Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Comparison Of Online Music Distributors

Here's an interesting chart that I found (my apologies, but I can't remember where) that provides a nice overview of some of the popular online music distribution services. With all the hoopla over Tunecore recently raising their prices, it's interesting to see that they're really not that out of line when you look at a side by side comparison.

So which one should you choose? Price isn't always the most important element of your decision. Things like free UPC codes and which stores and subscription services they service are also important. Ultimately, the general feel of the distributor and their user interface may have more of an affect on your decision than anything, so make sure you check them all out before making your choice.
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marsiano said...

you forgot to add the annual renewal rates. I think CD Baby is one time only charge for an album (that's why they keep a percentage of sales), while Tunecore you pay the fixed fee each year

Faza (TCM) said...

First off, I agree with Marsiano - annual rates can be a killer if the product isn't selling year-on-year. Taking the long view, a one-off payment such as a UPC isn't really a major consideration - sell enough and you'll make it back. Maintenance costs are something else entirely and that's the main reason people are complaining about TuneCore.

Which brings me to the second point: as far as distribution goes, price is the most important consideration.

We require very little in terms of service from distributors: prompt delivery and prompt accounting pretty much exhaust the list. In terms of stores and services available, there isn't really much room for differentiation - iTunes and Amazon nail the majority of the downloads market and there aren't that many important streaming services either. Pretty much everyone is servicing the major outlets and the minor ones don't really account for any significant revenue.

Having said that, I of course agree that you should shop around before picking one. However, deciding on "general feel" or user interface is just stupid. They're supposed to get your music in stores and pay you any money owing - not make you feel warm and fuzzy. The less you have to pay for these simple services, the better for you.


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