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Music Distribution – How To Get Your Music Out There!
March 19, 2021 •
15 min read
In the age of the internet, it’s very important to know how to upload your music to major DSPs and other streaming services if you want to get your music out there. Music distribution has been an issue for bands and solo musicians for a very long time. The never-ending search for the best outlet is a struggle that most artists have since early in their careers.
Although streaming services have certainly helped with this task, many musical acts still don’t know how to navigate the digital world so their music can get to as many people as possible.
If you feel like you fit this description, keep reading the following article. We’ll give you an overview on how the system has changed through the years and some useful tips to secure your royalties.
Then and now: what changed through the years
You’re probably prompted to think about music stores when we talk about music distribution with no context. Remember those places with aisles and aisles of CDs and LPs available for purchase? Those stores made it possible for people to touch the products and maybe get a sneak peek with earphones attached to bar-code readers.
Truth is a lot has changed since the days you could roam through the aisles to try and find your favorite band. Now, those stores are far and few between. The experience of buying a physical copy became more of a collector’s business.
From an industry’s perspective, the shift from this former dynamic cut off many of the middlemen involved in the process. Getting physical records into stores most times required a joint deal between studios, labels, producers, distributors, store owners and so on – each of these parts would get a cut of the profits along the way.
This system still exists today even though it doesn’t make the bulk of how most music is distributed. With the internet, show business took a hit and artists had to find better ways to distribute their work efficiently.
All around the world, people were spending more time – and money – on the internet than they were on physical stores. The less expensive prices are another reason why digital has come on top. Suddenly, all those middlemen were no longer in the picture and artists could get a bigger cut of the profits.
Now, music distribution is focusing on streaming services. Finally, independent bands and solo artists are able to put their work up on the same “shelves” as other great artists with well-known careers.
What is digital music distribution
Defining what is music distribution can be a tricky task. A lot has changed through the years. From physical copies of records sold on megastores to mp3 revenues on iTunes and finally the streaming services.
Even though the technology changed our preferred media, one thing remains the same: there has to be a channel to get your music out there.
Cutting it short, one could say that music distribution is about getting songs from the musicians to their audiences in the best way possible. This is why choosing the right media to get your music across is such a primal part of the job.
Deciding how to distribute the music is essential to artists that want to live off of their art. All the promotion on social media and live performances are about amplifying your audience to as many people as possible. This could be an even more challenging task if we’re dealing exclusively with expensive hard copies.
Luckily, now artists worldwide can rely on digital free music distribution services to facilitate this process and get their music out there. Furthermore, the digital process became significantly cheaper. We are now skipping the middlemen that are usually involved in the distribution of physical records of our songs, albums or EP. And as we make the process shorter, the artists get to keep a bigger share of the profits.
There are a lot of different music distribution services out there with different fees. If you choose to upload your songs with Magroove+, you get to keep 100% of all net revenues. We only keep the first USD 5 each release generates yearly to cover our administrative costs.
Music distribution in the age of streaming
As you must’ve gathered by now, a lot has changed in the music industry since we rolled out into the 2000s. You must be asking yourself now “how can I upload my song to Spotify and other major DSPs, like Amazon Music For Artists?”
In the past, all bands and artists had to look for record labels to sign off their work for revenue. Those labels would then have the right to commercialize their artist’s discography and negotiate printing rights. After that, distributors would come into play and organize how to strategically ship records to stores all over the globe. The main destination for those CDs, vinyls and cassette tapes would be music-only stores.
Once enough people got internet access and learned how to rip songs from a CD to their computer, it all came tumbling down. Music piracy was a much bigger problem then and that became clear in the drastic drop of sales revenue around this era.
Soon enough, illegal downloads proved to be a hassle both to industry and costumers. The lack of quality control here had a lot of people struggling with computer virus and low fidelity music in the early 2000. Then, there was the streaming.
In 2003, Apple was the first company to bet customers would prefer to buy and download music for less than a dollar for a track with a simple service. And they were right. The service was called iTunes Music Store.
Today, music aggregator services – such as Spotify and Deezer – have made it much easier for artists to release new music. On the other hand, customers can access entire discographies from their phones. The competition between the streaming services is mostly based on the size of their music catalogs and availability in different territories and mobile platforms.
Even though digital distribution has been the main route, the traditional path is still very much a thing. We still have big artists going through the labels and record deals in order to publicize their work. Unfortunately, this is not viable for every artist.
