How to sell your songs through music distribution
As a musician, once you’ve recorded some original material and built up a fan base you may want to consider starting to generate some income for your music. When a fan base is built up and songs perfected you will want to get your music out there not just for the fans to hear, but also to make some income, but how does music distribution work?
There are 2 ways of selling your music with the public with music distribution:
- Physical sales
- Digital sales
Digital music distribution
Previously the main way to achieve music distribution was through making CD’s and distributing them into record shops and selling them at gigs. Although this is still the case, CD sales are in a massive decline these days due to the rise in technology and digital music sales. It’s also quite common that some releases aren’t even manufactured physically but for selling at gigs and events the CD can still be a good option to generate income and used as a marketing tool for people to take from the event. Some experts would advocate giving CD’s away free at each gig you perform at and potentially with CD manufacturer possible for as little as 50p a CD is a consideration for a bigger goal in winning over the loyalty of the fans.
Music distribution aggregators
To distribute your music to online retailers such as iTunes or Amazon MP3 you can consider using an ‘aggregator’. An aggregator is able to upload your music and also use other music distribution websites as a platform for your music. Dealing with the online retailers individually can be extremely time consuming and complex so a good tip is to save yourself the hassle and use an aggregator.
Avoid using more than one aggregator site when you go to sell your music. Using different aggregators will result in your track having multiple barcode numbers, resulting in two versions of the same content. Both copies will be removed.
There are many advantages to using aggregators:
- Allow you to sell your music through retailers who would not deal with an individual artist
- Help to sell to overseas markets whilst providing their own marketing support
Just because you can sell your music using aggregators doesn’t mean all the hard works done for you. Don’t expect people to stumble across your music. You will still need to work hard to promote your act; otherwise, your tracks will sit there untouched.
Although using an aggregator is advantageous for music distribution, be aware that it doesn’t mean that all the hard work’s done for you.
Music distribution may sound like the easy option but it doesn’t come without hard work. Don’t expect people to just stumble across your music online. You will still need to work hard to promote your music; otherwise, your tracks will sit there untouched, generate little or no sales and be a waste of time.
Music distribution types of aggregators
Songcast and Tunecore
- Both services require a small monthly subscription fee for their services
- There is a one-off payment to be made for every single/EP/album you upload. The prices vary depending on which you choose.
- Both distribute your music to a large selection of online retailers, such as iTunes, Amazon, Shazam, Spotify etc.
- You keep 100% of the royalties and all the rights to your music
- It is a month-by-month contract so you can cancel at any time! If an album/EP/single has been up for less than 8 months there will be a fee to remove each one from the site!
- Takes 2-3 weeks before your music will be on the sites! You will be paid monthly and can receive daily and weekly sales reports to see how each item you upload is selling!
- TuneCore also offers a Music Publishing Administration service. For a one-off fee, they offer a worldwide royalty collection service amongst other things!
- Ditto Music offers a similar service to TuneCore and SongCast. Your music gets distributed to a wide variety of online retailers and you keep all royalties and the rights to the music.
- Like the other sites, there is a one-off fee for uploading a single/EP/album, which then occurs a small monthly fee 12 months after uploading.
- Ditto can also offer the ability to get your music chart eligible
- Ditto offers a press promotion service, or if money is no problem they will do a full press campaign for your release!
- Ditto offers the ability to start up your own record label!
Avoid using more than one aggregator site when using music distribution. Using different aggregators will result in your track having multiple barcode numbers, resulting in two versions of the same content and both copies will be removed. The other thing to take note of is that if you have aspirations of making the charts whether nationally or specialist charts like the Indie chart you will need to ensure that they are registered as being chart eligible. It’s important to remember that streaming that counts towards the UK charts, so once you’ve sorted your music distribution, you’ll need to register to become chart eligible.
Sell your music on online stores
Lots of singers choose to sell your music with iTunes because it has the largest share of the digital market. Will be most likely place people will go to buy music. If you were going to try and guide fans anywhere, here would be the best bet. Selling enough copies to get into iTunes daily recommendation will do wonders to your music’s visibility to the public.
Amazon MP3 sell your music, Digital Rights management free. This means multiple people can access one copy of the track on any device. Allowing fans to share will boost your popularity!