Sales Revenue: The artist gets 70% of sales revenue while Waabeh keeps 30%.

Time before your music goes live: Music is available for purchase immediately!

3. iTunes.

There are two options to getting your music on iTunes, you either work with them directly or you go through an aggregator. You can view the requirements you’d need to work directly with iTunes by beginning your application here.

iTunes has pretty tight qualifications before working with them directly and those who do not qualify are required to go through aggregators who are established music distributors and work as intermediaries between the musician and iTunes. They are many but I’ll highlight two of them which will give you an idea of what the process would look like.


Tunecore has a music distribution and music publishing offer.(More on music publishing in a future post).


  • Per album: $29.99 first year $49.99 each following year. 
  • Per single:  $9.99 per year.
  • Per ringtone: 19.99 per year.

(Albums and singles sent to all stores and ringtones sent to iTunes only.)

Sales revenue: You get to keep 100% of your music sales revenue(of course after the  stores get their percentage). 

Rights: You retain 100% of your rights.

Stores available to youYour get to sell your music worldwide on iTunes, Spotify, AmazonMP3, Google Play and 74 other stores.

Report frequency: You receive daily sales trend reports with iTunes, Spotify, and AmazonMP3 data. Monthly music sales reports.

Time before music goes live: It takes 24-72 hours for your music to go live on iTunes. It may much take longer if iTunes decides to perform an internal store review process. Length of time for other stores can be viewed here.

Audio format specifications: 16 bit (sample size), 44.1 kHz (sample rate), 1411 kbps (bit rate) stereo WAV files. You do that through a simple process outlined here. You will need to use the iTunes application for this. (Most if not all aggregators have this as a requirement).

Receiving payment: Tunecore posts your sales money and sales reports in your Tunecore account. Stores usually report an entire month’s sales on a two-month delay and Tunecore can only report and reflect your earnings so far when the stores do so. Begin checking two months after submitting music. The major difference in my opinion between these monthly sales report and the daily sales reports is that with the monthly reports you receive money in your account but not so when you request daily reports.

Withdrawing money: You withdraw your money by logging into your Tunecore account and placing a request. You can receive your money in either of three ways: a) Via cheque that attracts a $3 processing fee per cheque, the minimum for cheques is $103 and it’s posted to you in about ten business days in the US or up to 6 weeks internationally; b) Via PayPal. No processing fees and takes 3-4 business days; c) Via an Electronic Funds Transfer(EFT) that attracts a $2.75 processing fee per withdrawal and is only sent to a US or US territory bank account. Canadian Tunecore accounts however can only use PayPal for withdrawals.

CD Baby.

Pricing: $12.95 per single. (One-off payment); $49 per album. (One-off payment)

Sales revenue: You receive 91% of your total income. They keep the 9% for admin costs.

Rights: You retain 100% of your rights.

Stores available to you: iTunes, Amazon MP3, Spotify, Google Play and many others.

Time before music goes live:  iTunes: two business days.

Audio format specifications: The same as Tunecore.

Receiving payment: It varies with the stores. iTunes may take 2-3 months to reflect. CDBaby reflects the money and reports as soon as the stores make it available.

Withdrawing money: CD Baby pays through; a) Cheques payments within the US charging a processing fee of $1.50 per cheque payment; b) ACH direct deposits internationally that attract a $2.50 processing fee per deposit and c) PayPal that attracts a $1.50 processing fee per payment.

Side note: If you are wondering of how to withdray funds from your PayPal account, I know Equity Bank now offers a PayPal Withdrawal Service.

CD Baby has an interesting offer with CD Baby pro where it sets you up with ASCAP / BMI registration; song registration with global collection agencies and global publishing royalty collection etc that is worth checking out.

Thank you for reading, in case of any questions and clarifications, ripplezinc[at]gmail[dot]com or hit the comment section!


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