If you’re an independent artist you may be at a point where you’re trying to figure out how you can actually and effectively get your music into the ears of your audience. Sometimes, it’s just about getting those first few fans hooked and on board with your brand. Or maybe you’re deciding if you really want to try this full-time-musician path, and are curious about what sort of tools are out there that can help. Well, if you find yourself in any of the above situations, or something similar - you might be considering signing up for a music distribution service.
Music distribution services are services that exist in the modern technologically integrated world to help the modern artist reach their audience, build a fanbase, and get paid for listens, streams, and other measurable metrics.
That being said, not every single music distribution service is built the same and they don’t all come with the same functions, features, and tools. So if you’re going to try a music distribution service to get your music career off the ground, be sure to pick a plan that suits your needs.
It Depends on the Specific Distributor
First and foremost, it’s integral to acknowledge the fact that the specific pros and cons of a music distribution service will depend on the specific service provider. There are several popular music distributing services, like DistroKid and Anti-Joy, and many others, each of which come with their own unique and specific offerings.
If you’re interested in signing up with a music distribution service, it will pay you dividends in the long run to conduct thorough research on the options that exist and to choose the plan and package that best suit your music distribution needs.
Make Sure you Keep Rights and Royalties
While most music distribution services will help you with figuring out things like how to upload music to Spotify, or handle it for you completely, there are other more important pieces of information you need to pay attention to. Not that learning how to get your music on Spotify and other popular streaming services isn’t integral.
However, even more important than getting your music on popular streaming services is retaining your rights and royalties. Most modern distribution services allow musicians and artists to retain 100% of their rights and royalties. However, depending on the service and the package, this isn’t always the case.
This is where it pays off to pay attention to the fine details included in your plan. You don’t want to end up on the wrong side of a package policy that doesn’t allow you to retain complete and total ownership over the rights and royalties of your music. Simply avoid packages or services altogether that don’t advertise 100% artist ownership retention.
Check out Pricing Before Signing
Of course, like with any other purchase decision, it’s important to take your budget and the pricing into consideration. When looking at the pricing for different music distribution services, consider how much they’re asking you to pay/year and what you’re getting at that price.
Certain music distribution services simply offer a better value overall, meaning you’re getting more functions, features, and tools for each dollar you spend.
Have a Release Schedule in Mind
There are a few factors that play into the pricing of different music distribution services, too. For instance, the amount of singles and albums that you release in the year can greatly influence how much you end up spending on your music distribution service. Certain packages make artists pay for every single and album that they release throughout the year, but compensate with a lower annual fee.
Other more musician-friendly music-distribution companies offer musicians unlimited releases throughout the year included in the monthly or annual fee. This makes it more cost effective for a prolific musician who wants to release a high volume of tracks.
Do Your Research to Find the Right Distributor
At the end of the day, the only way to know which music distribution service is going to be right for you as an artist is to do your research on each of the popular music distribution services available. From DistroKid to Anti-Joy to Tunecore and CDBaby there are a wide variety of music distribution services out there that cater to slightly different musician groups.
Knowing your budget, your genre, and your music release schedule will help you pick the one that’s right for you.
A few Final Words
Being a fulltime musician is never easy. But thanks to technology it’s at least a little less difficult today than it has been in years past. If you’re serious about turning your passion for making music into an actual career path, signing up with a music distribution service could help you reach your audience, build a fanbase, and get the attention of big name players in the industry. Good luck!