Music distribution: What every artist needs to know
Music Distribution is about making an impact more than making something available.
Even if you’re a Grammy-winner putting out your 10th studio album, you need distribution for your music.
The songs have to move from you to your listeners. The problem is your listeners access music in dozens of different ways, in hundreds of different places. That’s where music distribution comes in.
Let’s break it down.
What is music distribution?
According Google, “distribution” is:
- the action of sharing something out among a number of recipients.
- the action or process of supplying goods to stores and other businesses that sell to consumers.
Music Distribution is both of those things. A third-party such as MusicDiffusion takes your music and handles:
- Digital distribution, making your music available to download stores and streaming services platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora Premium, Amazon, etc.
- Monetization services, helping you earn money for the usage of your music on YouTube, Facebook, in TV shows, and more.
Why do I need a distributor for my music?
Your should ask yourself “Why can’t an unsigned artist get their songs onto Spotify and Apple Music directly?”
To put it clear, you as the artist are not their customer. Your fans are their customers. These companies don’t want to take on the substantial customer service and development burden of dealing directly with millions of musicians. That’s where distributors come in.
At MusicDiffusion, our principle client is YOU — and we create the systems, artist tools, communication channels, and informational resources you need so you can upload your music ONCE and make it available worldwide in a successful way.
Imagine having to create separate accounts and upload your music and artwork files for each and every digital music platform! Imagine the accounting headaches! Imagine the emails in your inbox!
MusicDiffusion serves as a buffer between the creator of the music and the outlets that make that music available. But more importantly for you, we save you — the artist or label — a ton of time and work.
The eight most valuable aspects of music distribution through MusicDiffusion
1. A wide partner network of DSPs and media outlets
You want to make sure that when your music gets out there, it gets OUT there, worldwide, in every possible place listeners are looking for you. MusicDiffusion will deliver your music to all major stores and platforms worldwide, so you can rest easy that you’ve got coverage.
But let’s be real. To varying degrees based on your genre and location, most of your activity is going to come from a handful of giants.
Some of the most important digital music services in the United States and Europe are:
- Spotify – The leader in interactive music streaming, with both paid subscription and ad-supported options.
- Apple Music – Apple’s powerful on-demand streaming service, with a heavy focus on curated playlists.
- iTunes – The biggest player in the music download business since its launch in 2004.
- Amazon – The undisputed giant of online retail has both download and subscription streaming options.
- Google Play – The easiest way to access digital music with an Android device.
- Tidal – Offering high-fidelity digital music and exclusive content at a premium to subscribers.
- YouTube – Though known as a video platform, YouTube is actually one of the dominant players in music streaming and discovery.
- Pandora Premium – The paid interactive offering from the popular internet radio service.
- Deezer – An intuitive interactive streaming service competing for global listeners.
The thing is that Platforms rise and fall in popularity with some frequency, so you need to be everywhere.
2. Speedy music delivery to digital platforms
MusicDiffusion has long-standing relationships with the big digital music platforms, and we’ve developed a distribution system that combines fast delivery with manual (human!) inspection of every release, so if you spelled a track title incorrectly or listed the wrong publisher for a cover song, we’ll catch it!
Yes, MusicDiffusion can deliver your music to our digital partners in a heartbeat, but are you really rushing your release so quickly that you need it live RIGHT NOW with zero strategy?
Let’s plan this out. Let’s spend some time so you can take advantage of all the opportunities MusicDiffusion can offer, including:
[But okay okay, sure, if you just got the masters for your album and you want the music live by Saturday, we’re not going to say no.]
3. Trust and reliability
In 2018 we revolutionized the independent music industry, giving independent artists and music labels their first chance to reach a worldwide audience on their own terms and at the best price.
Since our founding we’ve knocked down the barriers to digital distribution, as well as:
All of this is done with one mission in mind: empower independent artists and music labels, let them keep their rights and decide what’s best for their own, and pay them every single month. We’re immensely proud, and every day we feel honored by the thousands musicians who’ve entrusted us with one of the most important things in their lives, their own music.
4. A sensible fee structure
There’s a cycle of growth and decline for every music release. This is the nature of things.
It’s not easy to pay a large annual fee in order to keep your music on digital download and streaming platforms once sales for that older material are on the decline. Those annual fees can add up; the larger your catalog gets, the more you pay each year to keep all your music available.
You definitely don’t want to feel the pressure ten years down the line to drop another few hundred bucks in annual fees, otherwise your older stuff which is no longer selling that well is gonna get removed!
The smarter approach is to release a lot of music, build your catalog over a lifetime, put all that music to work for you, and NOT worry about annual fees. That’s why MusicDiffusion partners with you; we only make money when you do.
5. Robust services
With MusicDiffusion’s standard distribution, you get much more than digital distribution to outlets like iTunes and Spotify.
With MusicDiffusion, you get digital distribution plus:
- YouTube monetization
- Shazam Recognization
- sync licensing
- free online marketing tools
- and much more
With our MusicDiffusion Publishing package you get all of that plus worldwide publishing rights administration, helping you collect global publishing royalties that would otherwise be very difficult (if not impossible) to collect without a publisher, including:
- All mechanical royalties from Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming sites. These are generated from every single stream
- All international mechanical royalties from download stores like iTunes. These are generated from every single sale
- All performance royalties from streaming services (like Spotify), radio, TV, live concert performances and much more
- Global YouTube publishing administration for any video on YouTube that contains your music
- Hundreds of other sources of songwriting and publishing royalties from around the world
6. Clean and detailed metadata assurances
All indicators point to the fact that we’re approaching an era where digital outlets will demand correct and thorough details about every track on their platform, including songwriter info, publishing splits, and more.
Luckily for you, MusicDiffusion has been requesting this kind of information from our artist and label clients since its opening. While that might take you a few more minutes to complete the submission form, it also means you’ve taken care of something that will almost certainly be required by digital services down the line.
7. Curatorial and editorial reach
We don’t just send your music to our partners and wish you the best. We want to find the most noteworthy releases, the best new music, the overlooked gems of our catalog, and tell the world about it.
- Thousands of music-buyers and music professionals receive our Discover Music newsletter.
- With our own famous music label Most Wanted Music, we also have a team that is dedicated to finding and promoting the best new releases to our digital partners’ editorial teams, seeking opportunities for official Spotify playlist placements, iTunes banners, and more. You can submit your music for consideration HERE.
8. Accessible artist support
We’re approachable. You can get a hold of us. We have a detailed online Help Center so you can get your questions answered 24/7. You can email us and we’ll respond quickly. And yes, you can chat directly with us (during business hours).
MusicDiffusion gives you so much more than just digital music distribution
We hope you’ll consider us for your next release, because yes, we can deliver your music lightning-fast to all major music platforms, but mostly for all the other stuff we provide — the extra reach, the manual metadata inspection, the strategic release options. That “other” stuff is anything but extra. That’s the way to making an impact more than simply making your music available.
This article was inspired by DIY Musician & CD BABY’s news “Music distribution: What every artist needs to know”. Find the complete article on https://diymusician.cdbaby.com
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