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Distributing Your Music
Distributing Your Music
Getting your music heard can be a complicated process. There's online sales, streaming, physical sales, livestreaming, and even sharing on social media. Deciding where, how, and when to let the public hear your sound can be confusing, so take some time to familiarize yourself with each platform before choosing the best fit for you. Remember to not make any decisions or sign any agreements until you fully understand what you're getting into, how you'll be paid, and how much others (like publishing companies) will be making off of your labor.
What's an aggregator?
If you want your music to stream on major platforms, you'll probably have to go through a digital aggregator or distributor. Digital aggregators act as middle-men to compile the necessary components and agreements for music streaming. Different services have different agreements with different aggregators who charge different fees, so do your research before deciding which one to use. It's important to note this isn't the only way to get your music streamed and we've detailed different, aggregator-free ways as well!
Getting Your Music on Spotify
Spotify has a list of distributors they work with available on their website. Each one has different terms, fees, and services, so do your research before signing onto one!
Apple Music & the iTunes Store
Apple primarily works with distributors, but if you meet their requirements you can directly add your music without a middle man. Read their FAQs to get a better understanding of the process.
Putting Music on Tidal
Like other streaming services, you'll have to go through a distributor to put music on Tidal. They list their preferred distributors on their website.
Be sure to understand how you will be paid and how each company handles the rights to your music before using a music distributor. You can find detailed reviews by actual musicians about all of these companies with a search on YouTube.
Amuse will send your music to major streaming platforms for free & give you 100% of royalties. They make their money by finding talent (through their free distribution) and signing them to their record label.
For $19.99 a month, DistroKid will distribute unlimited releases for musicians across all streaming platforms and give musicians 100% of royalties.
Soundcloud: A Music Social Media
Anyone can upload and listen to music on Soundcloud for free and it's a great way to build an audience when you're first starting out. If you want to collect royalties, however, you'll have to pay for a premium account. You should check out their guide for creators before choosing to upload your sounds.
Just like uploading a video, you can upload your music to YouTube and allow listeners to stream it for free. YouTube pays artist's royalties based on ad revenue and you can read more about all their services on their website.
Selling Your Music
Whether it's to other artists or directly to listeners, you can sell songs, beats, and albums a variety of ways. Before doing so, however, it's important to understand the rights, licenses, and other agreements you're getting yourself into or potentially giving up. Check out our Generous Guides page if you need a guide to copyright, licenses, and other agreements.
Where To Sell Your Sounds
An online music store & streaming service, Bandcamp allows artists to set their own song/album prices, release on their terms, and pay only a small percentage in royalties as a fee. They have a Fair Trade Music Policy to ensure musicians get paid on time and the royalty process is completely transparent.
The iTunes Store
Apple primarily works with distributors to put content in iTunes, but if you meet their requirements you can directly add your music without a middle man. Read their FAQs to get a better understanding of the process.
Anyone can submit an album to Magnitude and, if it's selected, they'll sell it as part of their library. The company splits revenue with artists 50/50 and has sold thousands of downloads thus far.
Musicians can sell their music - even just a beat - to other musicians. Here are a few websites that act as beat marketplaces, but you can also make your own website, or use social media, if you'd rather do it yourself. If using a beat marketplace, be sure you understand all the royalties and licensing information before you make any sales.
Airbit allows you to sell up to 10 sounds for free, but beyond that you'll need a monthly subscription.
With over 2 million users, BeatStars is one of the leading beat marketplaces. They allow free accounts to sell 10 sounds, but beyond that you'll need a subscription.
There are two primary ways to sell physical CDs: burn your own or pay a company to do it for you.
Burn Your Own CDs: Mac OSX
If you've got a Mac computer, this guide will walk you through the process of burning a CD. First you'll need a blank disc, however, and those can be purchased at electronics stores.
Burn Your Own CDs: Windows
This guide is for Windows users looking to burn CDs. First you'll need blank discs, however, and those can be purchased at electronics stores.
CD Baby: A Company To Do It For You
CD Baby will handle CD production for you, including fun stuff like disc designs and jackets, if you're willing to pay.
Interested in Vinyl?
Some musicians swear by the unique sound of a vinyl record. Check out this article if you're interested in a vinyl record for your music.
Distributing music yourself can be overwhelming, so many artists will try to get signed with a record label to save themselves the legwork. A record label can also provide new opportunities like touring, funding, and collaborating as well! There's no easy or simple way to landing a label and it's more likely that you'll have to find some modest success on your own before doing so. Still, there are numerous guides online to point you in the right direction if this is one of your goals.
Heroic Academy's Guide to Getting Signed
This article has extensive tips & tricks for getting noticed by labels. Remember that not every strategy will work for everyone and you should choose a direction you feel comfortable perusing.
Atlantic Records' How to Get Signed
As one of the largest labels around, Atlantic has dedicated a portion of their website to interviews regarding what they look for in the artists they sign.
Careers in Music: Finding Labels Looking For Artists
This article focuses on finding labels looking for artists - your music specifically. Most labels specialize, so it's important to find one that suits you before submitting a demo.
Put Your Music In The Media
Movies, TV shows, and advertisements all rely heavily on music to make their content shine. Your music could make a wonderful addition to a soundtrack or advertisement!
SongTrust.com This website aids songwriters revenue stream through collecting publishing royalties globally. SongTrust is a global royalty collection service that energizes the music publishing administration of more than 2,000,000 songs. Those using the site have the ability to automate the music publishing administration process from one platform, create new sources of trackable income from performance and mechanical societies, and register songs with low pricing and flexible terms meanwhile remaining independent creators. The platform is used to simplify the administration of music publishing assets, performing rights, and digital licensing.
Magnatune.com In addition to an online music store, Magnatune runs licensing services for filmmakers and businesses. When artists add their music to Magnatune's library, they recieve 50% of all the revenue (across online sales & licensing).