Today there are several models of music distribution. The main distribution channels have become music streaming services, which are fiercely fighting among themselves, not only for users, but also for artists who will replenish their music library.
Unlike distributing music through automated platforms, distributing through a distributor has some advantages, which we will discuss in more detail.
In most cases, if you are an aspiring artist, then you have someone to contact with questions about any of the stages of distributing your music. However, before signing a contract, it is worth asking how many customers the distributor serves. Some of them simply will not have time to help you because of the heavy workload.
The distributor has direct contacts with digital services, editorial teams and people responsible for website promotion. If you have solid material and arguments, the distributor will be able to fight to put your music in the playlists. And if you have specific achievements on your account, you should ask about additional options for displaying content (for example, banners on websites).
This is a key advantage of a distributor over an automatic content aggregator, which is an online platform that works in bulk. Before signing the contract, it is worth discussing this topic, but this will be possible if you come to the interview prepared – with materials, with a specific action plan. Don’t rely on someone else to do something for you.
An important factor will be that you do not need to immediately pay in advance for the placement of your music. This is especially true for those who do not have much money.
In case of technical problems, you have someone to contact. We talk about things like a typo in the name of an artist or author, splitting profiles between multiple artists, and many other such stories. There are a lot of such errors and they are easy to make, because a lot of data is given during delivery, and not all of them are obvious. If someone’s metadata is out of order, it’s very easy to make a mistake.
Distributors often offer access to analytics platforms that show data from websites on an ongoing basis.
But not all distributors sign contracts with all artists. Most of them either choose music that fits their brand profile or explore revenue potential. In practice, it’s about checking if you’ll get a good deal, if the distributor has the tools to help you advance your career, or if you should go to someone else.
Some distributors charge a large percentage of distribution. This is due to the fact that individual artists have a small catalog that will earn much less than the label catalog, and the work will be the same in both cases (for the distributor, both are the same customer). Experts recommend trying to negotiate terms, or at least request terms from several distributors.