Ready to jump into distribution? Here are the steps to follow and master digital distribution.
1. Find The Right Digital Distribution Platform
Now you might be wondering the way to get your music on platforms like iTunes, Spotify and all the other major stores. The first step is to find out for yourself the right online music distribution platform.
Get to know the major distribution platforms:
LANDR is the distribution service that lets you access to professional mastering and global distribution all in one place. Distribution plans start at just $20 per year, or you can permanently put up a single track for $9. You keep 100% of copyrights, so you’ll always keep full ownership of anything you put online through LANDR distribution.
Releasing with LANDR gets your music on over 250 music stores and platforms including Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon. It even gives you an easy-to-follow reporting dashboard to track your success and fan base to make important decisions about your next moves as an artist. Big in Sweden? Time to book a tour.
Our Favourite LANDR feature: We’re a little biased here, but our favorite LANDR release feature has to be the price and the ability to keep 100% of your copyrights. It makes LANDR the distribution service that independent musicians can depend on.
At the end of the day we know that you just want to get your music out in the world. Which is why we’re happy to be offering such a simple and effective way to do it that’s artist-first and transparent.
There’s multiple pricing plans with different features and benefits, so stop by and take a look at what we’re offering.
TuneCore brings you to worldwide digital distribution for albums, singles and ringtones. It also gives you a Music Publishing Administration pack that helps you to get royalties and syncs.
TuneCore will get you on: iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, YouTube Music and more.
One TuneCore feature: the Music Publishing Administration is a one stop shop for licensing your music. Their statistics are among the best to track the way your releases are selling.
Check their pricing here.
Get to both digital and physical (CD and vinyl) distribution worldwide with CD Baby. Distribute albums or singles. You can also get sync licensing for TV, film, and games here.
CD Baby will get you on: iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music, Tidal, YouTube Music and more.
Our favorite CD Baby feature: The combo between physical and digital distribution allows you access a full distro package. They’re the only who collect SoundExchange (Rights Owner) royalties for you (thanks for the tip Ari).
Check their pricing here.
Symphonic distributes your music worldwide. They get all your music marketing, licensing and publishing needs fulfilled. Symphonic provides both physical and digital distribution service.
Our favorite Symphonic feature: it gets your music on Beatport, especially suitable for electronic projects.
Check their pricing here.
Record Union gives you global digital distribution. Get your music on all major online music platforms – like Tidal, Juno Download and Beatport. Through a partnership with Sony Music, Record Union offers artist opportunities that will help you get heard by listeners.
A Record Union feature: their upgraded Discovery Tool gives your music more visibility. They’re also among the only distributors to offer distribution on Juno Download.
Find out more about their pricing.
MondoTunes provides you with the largest online music distribution channel in the world. It reaches hundreds of online stores and streaming companies in more than 140 countries.
MondoTunes will get you on: iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music, Tidal, Beatport and more.
Our favorite MondoTunes feature: Unlimited uploads through the largest digital distribution channel in the world.
Sell and market your digital music worldwide with iMusician.
iMusician helps independent artist and labels to sell and monetize their music online through streams and downloads on online stores.
They also take care of YouTube and Facebook monetization through Content ID, offering personalized support in several languages.
They offer an encrypted ‘music locker’ that will help you prove that music belongs to you.
Self-release your music and sell it on Bandcamp. Unlike those music distribution platforms above, Bandcamp doesn’t get your music on other online stores (iTunes, etc). It’s a stand-alone online store. It allows you to sell physical merch or self-release CDs.
Read more about Bandcamp.
Topspin is another music digital store and a marketing platform for musicians. It lets you sell your music (physical and digital), your merch and show tickets. Like Bandcamp, this doesn’t put your music on other platforms ( such as iTunes, Spotify, etc). Instead it allows you to embed it on your website or Facebook.
Our favorite TopSpin feature: it’s similar to Bandcamp but with the added email feature. Collect your fan’s emails and keep in touch with them.
Check their pricing here.
Choose the best one for you
Each of these platforms has their own pricing. It’s either:
- a set fee per album/single
- a yearly fee
- a percentage of your record sales (10-25%).
Plan carefully your budget: read each distributor’s pricing plans and terms.
Remember that a distributor is a new professional partnership. Choose the most beneficial one for you. Make sure the distributor fits your needs, your resources, and your goals.
2. Make Your Music Searchable
In traditional distribution artists had to submit a ‘>one-sheet’. That’s literally one page that contains all the info about your record (artist name, album title, release date, a short bio, genre, etc.)
The equivalent in the digital world is metadata. These are the short descriptions and keywords that make it easy to classify and find something on the web.
Metadata is crucial in digital distribution. All digital distributors ask for this information. That’s how people browse for music online – especially with genre. You want your potential fans to find your music easily.
So when you submit your album for digital distribution, include a list of metadata:
- artist name
- title (of album or single)
- the release date
- record label
- track titles
- composer information
- artist bio
Make it short. Use the most common words. Make it simple and timeless: avoid using trendy words or hashtags. You want people to find your music 30 years from now!
3. Promote Promote Promote
“Your distributor will only be as good as your marketing plans to sell the record. Don’t expect them to do your [promotional] work for you.” – Indie Bible
Make sure you have a realistic budget for your promotion. Distribution companies tend to focus their promotional efforts on top-selling artists.
So do your own thing – create a powerful social media presence and put yourself out there.
Create buzz about your album even before it drops. Post sneak previews of your jam sessions to Instagram. Play a show in your studio and live stream it. Post 30 second previews of your tracks to SoundCloud.
Get your music to as many ears as possible. Use radio play, blogs, shows, word-of-mouth, and any other way you can think of to get your name out there. Send those emails and make those phone calls. There’s no hack around it!
Physical distributors are closing their doors. What if that means better alternatives for you?
Digital distribution now gives all artists a chance: “Whether an artist sells 500 albums or 500,000, they should be housed in the same place and treated with the same level of respect” says the A&R for EMPIRE.
Having a solid digital distribution track record is like having a stellar CV. It’ll get you better shows, better visibility and more negotiating power.
Digital distribution is the most direct route to the ears of fans. Do it right! Do it digital!