Ektoplazm is the world’s leading distributor of free and legal psytrance, techno, and downtempo music. We work with a wide variety of independent labels and artists to deliver quality content to a worldwide audience numbering in the millions. We distribute releases on a non-exclusive: labels and artists are welcome to distribute their music via other channels (even commercial ones) at the same time. Releases accepted for distribution are processed to standardize presentation with proper tags and file names, uploaded to our servers, promoted through the Ektoplazm free music portal, and syndicated on countless blogs and social networks.
Interested in distribution your release with Ektoplazm? Read on for a general overview or view the complete requirements to get started…
Update for December 2016: due to high levels of demand for access, low cash reserves, and an ongoing focus on new development work Ektoplazm is only accepting a limited number of new applications with several conditions:
- The application fee of 20 EUR is now mandatory unless there’s good reason for not paying (e.g. you’re genuinely broke and your application is prepared to perfection).
- Applications are only processed every two weeks or so which means it may take a month or longer for your release to go live (and more than that if there are any problems with the application).
- We are no longer able to launch releases on specific dates. You will likely receive a note when your application is processed; apart from that it may appear on the site at any time.
We regret having to make these changes after many years of service to the community but it is necessary for the redevelopment effort to move forward. If anything about the cost or working style isn’t suitable to you please feel welcome to hold off for a more self-serve and automated version of Ektoplazm. If you wish to request access to the application form please contact us to make an introduction. Priority will be given to existing label and artist partners. Thank you for your understanding!
We do not distribute just anything; Ektoplazm is a curated resource. This means we are selective of what releases to host, promote, and distribute. We reject a lot of stuff sent our way so don’t get angry if your release does not make the cut. We’ve tried to make the process easier by outlining exactly what we’re looking for below. If you are a label or artist interested in distributing your music with Ektoplazm then your release must feature:
- Lossless/CD-quality audio files in 44.1 kHz/16-bit WAV format. No exceptions.
- Proper mastering: decent sound quality and not too much compression. Procure the services of a professional sound engineer if needed. Self-mastered releases will only be accepted from veteran artists and trained professionals with very few exceptions.
- Proper cover art: high resolution, presentable, and 100% original or adapted under the terms of a Creative Commons licence. If you modify an image you find on the Internet you need to ensure that you have the right to do so! Releases with infringing cover art will be rejected.
- An explicit Creative Commons licence so everyone understands sharing the release is legal and encouraged. (View the terms of the standard BY-NC-SA licence here.) Any “all rights reserved”, “public performance prohibited”, or similar copyright language on the cover art will cause your release to be rejected.
- At least three or more tracks and/or 15-20 minutes of unmixed music. We do not host single tracks, throwaways, promotional album mixes, etc.! We only distribute serious, substantial releases, the more substantial the better.
- Quality control: “mega compilations” with a dozen or more tracks that seem to be slapped together won’t make the cut. Similarly, releases with inconsistent quality will be turned down. Bring us your best!
- Legal content; no unauthorized remixes, bootlegs, mash-ups, or copyright-infringing sample usage, especially when the source is pop music from the major labels. You must own the rights to all the music you plan to share! (Note: if you are a member of a collection society like SOCAN (in Canada), GEMA (in Germany), or other such organizations you do not actually have the right to distribute your own music here! We encourage all artists to cancel their membership with such organizations.)
Please review our requirements for more information.
Releases that do not meet the above criteria will not be considered for distribution.
Ektoplazm is somewhat genre-specific; we focus on psytrance and related styles of electronic music, mostly downtempo and a bit of techno. Browse around to see what we already distribute. Novel and experimental approaches are encouraged—this is one of the strengths of free distribution, after all. If your music fits with the culture of the site then we want to hear from you!
What we are not open to is “commercial” music: music with loads of vocals, unauthorized bootlegs and mash-ups, or anything non-electronic or at least not trance-inducing, just to give a few examples. We also try to take it easy on the hard/dark/evil psytrance above 160 BPM. (Some will get through but there’s a lot of it out there and we try to be choosy with this highly polarizing style.) Releases that clearly do not fit the feel of the site will not be considered and you will not receive a response to your request.
Ektoplazm is dedicated to quality and, as such, we also prioritize new music, not just B-sides, re-releases, and other music dredged up from the archives. If your first thought is to offload a bunch of junk that the commercial labels wouldn’t be interested in, forget it. We are also choosy with commercial music re-released under the Creative Commons—not just anything will be promoted here.
Similarly, we focus on original music that DJs can play, not live sets, mixes, and such. Live sets and DJ mixes are occasionally posted but this is uncommon and usually limited to pre-existing partners who wish to contribute something in addition to an original release. These days we have our hands full with prepping original music.
Remember: Ektoplazm is a curated resource; not all releases will be accepted. Even if your release meets the basic quality and style criteria it may be rejected for other reasons. Curation is essential to the value of the site—without it, Ektoplazm would not be the powerful distribution platform it is today. Not only that, but it takes a lot of work to get everything ready—and demand for access is very high—so we must be picky. We reserve the right to reject any release for any reason. Thank you for understanding!
This has one important consequence: don’t announce that your release will appear on Ektoplazm until your release has been accepted.
There is a mandatory 20 EUR application fee to submit a release to Ektoplazm. Any release sent without the fee will not be processed. The purpose of the fee is to ensure compliance with our release submission requirements, not to profit. In the past we have found that most submissions are flawed and require a lot of extra work on our part. We no longer have the time to do this—and so we will charge a fee for processing an application. Read this next part closely.
There are three instances where your application fee will be refunded:
- If your release submission is 100% compliant with our specifications.
- If your release submission is rejected for any reason.
- If you decide not to proceed with the application before we start processing it.
This means release submissions are still free—if you follow the rules!
Ektoplazm offers two additional paid services:
Boost your release on our Facebook page. We post every release here anyway but the “boost post” feature works wonders to increase exposure. We take a small cut in exchange for access to this feature. contact us for more details prior to your release date.This service is discontinued due to changes in Facebook’s post boost policy.
- On-site banner advertising.
Donations above and beyond what is laid out here are also very welcome! It is not an easy task to keep the free music flowing.
Ektoplazm is presently undergoing a massive redevelopment effort, our metamorphosis. In order to remain focused, we only process applications on certain days of the month, currently about once every two weeks. You can send an application any time but we will not be checking email, downloading files, or reviewing submissions except on those specific days.
This has several implications for the release submission process:
- If you make a mistake and miss a window you may have to wait a while for another response. For example, if your application is missing BPMs this will automatically add about two weeks to the schedule.
- It would be terribly unwise to submit a release within two weeks of a desired release date. (Actually, we cannot commit to meeting any release dates whatsoever.)
- If you do not receive a response to your inquiry right away this does not mean you are being ignored. You are, however, welcome to send friendly follow-up emails!
- Most of the time you should receive a response to your application within two weeks.
- Prepare the source archive according to our specifications.
- Complete the new application form (V4), which you should already have the link to. See the “current status” at the top of this page for more information.
- Send the application fee via Paypal. Please enter the title of your release in this box (so I can find it and send you a refund if you request one) and click on the button:
- Wait until we respond. Please be patient; it may take several weeks to process your submission if you catch us at the wrong part of the release cycle!
Final note: use the contact form for all official communication; messages sent by or any other means will be ignored. Only by keeping all correspondence in email can we possibly keep up with demand. Thanks again for your understanding!