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Moving Your Music

Keeping your streams and playlist placements when changing music distributors

A common concern from labels and artists is losing streams and/or playlists that they’ve earned when transferring their catalogue from one distributor to another. This blog post explains how you can retain the streams and playlisting you’ve earned under your previous distributor.

Streaming platforms use a method called “track-linking” in order to match previously delivered tracks from one distributor to tracks delivered by us. 

Track-linking is specifically designed to provide a more streamlined user experience by removing duplicate tracks from your artist profile. When track-linking is successful, play-listing and stream counts are unaffected by the change in distributors.

Whilst track-linking is never 100% guaranteed, providing completely identical metadata gives a far higher chance of being successful. When attempting to track-link duplicate tracks, the following should match the original metadata provided to your previous distributor:

  • Duration
  • Title 
  • Title version 
  • Artist 
  • ISRC
  • UPC
  • Writers
  • Producers

The audio supplied to us needs to be the exact same as provided to your previous distributor. Chances of track-linking are decreased with each differing piece of metadata between the product released by your previous distributor and the product that we’d release.

This is particularly important when it comes to TikTok. If the same ISRC is not used in conjunction with the same UPC that was previously delivered, TikTok will generate a new clip or ‘sound’ for creators to use in their videos. If the same ISRC and UPC combination is not kept when moving your music, you run the risk of removing all of the user-generated content (UGC) that has been created using your music. Additionally, you’ll lose the popularity gained on TikTok and your music will likely be harder for users to find on the app.

Minimizing disruption to user experience

When transferring catalogues we suggest having an overlap time of at least 48 hours on platforms where both distributed versions are live. This will help ensure that the streams have linked successfully and playlist placements are not lost. Please note YouTube transfers it is possible to transfer ownership of sound recording assets and music video assets but art tracks taken down by the previous distributor and redelivered will result in losing the views/streams.

At Absolute, we aim to make the process of switching distributors as easy as possible while ensuring the user experience isn’t impacted by the change by keeping the streams and playlist additions you have completely intact.  

All we require to transfer your catalogue is the metadata, .wav audio files and packshots of the releases that you wish to be distributed by us. If you’re able to provide this to us, we can create your releases and have them swiftly delivered to all platforms.

Historical stream analytics and playlist data

When transferring data from your previous distributor to Absolute, we’re unable to retrieve historical analytics data that you may have. All of your streams and playlist placements remain, but distributors will not transfer data to us nor will any provider. You can still access historical data by using the analytics available from digital platforms like Spotify for Artists and Apple Music for Artists. 

During this period of transition, there can be some fluctuation in the ‘popular tracks’ section of your artist page. This is normal and you will find that popular tracks normalise within 72 hours of the new content going live.


The information in the article is up-to-date as of Novemeber 2022. Updates will be published as and when amendments are made to these rules.

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