Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Questions To Ask When Choosing A Music Distributor

Digital Distributors image
The easiest way to submit your music to a digital distribution service like iTunes or Spotify is to use what’s known as an aggregator. An aggregation service submits your songs or album to multiple services all over the world, and also collects the royalty for downloads or streams. 

There are more than 40 digital aggregators doing business around the world, but they all fall into two basic categories; they take a percentage of sales or you pay a fee. Examples of services that take a percentage are CD Baby, Louder, Mondotunes and Bandcamp. Services that charge on a per album or song basis include Tunecore and ReverbnationSome services, like Distrokidjust require a yearly fee for unlimited submissions.

Some questions to ask when comparing services include:
  • Do they report to Neilsen Soundscan?
  • Do you maintain your rights over your music and publishing?
  • How often they provide a sales report?
  • How often do they pay?
  • What other services do they offer?
  • Is there a setup fee for each release?
  • Do they supply ISRC codes or barcodes?
  • Will you continue to receive royalties if you stop paying the monthly or yearly fee?
  • How many outlets do they distribute to?
  • Is there a take down fee to remove your songs or album for the service?
  • Can they arrange iTunes pre-order sales?
  • Are there any additional charges that aren't obvious?
There are a lot of options between aggregators and there is no clear choice between them all. For more information, there are plenty of comparison sites online, but be sure that the service that you choose best suites you needs without any unforeseen surprises.

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1 comment:

Mike Pailthorpe said...

Bandcamp is not an aggregator, it's a digital shop.
Another question you should answer for yourself is "who owns this aggregator, and how likely is it to be providing this service in two year's time?"
"Do you provide any promotion with this service, or is it just a straight transfer onto an iTunes database?"
"Is this worldwide distribution, or just US, or UK/EU etc" - there are several territories and not all are either covered or maybe even wanted by you.
"How many services will you supply? Will you automatically put this music on Spotify, Rhapsody, Beats etc?"
"How much does a track/album/repertoire have to earn before it hits your payment threshold?"
Feel free to edit your blog to include these.


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