Music Distribution Deal: How to Get Them in 2024?

Putting your music out there is a major step, and getting a distribution deal is about sharing it with as many listeners as you can. In today’s music scene, being online is key. Platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and others are where people discover and enjoy music the most. That’s why it’s vital to secure a distribution deal that gets your song on these platforms and earns you money for each play. Luckily, distribution services nowadays make this whole process simpler than you’d imagine. Let’s dive into what music distribution deal involve and how you get paid when your music goes live.

What is a Distribution Deal?

Music Distribution Deal

A distribution deal is when an artist and a distribution company agree to sell the artist’s music, either physically or digitally.

These deals have been around since the days of vinyl records, CDs, and tapes.

In the past, distribution companies focused on getting artists’ records into stores.

Today, distribution deals involve much more than just physical sales. There are various factors that set distribution services apart from each other.

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How do Music Distribution Deals Work?

There are two types of music distribution companies, and their deals work differently.

  1. Distributors that partner with record labels.
  2. Distribution service providers that are open to anyone.

Let’s explore each type.

How record label distributors work

Distribution companies partnered with record labels have strong ties with streaming platforms’ curators and managers.

They don’t just upload your music to streaming services; they leverage their connections to promote your music to playlist curators.

However, this personalized service is usually pricey and selective.

You must be a well-established artist with consistent output to attract attention from these label-affiliated services. They also take a portion of your royalties.

Yet, if you’re connected, working with label distributors can help showcase your music to key decision-makers and boost your chances of success.

How independent music distribution services work

The other type of distribution deal is about releasing music on streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.

These services help format your tracks correctly for streaming. They also manage streaming payments and provide reports on your song’s performance.

They make it simple for anyone to release their own music, supporting the growing trend of independent artists.

Nowadays, artists can easily distribute their music without signing a record deal, thanks to these services.

How Music Distributors Pay Artists

When you sign a deal with a record label or a distribution service, they both handle payments for your music streams.

How do these services earn money, and how does it affect your streaming earnings?

What percentage does a distributor take?

If you choose a service like LANDR, DistroKid, or TuneCore, they don’t take any percentage of your streaming royalties anymore! Instead, you pay an annual subscription fee to use their services.

Deals with record labels work differently. They don’t ask for upfront fees; instead, they take a portion of your streaming earnings.

That’s why label services often work with big artists and focus on building relationships with playlist curators—they need artists with large followings that generate many streams.

Do distribution deals offer advances?

Distribution services usually don’t give advances.

In my experience, a band I was in received a small advance from a label that partnered with a distributor.

So, some distribution deals might include advances, but typically only if you’re working with a label or a small publishing company.

How to Get Your Music Out There

If you’re new to the music scene and releasing your first song, your best option is to use a music distribution service. They’ll help you get your music on Spotify, Apple Music, and other big streaming platforms.

You can start the process now and then focus on promoting your album or single launch.

Building connections with labels that manage their own distribution takes time.

To catch their eye, you need to release a few solid songs, grow your social media following, and network in the music industry.

So, start with a distribution service and concentrate on creating your best music.

Can I release music without a distributor?

No, you can’t. You have to work with a distribution service to get your music on Spotify, Apple Music, or any other streaming platform.

Is a Music Distribution Deal Worth it?

Absolutely! Whether you’re going solo with a distribution service or teaming up with a record label, getting your music out there is a major step.

Now that you understand how music distribution deals work in 2024, wrap up your record and get ready for that release!

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