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Too Lost Distribution Review 2024: An In-Depth Assessment of the Platform

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Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based musician, the founder and CEO of Ari’s Take and the author of How to Make It in the New Music Business.
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The newest distributor of prominence to the game is Too Lost.

And boy have they been taking notes over the years as to what is important for an independent distributor jumping into this ever crowded space. I sat down with the CEO and co-founder, Greg Hirschhorn to get a better understanding of how it all works and got a look under the hood.

First off, I have to say, I am wildly impressed with their service. Too Lost checks nearly every box you want in a DIY distributor. They have never raised any outside capital and haven’t sold any equity. Greg has grown the business from the ground up, bootstrapped. They now have over 300K artists or labels on the platform and have distributed over 7 million songs with around 150K new songs being distributed every month. And Too Lost employs around 85 people across two offices

+Best Music Distribution Companies: Full Comparison Chart

Some things that stand out to me for Too Lost is their fraud prevention.

This is the most serious issue in the industry right now because of how much money is being siphoned off by fraudsters away from legitimate artists/labels. Whereas this is a massive issue for other DIY distributors, penalizing innocent artists in their quest to combat streaming fraud, Too Lost claims to have solved this – primarily through its ID verification system. I set up my own Too Lost account and sure enough I was asked to scan my drivers license and take a selfie. I imagine this would deter any fraudster right off the bat. When streaming fraud is now actually leading to prison time, I can’t imagine a bad actor would be down for this level of identity verification. Such a simple way to combat it. It’s curious why the other distributors haven’t taken this approach.

Too Lost distributes directly to most of the 450 outlets and does not use intermediary distributors (who oftentimes charge fees and skim off a commission).

Too Lost is a Merlin member which can help them get better deals with some of the DSPs (streaming services). (Little known fact – every distributor/label negotiates streaming rates with every DSP. Which is one reason why there’s no such thing as set streaming rates). Too Lost will negotiate directly with the DSP and also use Merlin to compare the rates and then run with the better rate. And for the nerds out there digging into the weeds, Too Lost uses AudioSalad for some of the smaller DSPs to help with the metadata and infrastructure.

One of the coolest features that I’d never actually heard about is the ability to run a search for usage of your tracks for where they are used on social media platforms. You basically select one of your songs, it runs a search and kicks back every TikTok video, X (Twitter) post, Reddit, Peloton, Instagram post, YouTube video, etc that is using your music. That is a very cool feature which could help turn into fun collaborations and find your super fans. Too Lost does charge for this feature $1.50/song/month. He mentioned labels primarily use this feature for their best performing songs.

Too Lost also has an add-on to register your copyrights with the US Copyright Office for $100/registration.

Some people have “hacked” this and registered a 100-track “album” for $100 instead of having to register each song individuals – saving them a ton of money. Going direct to the US Copyright Office, this application will get rejected because they’re very strict about what they accept  (I’ve tried), but somehow Too Lost gets around this. Hopefully these “hacked” registrations hold up in court.

Similar to other distributors on this comparison like AWAL, Symphonic and Stem, Too Lost has a “label services” tier where they will offer an advance (up front cash), with personalized support and everything you’d expect from a label services plan (playlist pitching, marketing support, dedicated product manager, etc) for a negotiated commission. They still don’t take ownership (like a label would), just commission. This plan isn’t public, as Too Lost just offers it to artists who start to catch fire.

Similar to Amuse and TuneCore, Too Lost offers instant advances based on historical streaming data built directly into the Dashboard.

Where, simply based on your previous streaming revenue, it will calculate an amount that you could withdraw instantly – without having to negotiate or speak with anyone about it. You don’t give up any rights, it just estimates your future earnings (based on historical earnings) and you can withdraw those funds – Too Lost will then make that back plus a bit of interest over the coming months.

+Amuse Music Distribution Review

They also do custom advances for artists moving over from other distributors or labels as an incentive to bring them in. Greg revealed they’ve even done an advance for one label for $50 million!

And one of the best parts about Too Lost is they have an admin publishing service which is a partnership with BMG Publishing.

And similar to TuneCore Publishing, you do not need to be a distribution client to use their admin publishing service. They charge a 15% commission for this service. However currently this is only open to select users and you have to apply for the program.

Too Lost also distributes to many more outlets than other distributors. Including non-traditional DSPs like SoundExchange, Gracenote, Shazam, Peloton, Canva, and most of the Chinese, African, Arabic, and Korean DSPs for no additional costs. Some other distributors like DistroKid offer some of these outlets, but charge for them. However, if you have a sync deal, you may not want to opt-in to all the outlets – namely the music libraries like Canva and Pinterest.

Too Lost makes it very easy to switch from other distributors with its bulk import feature which carries over audio files, ISRC, UPC, Lyrics, album art, etc.

Too Lost has a presave feature which will then rank your top fans and give you the full metadata on them (like emails). And then you can notify them upon new releases, merch drops, or anything else.

+How To Switch Music Distributors Without Losing Playlists or Streams

Like DistroKid, Too Lost offers payment splitting with recoupment (meaning your collaborators don’t get paid until you recoup set designated costs – like recording and marketing). But Too Lost also offers limits and time limits on payment splitting. So you could offer 10% of your track revenue to a collaborator – up to $3K for the next 3 years or something like that, and it would shut off the split once they hit $3K or 3 years.

Customer support for DIY distributors has been a point of contention for many – especially those that start you off in AI bot hell. But I tested Too Lost’s support and got a good answer from a human with a solve to my issue within 24 hours.

And Too Lost’s insights and analytics are bar none.

They have tapped into nearly every API available (and some not available – obtained through Greg’s connections) and offer very good insights. More than I’ve seen from others. Like skip rate on Spotify. And artificial stream reports. The dashboard also shows weekly and hourly engagement along with other demographic info for many DSPs. The analytics platform shows data on more DSPs than any other distributor that I’m aware of including Spotify, Apple, Deezer, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Peloton, Amazon, SoundCloud, YouTube, Pandora, and others.

Some notable artists who use Too Lost include Chief Keef, Lil Mabu, ILOVEMAKONNEN, Xavier Wulf, Josiah and the Bonnevilles, Ali Gatie, Lucifer, Joseph Tilly, YG, and Pink Sweats.

All in all, Too Lost is an extremely impressive DIY distributor. I haven’t tested them out with any releases yet, but they are making waves very quickly in the space and are innovating very rapidly. I definitely recommend giving them a try!

You can use the code ARISTAKE for 3 months free: Toolost.com

About The Author

Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based musician, the founder and CEO of Ari’s Take and the author of How to Make It in the New Music Business.

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