You have finished that single that took incredible amounts of hours to create, many trips to the coffee machine and a lot of stressed-out nights, the next step is getting your music onto popular streaming platforms. Next step, How to choose the right distributor for you?
Where do you start? In order to release your music on all major streaming platforms, unless you have a label backing you, you need to find a music distributor that suits you.
This could be the start of your music career, and the beginning of what could be a beautiful professional friendship. Since you have found this article, I can take a good guess that you have already decided to take charge of your music career, strive for success and distribute your music online to start earning royalties from your music.
This article will help you determine what is important to you in a music distributor and show you where to start! Here are 5 things that you need to think about in order to find the right music distributor for you.
Let’s be honest, unless you are rolling in money, the pricing will be an important factor when you are deciding which distributor will release your next track.
This will help you determine which distribution price will suit you when releasing your music to major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal.
Different distributors have different pricing structures, here are some examples:
- Usually, there is a royalty fee cut, but with some, you might also be charged a monthly or yearly fee.
- The price might increase with every release you distribute and/or depending on how many digital music platforms you want to get your music on.
- Some of the fees might be recurring and some may be one-off payments.
Which one will suit you? That is for you to decide. You need to think about which pricing structure will provide you with the best value for the service you require.
I know, I know, this counts as Price but it is so important to check for hidden fees with a distributor that I think deserves its own point.
Equally important, many distributors hide their support or high values services behind an additional paywall. Every time they tell you about a service, make sure you ask if there are additional fees.
Yes, distributors often have popular music platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and Tidal. But you need to think about what platforms are a niche that you might be interested in.
TikTok or Snapchat
Ask every distributor for a full distribution list (don’t take the number they give you for granted, sometimes they count multiple platforms when it should only be one!)
SoundCloud is a great platform to check your distributor has. (You will be surprised by the amount that doesn’t distribute here.)
High customer support is at the heart of any major company so don’t leave it out when looking for a distribution partnership.
For me, this would be the top priority, I’d rather pay a higher amount for good support, but that is for you to decide.
Mistakes happen, human error is real, no company can be perfect but it’s how they deal with issues that define them. Imagine if when releasing your music, it goes on another artists page (yes, it happens), do you really want to wait two weeks to get a response from your distributor? No!
How can I ensure that I have good support from my music distributor?
Test them! It should be easy to reach a representative of the company and get a timely response. This should not take more than 2 working days! Test any distributor by reaching out to them and asking some questions about what they can offer you.
When you contact them note the number of avenues of contact they have, and if it is not obvious ask! The more ways to contact them the better support that they normally have: Social Media, Contact Number, Email. Some of the best distributors give you Manager to handle your music distribution needs.
While the success of your music is dependant on you and your promotion strategies, it’s good to see if your music distributor offers any support whenever possible. If a distributor offers you some extra exposure it is always an added bonus.
Some distributors offer playlists pitching on major music streaming services (which is always great because as a distributor their pitches sometimes carry more weight). Some distributors create fan links for you to promote your music, you should always remember to check if these come with any additional fees. (Again, Don’t forget to ask if this comes with additional charges)
While getting your music on popular streaming platforms may be your main concern right now, you need to think about your music once it goes live.
Protecting your music against it being stolen is extremely important.
Ask your distributor if they offer digital rights management to protect your releases. This is important when trying to choose the right music distributor for you.
(Don’t forget to ask if this comes with additional charges)
Don’t forget figuring out who is the right distributor for you is not always a quick process. Now you know some of the top things to consider why you are working out how to choose the right music distributor for you next you might be wondering where do I look?
As always, Google is a saving grace for any independent artist. If you are hoping to get straight into finding the distributor for you here is a list of some of the moment popular music distributors:
- Identity Music
Yes, we have more Top Tips to share!
Finally here are a few final tips and track to get you on your way.
Don’t forget to always ask any distributor you approach these questions. It is worth waiting for the answer too! Similarly, the answer to every question below should be – “No, these come with no additional charges”
- Do I pay for ISRCs & UPC codes?
- Are there charges for choosing which date to release my music on?
- Do you create pre-saves and fan-links for me to promote my release? If so how much does this cost?
- If I require takedowns or changes to my music or metadata, how much does this cost?
- Do I get charged for you to send my music to DRM (Digital Right Management) services?
As an independent artist, it is important that you maintain a positive mindset while developing your music career. Always encourage other artists to be their best selves and offer advice when you have it. When you find out How to choose the right music music distributor, share it with your fellow creators.
At Identity Music we distribute, protect and promote your music worldwide. We offer innovative solutions for independent music artists and record labels to share their music with the world. Our industry leading music services enable you to sell your music without all the hassle and daunting upfront fees.
LEARN MORE ABOUT IDENTITY MUSIC
If you would like any assistance or further guidance, contact Identity Music for more information.