What percentage does a music distributor take?
Depending on the service, the distributor charges a flat per-song/album fee, an annual recurring subscription toll, or a percentage-based commission of up to 15%.
How do Music Distribution Deals Work?
Music distribution deals are becoming increasingly important and complex in the modern music industry. Artists of all genres and levels use them to get their music heard, attract fans, and earn money from streams, downloads, and physical copies.
Understanding the details and terminology surrounding music distribution can be difficult, but knowing how it works will help you make the most of your music career.
What is Music Distribution?
Music distribution is the process of sending an artist’s music to digital service providers and retailers so that it can be made available to fans. It involves creating digital copies of the songs and then sending them to distribution services where they can be purchased or streamed through streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
The artist earns money from these sales and streams, and the distribution service keeps a portion as its fee. Distribution deals come in many forms and vary depending on the specifics of the agreement between the artist and the distributor.
Types of Music Distribution Deals
Music distribution deals come in a few different forms:
An exclusive deal is when the artist signs a contract with a single distributor and agrees not to distribute the music through any other services. This type of deal offers the most security and control, as the artist will work with only one partner and can be sure their music will be distributed exactly as planned.
For more flexibility, an artist can choose a non-exclusive deal. This means the artist is free to distribute their music on multiple services, but the distributor still takes a fee from the sales.
Many distribution services offer free plans, which allow the artist to distribute their music without any fees or commitments. It’s a great way to get started in the industry, but the music may not be available on all platforms and the artist doesn’t earn income from sales.
Benefits of Music Distribution Deals
Music distribution deals come with a range of potential benefits for artists, including:
- Making your music available on streaming services and digital music stores
- Generating revenue from streams and downloads
- Improving your visibility and reach
- Helping you track and measure your success
- Connecting you to potential fans, promoters, and partners
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I choose a music distributor?
Choosing the right distributor depends on your goals and the type of music you make. Research different options to see which one is right for you and offers the services you need.
- How do I get paid when my music is streamed or downloaded?
Your music distributor will usually collect payments on your behalf and remit them periodically. It’s important to check the payment schedule and payout minimums of any distributor before signing a deal.
- How long does it take for my music to appear on services?
Most distribution services aim to have your music available within a few days, but it depends on the size of their catalogue, the type of music you make, and the services you’re targeting.
- Do I need to do anything after I sign a distribution deal?
Yes, you will need to promote your music to help it gain traction. This usually involves creating an online presence and building relationships with fans, labels, journalists, and other industry contacts.
Music distribution deals are an important and often necessary part of the modern music industry. Understanding the different types of deals, the benefits they offer, and the terms can help you get started in the right way and make the most of your music career.