Big record labels only have room for a handful of acts. So, moving forward independently seems to be the answer for those who don’t want to wait around for a contract.
Why you should be on music distribution services
Over the years, physical distribution of records has been losing its power to the convenience of streaming services.
According to the IFPI latest report, streaming revenues have increased 11,5% in 2022. By the end of the year, they were responsible for incredibly 67% of all sales in the music industry. During the same period, physical copies` revenue had a smaller rise, just 4%. On the other hand, download revenue decreased by 11,7%.
The massive figures of the streaming companies gets even more impressive. In 10 years, its revenues went from USD 0,9 billion in 2012 to USD 17,5 billions in 2022. IFPI also informed Europe corresponds to more than a quarter of the streaming global revenues. In Latin America, this kind of service dominated more than 85% of the music market - remembering Brazil is the TOP 9 music market in 2022, as reported by the organization.
In keeping with Grand View Research studies, the global music streaming market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 14,7% between 2022 and 2030. The revenue forecast for 2030 is around USD 103,07 billions.
The same survey pointed out the lockdowns to contain the coronavirus led to an increase of subscribers on music streaming platforms during the period. It also boosted live streaming on spaces like Instagram and Youtube. Covid-19 had a significant impact on the expansion of the market. With the global recovery from the pandemic, these platforms should continue to maintain the pace of growth.
Physical copies represented only 17,5% of all the sales in the music industry. Downloads accounted for 3,6%, says IFPI. Over a decade, its physical copies` revenues fell from USD 6,9 billions in 2012 to USD 4,6 billions in 2022.
As we face this data, it’s easy to understand why going through with digital distribution is the logical answer. And when it comes to music streaming, Spotify leads the global market with more than 500 million users worldwide.
Advantages of working with digital distribution
There are so many advantages of going forward with a digital music distribution service. Check out some of the pros you’ll enjoy if you decide to go through this path:
- Bigger audience: We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying it again. Over the last few years, streaming services have gained the public’s preference. If you decide to invest in digital distribution, you’ll reach a much bigger audience then you would be with physical records. The numbers don’t lie and streaming services seem to be the direction the data points us to.
- Global availability: One of the reasons why digital has become the focal point for users is because it’s so much easier to access. Nowadays, we can check out a new release with just a few clicks. If your music is available in a lot of different countries, you can reach a global audience.
- Less costs: The technology of streaming services has not only made it easier but a lot cheaper to distribute music. It’s safe to say that digital distribution costs nothing when compared to physical. Here, we don’t have to deal with printing rights, shipping, marketing and sales taxes.
- More freedom: Another pro often mentioned by musicians that choose this route is that many distributors don’t have exclusivity deals. So, unlike it happens in label contracts, the artists are free to move their work to another distributor anytime they see it fit.
- Increase your sales: CDs and music in stores are not accessible for everyone. Having your song available on digital platforms means the audience will be able to meet your work for free at first. People prefer to buy products of artists they know and like, so it can boost your sales.
- Easier to chart: In the past, the only way to make your music go to the charts was getting plenty of radio plays. Even if most artists don't have the resources to do so. Today, important charts like Billboard Hot 100 take streaming plays from platforms like Spotify for account. A good music distributor can help you to put your music on the top.
- Organic public: One of the most famous parts of the streaming platforms are the algorithms. It directs recommendations to the users according to its preferences. This means they can be invited to check out your previous work or other songs on the same album. Or your track can be played after another from the same genre, thanks to the mechanism of autoplay. Playlists also have a huge role in promoting music to new audiences.
Using metadata to secure your royalties
Coined by The Verge as the biggest little problem plaguing the music industry, the incorrect use of metadata should be looked upon closely by artists that distribute their music digitally.
Whenever a user plays a song on streaming services, the royalties are shared proportionally between every professional that worked on the track. The correct distribution of the profits depends on having an efficient metadata, though. That is, filling out the credits with correct spelling of everyone’s names.
Unfortunately, the data is often misspelled or even left out for two main reasons. First, there’s no standardized format for that information in the music industry. The differences between a label’s database from Spotify’s database, as an example, leads to losing information in the process.
Human error is the second factor here. Sometimes the label can fat-finger one of the producer’s name, leading to that person never being able to cash their royalties. Because of those mistakes, wrong metadata sometimes cause to be left billions of unpaid profits around the world.
