About Music Distribution – Everything You Need to Know

by | Aug 23, 2022 | Music Distribution, Artist Resources, Music Marketing

Simply put, music distribution means distributing your music out there to your fans and potential new audience.

Having your music digitally distributed gives you worldwide coverage, copyright protection, and opportunities out there.

When people listen to your music, you generate royalties (income) from the streams and sales, and best of all, you gain fans from all across the world.

A hit song only becomes a hit because many listeners listened to it and liked it, and so the second goal for an artist after making great music is actually pushing their music out to as many people as they can reach.

Back in the day, there were record stores with CDs where people could go look up music and buy the CDs to take back home.

Distributing music meant having physical record CDs in a record store/shop but all that changed with new technology.

The technology allowed people to listen to music, share, and download it over the Internet from almost anywhere in the world.

A website called Napster was the pioneer of this new technology, it launched in 1999 and allowed people to share Music and download it for free.

Later Napster closed down as its free download feature violated copyright law but it had paved the way for what we now know as music streaming.

Now most people who want to listen to music just stream it but it has to first be uploaded, copyrighted, and distributed on the streaming platforms by the owner of the music.

Most of the music now is distributed digitally. Of course there are some record stores still left that still distribute music physically, but it’s only a small fraction which makes up about only 10% of the total records distributed.

Digital music distribution is the new way to go now if an artist wants to reach a wider audience.

How does it work?

Today, distributing music to thousands if not millions of fans around the world is as simple as uploading a music file on the internet and filling in the corresponding metadata.

Now that’s where distributors like us come in… Of course the artist himself can upload their music on the internet, but only a few streaming platforms allow that.

Majority require an intermediary, in this case, a licensed music distributor to upload and make changes on behalf of the artist.

The Artist finds a distributor of their choice, creates an account and uploads their music. The distributor then uploads that music to streaming and social media platforms to be released on a specific day.

Henceforth the distributor collects different metrics and royalties earned from streams and sales paid on that music on behalf of the artist.

Lastly, the distributor pays out royalties earned by the artist from their music streams and sales upon request.

Why Distributors then?

– Same day distribution to DSPs and social media.

First and foremost, DSPs (Digital Streaming Platforms) are simply platforms where you can stream (listen/download) music from anywhere, anytime, on an internet connected device.

Some of the most popular DSPs include; Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Deezer, and without these online stores fans would not be able to easily discover and listen to your music online.

These and many others are basically where you go to listen to music of different genres, artists, as well as curate your own playlists or simply discover some amazing playlists.

These streaming and social media platforms make up the vast majority of the music market and also recently the social media challenge culture is also a huge opportunity for an artist to get a pretty decent exposure from their music whenever it’s used In a TikTok challenge, Instagram reel or YouTube Shorts.

But as earlier said, most platforms don’t allow the artist to upload their music directly, they require an intermediary where in this case a music distributor to upload the music on behalf of the Artist.

SoundCloud is among the few streaming platforms that allow “Direct Artist Uploads” at the moment. A few years down the line Spotify used to allow “Direct Artist Uploads” but later scrapped that feature and only allow uploads through a licensed music distributor.

The other reason why most DSPs don’t allow “Direct Artist Uploads” is because they don’t want to have to have to deal with the huge number of artist support queries coming from artists that use their platform.

It would be an administrative headache and increase their operational costs as well as the fact that if an artist wanted to implement any changes in their music/data, they would have to contact every single platform hosting their music which would cause unforeseen delays.

However, when a music distributor handles your music catalogue, they can process your changes at ago on all platforms.

– Pay Royalties

Whenever an artist’s music is streamed the streaming platforms/social media sites pay out royalties to the artist.

Now imagine if each streaming platform had to pay each and every artist directly, it would be too exhausting for them to keep track of how much each artist has/hasn’t been paid.

And this again is where the distributors come in to ease up the chain of distribution whereby the streaming platforms pay artist royalties through the distributors of each artists distributing their catalogue through them and inturn the distribution partner forwards and ensures those royalties are paid to the artists.

–  Provide Support

Just like how a Facebook user may contact the Facebook support team to fix an issue such as Cyber bulling or report offensive language.

Streaming platforms also have to deal with similar challenges that affect the artists and their music so it would be so hectic for them if they have to handle the grievances of the millions of artists out there.

That’s why music distributors are needed, they act as the help and support team in case an artist ever has an issue such as reporting copyright violation and many more.

The distributors save the streaming platforms the extra load of having to deal with multiple complaints from Artists.

If you are an artist or artist manager, digital music distribution is the most direct and effective way to reach your fans and reach audiences while earning royalties (income) from your music.

Click here to sign up with us today!