How Much Does It Take for My Release to Go Live in Stores?

How Much Does It Take for My Release to Go Live in Stores

As an independent artist, one of the most exciting moments in your music career is when your new release goes live on streaming platforms and online stores. However, understanding the timeline and the process involved can sometimes be confusing. In this detailed guide, we will explore how much does it take for my release to go live in stores, along with the factors that influence the timeline and what you can do to ensure a smooth release. We’ll cover everything you need to know to manage your expectations and plan your release effectively.

Understanding the Music Distribution Process

What is Music Distribution?

Music distribution is the process of getting your music from your studio to online platforms where listeners can stream or purchase it. These platforms include streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music, as well as digital stores like iTunes and Amazon Music. Distributors act as the middlemen between you and these platforms, ensuring your music is properly formatted, delivered, and made available to the public.

How Do Distributors Work?

Distributors receive your music, metadata (such as song titles, artist names, and album art), and any other relevant information. They then process and deliver this package to various streaming platforms and stores. Distributors ensure that your music meets the technical requirements of each platform, such as file format and quality. They also handle the financial aspects, collecting royalties and distributing them to you.

Factors Affecting the Time It Takes for Your Release to Go Live

1. Distribution Service

Different music distribution services have different processing times. Some popular distributors include Deliver My Tune, TuneCore, DistroKid, CD Baby, and AWAL. Each service has its own timeline for processing and delivering your music to stores.

2. Release Schedule

If you set a specific release date, the distributor will aim to have your music live on that date. However, to ensure your release goes live on the intended date, it’s crucial to submit your music well in advance. Most distributors recommend submitting your release at least 4-6 weeks before the planned release date.

3. Platform Processing Times

Each platform (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) has its own processing time once they receive your music from the distributor. This can vary from a few hours to several days.

4. Quality Control

Distributors often perform a quality check to ensure your music meets the required standards. This includes checking for proper formatting, adequate sound quality, and correct metadata. Any issues found during this check can delay the release.

5. Holidays and Weekends

Processing times can be longer during holidays and weekends. Plan your release schedule accordingly to avoid unnecessary delays.

6. Pre-Release Requirements

Some platforms offer pre-release features, such as pre-orders or pre-saves. Setting up these features can add to the overall time it takes for your release to go live.

Detailed Timeline for Major Distributors

Deliver My Tune

Standard Processing Time: Deliver My Tune typically processes and delivers your music to stores within 2-4 days. They recommend submitting your release at least 2 weeks in advance to account for any potential delays and to set up pre-release features if desired.


Standard Processing Time: TuneCore typically processes and delivers your music to stores within 1-2 weeks. However, they recommend submitting your release at least 3-4 weeks in advance to account for any potential delays.

CD Baby

Standard Processing Time: CD Baby usually processes and distributes your music within 1-2 weeks. Like TuneCore, they advise submitting your release 4-6 weeks before the desired release date.


Standard Processing Time: AWAL typically takes 2-3 weeks to process and deliver your music to stores. They recommend uploading your music at least 3 weeks before the release date.

Independent Label Services

For artists signed with independent labels, the timeline can vary significantly. Labels often coordinate with distributors and platforms directly, which can streamline the process but may also involve more steps.

How Many Time It Will Take to Distribute Your Song on Major Platforms


Processing Time: Spotify typically takes 2-5 days to process and publish your music once they receive it from the distributor.

Apple Music

Processing Time: Apple Music usually takes 1-7 days to make your music live. However, in some cases, it can take up to two weeks.

Amazon Music

Processing Time: Amazon Music generally processes releases within 1-3 days.

YouTube Music

Processing Time: YouTube Music often has a faster turnaround, with music going live within 24-72 hours after submission.


Processing Time: Tidal usually takes 2-5 days to process and publish your music.


Processing Time: Deezer typically processes music within 1-2 days.

Steps to Ensure a Smooth Release

1. Plan Ahead

To avoid any last-minute issues, start planning your release well in advance. Consider all the factors that can affect the timeline and give yourself plenty of buffer time.

2. Choose the Right Distributor

Research different distributors and choose one that best suits your needs. Consider factors such as processing times, fees, and additional services offered.

3. Prepare High-Quality Assets

Ensure that your audio files are high-quality and properly formatted. Pay attention to metadata and cover art specifications.

4. Double-Check Metadata

Incorrect metadata can cause delays and issues with your release. Double-check all details, including song titles, artist names, and release dates.

5. Use Pre-Release Features

Take advantage of pre-release features like pre-orders and pre-saves. These can help build momentum for your release and ensure it reaches a larger audience on the release day.

6. Communicate with Your Distributor

Stay in touch with your distributor throughout the process. If you encounter any issues, reach out to their support team for assistance.

7. Promote Your Release

Start promoting your release early. Use social media, email newsletters, and other marketing channels to create buzz and engage with your audience.

Common Issues That Can Delay Your Release

1. Formatting Errors

Ensure that your audio files are in the correct format and meet the quality standards of the platforms. Common formats include WAV and MP3.

2. Metadata Mistakes

Incorrect or incomplete metadata can cause delays. Make sure all song titles, artist names, and other details are accurate.

3. Cover Art Issues

Your cover art must meet the specifications of each platform. This includes dimensions, file format, and content guidelines.

Ensure that you have the rights to distribute all content, including samples and collaborations. Legal issues can cause significant delays.

5. Technical Problems

Technical glitches can occur during the upload or processing stages. If you encounter any issues, contact your distributor for support.

FAQ Section

1. How much does it take for my release to go live in stores?

The time it takes for your release to go live in stores can vary based on the distributor you use, the platforms you’re distributing to, and the quality of your submission. On average, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

2. What can delay the release of my music?

Several factors can delay the release of your music, including formatting errors, metadata mistakes, cover art issues, legal problems, and technical glitches. It’s important to ensure all your assets are high-quality and meet the specifications of your chosen distributor and platforms.

3. How many time it will take to distribute your song on Spotify?

Spotify typically takes 2-5 days to process and publish your music once they receive it from the distributor. However, it is recommended to submit your release well in advance to avoid any potential delays.

4. What are the best practices to ensure my release goes live on time?

Best practices include planning ahead, choosing the right distributor, preparing high-quality assets, double-checking metadata, using pre-release features, communicating with your distributor, and promoting your release early.

5. How do holidays and weekends affect the release timeline?

Processing times can be longer during holidays and weekends as fewer staff may be available to handle submissions. It’s advisable to plan your release around these periods to avoid delays.

6. What should I do if my release is delayed?

If your release is delayed, first check for any issues with your submission, such as formatting errors or metadata mistakes. Contact your distributor’s support team for assistance. Communicating proactively can help resolve issues more quickly.

7. Can I change my release date after submission?

Most distributors allow you to change your release date, but this should be done well in advance. Changes made close to the planned release date can lead to delays or complications.

8. How can pre-release features benefit my release?

Pre-release features like pre-orders and pre-saves can help build momentum and engagement before your release date. They can also improve your chances of being featured on playlists and charts.

9. How do I choose the right distributor for my music?

When choosing a distributor, consider factors such as processing times, fees, additional services, and the platforms they distribute to. Research and read reviews to find a distributor that meets your needs and aligns with your goals.

Releasing your music and seeing it go live on various platforms is a thrilling experience. By understanding how much does it take for my release to go live in stores and planning accordingly, you can ensure a smooth and successful release. Take advantage of the tips and insights provided in this guide to navigate the process confidently and maximize your chances of a timely release.

For further reading, explore these related articles:

For additional resources on music marketing and distribution, visit Deliver My Tune.