Music distribution is probably as old as the music business.
There are many rumours about music distribution. Not to mention that everyone seems to have an idea about it.
However, do you really know what a distributor does? Besides getting your music into Spotify or other streaming platforms.
Don’t worry, I’ve got you. Here is all you need to know about distribution.
Important to realize, not all distributors have the same quality work ethic. In fact, there are important differences to be aware of.
What exactly is music distribution?
If you release music you will do that on different formats or products. You may release it physically and put our CDs or Vinyl.
Of course, you’ll probably want to see your music online in all the popular streaming platforms like Spotify for example.
In the traditional music industry, you would have a record label. For this reason, the label would work together with the distribution. As a matter of fact, the musician hardly ever got in touch with music distribution.
However, this traditional music business is less and less happening. Namely because of the digital transformation. Also, due to musicians taking their faith in their own hands and going DIY.
In that sense, music distribution becomes much more important for musicians. If you don’t have a label to do the production work for you then you need to figure things out yourself.
All of a sudden, distribution platforms like CD Baby, Distrokit or Landr popped up to fill the gap.
The differences in music distribution.
Here is the kicker. When you start out as a musician, you’re probably really happy to understand enough of the music business to know about music distribution in the first place.
With this in mind, you might be tempted to just sign up with one of those big music distribution platforms mentioned above.
Point often overlooked, the thing that makes a good distributor is their relationships with the actual shops. This is crazy, every day there is so much new music happening.
A good distributor has all the important contacts and the ability to push releases to the shops. Moreover to all shops, physical like Rough Trade or digital like Amazon Music.
Using those big music distribution platforms puts in question how good their individual contact with the personal on the shop side is in effect. Nor does it proof that they really have the time to push each release.
Since those platforms don’t curate the uploading in any way, they also push music in a non-curated way. Yes, your music is delivered to streaming platforms.
The question is, however, is it really promoted and pushed to receive attention?
How to get in contact with the ‘selective distributors’
If you want to work together with one of the more selective distributors who really have the time and power to promote your music to the shops, then you need to pitch it.
As a matter of fact, there isn’t really a difference between pitching to a record label and music distribution.
As an illustration, it could be a really good idea to prepare a press kit. Perhaps you can even make an Electronic Press Kit.
Herein you can collect all important press clippings or quotes you have from press coverage. In case you have already had radio play, that could be a good idea to mention. Also, don’t forget your social media including YouTube.
As well as any streaming playlisting or engagement. Once this corona situation is finally over, you could also include your tour dates.
A detailed plan of the future releases and what you’ve planned in the long term. Nobody will give you a slot if you only want to release one EP and then see what happens.
Also, any PR campaign plans for print and social media could be really helpful for the pitch. Basically, anything that shows you are serious and with the try.
What else to do to build up the framework for getting a music distribution deal?
In case you are not quite ready for pitching there are many other things you can do to help to build up the framework. If your funds are limited, spend it wisely on super targeted ads to amp up your social media numbers.
Perhaps you then can think about working with a digital consultant or a PR agency. They really can help you work on your narrative and performance. There is an old saying about when you know you need a manager though.
You need a manager when they will find you.
Without a doubt, the single most important thing you can do to get into music distribution is to work on your music and your skills.
Take a moment and really work up a practise schedule. In like manner, work on your network, go to online meetups.
Really make sure to get out there and have your music in the out and open. Learn and get better. And when you are ready, go and conquer music distribution!
More music business tips & tricks:
- VPN for SEO. The SuperHero Tool You Had No Idea You Needed.
- The Biggest YouTube Channels In Music. And What You Can Learn From Them
- Do You Want To Make Music Professionally? Here Are 5 To Do’s To Get You Going!