In this day and age, songs often have multiple writers, producers and publishers involved. Whenever there’s something wrong with the data, all of those music professionals can go unpaid for years’ worth of hard work.
A lot has changed in the music industry through the years. The internet has thoroughly revolutionized the way people listen to their favorite artists. Now, streaming services are the top pick and physical records became collector’s items.
In a world where most people use music aggregators like Spotify and YouTube, it only makes sense to prioritize your distribution through these outlets.
So, if you’re looking for the best way to get your music out there, digital music distribution is certainly the way to go.
Magroove Music Distribution
And you can find all the benefits from the music distribution world with Magroove for free! The company distributes your songs to more than 40 high accessed demand-side platforms (DSPs) worldwide, like Spotify, Youtube Music, iTunes, Deezer, Tidal, Amazon MP3, Google Play Music, iHeart Radio, Pandora, Shazam, AWA, SoundCloud, and many others. The track is also added to the firm’s discovery page, allowing other viewers and participants to reach it.
Magroove is always on all trends. Grand View Research study elected Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Deezer, Pandora, and Tidal as some of the main prominent players in the global music streaming. The music distributor also put your song on social media like TikTok and Facebook.
Social media are considered one of the most important keys to success nowadays. TikTok, for example, transformed the music industry forever in the last years. Plenty of songs went viral thanks to the app. So it is crucial to have your work in its library. Magroove does that for you!
But how to put your music into Magroove?
The musician can upload unlimited songs. The firm will generate the International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) if they don’t have it. It is an unique identifier that can be permanently encoded into a music video or recording. Without an ISRC issued and attributed to your song, it does not have any trail where to forward the royalties to, so it could be played for free indiscriminately.
- Prepare your files: pick your best record and make a cover.
- Create a Magroove for Artists account: it is easy, you can sign up with a Facebook, Google or Spotify account.
- Fill the form in five quick steps.
- It is time to choose a release date.
- Now just click on submit and the company will send your music to more than 40 digital platforms!
How much does Magroove cost?
The best part is that the independent artist can have access to all this for free and with no legal attachments. The company did not take any part of the track, and the paperwork is on the house as well. You keep 100% of your royalties from plays and downloads!
It works this way: once the musician reaches USD 50, the money is able to be withdrawn. Yet services only get charged if you make money from the digital royalties, with a collection of USD 5 a year per release. Unlike other platforms that charge upfront. If you make less profit than USD 5, the firm you keep just the amount earned, without taking the release down or charging in any other way. A release can be a song, an entire album or an EP.
Pricing should be at the top of your list of concerns when choosing your favorite service. You can earn a lot of money from your work. For example, Spotify pays an average of USD 0,003 to USD 0,005 per stream. Got curious about how Spotify calculates your profit? They collect 30% of all the revenue for themselves, and the other 70% goes to the artist. Basically, the platforme takes 70% of the revenue, multiplies the artist’s streams and share of rights to each right’s holder, and divides it all by the total amount of streams.
Which features does Magroove have?
Magroove also offers other tools to boost your release. The musician can receive full analytics reports about their song stats, which is helpful to measure each release performance. If a single or a whole project is not going as expected in the numbers, you can outline new strategies.
Another part of the package are the pre-saves on Spotify. They are easily one of the most popular mechanisms in the market in the last few years. It guarantees the song will automatically be in the library or playlist of the listeners who signed up. When a track receives a huge amount of pre-saves, the streaming platform understands that it will have a great repercussion. Then, DSPs like Spotify tend to deliver the release to a wider audience, as an expectation of what people want to hear. Anyone who uploads music with Magroove can create a pre-save link.
The firm also offers a free Link Tree creator, which the artist can use to customize with their brand. This feature is good to put together all the important links for your career: official website, social media, online ticket sales, and others.
Magroove also has a website builder to help musicians to have their own web pages. It supplies a custom domain, fully customizable templates, newsletters, SEO tools, mailing list, and more. Besides that, it supports the creation of an electronic press kit, which gathers the most important information about the artist’s work. Music industry contacts do not have time to research every professional, so it is easier to send a press kit with everything that matters about you and your art.
The company also provides a web store builder to sell band merch. The artist has access to free custom products, automatic production, payments and global shipping. You can upload your own design, name your prices, create unlimited stores, show music videos, tour agenda and more.
Last but not least, Magroove has been working hard to help artists with music marketing, and you’ll find Artist Hub, which is a place for special articles aimed with straight-to-the-point guides to promote your music online!