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Music Industry 101: Distributing Your Music

A Guide for Making Sound Decisions

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!

Streaming Services

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.

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

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.

There are two primary ways to sell physical CDs: burn your own or pay a company to do it for you.

Getting Signed

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. 

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! 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. 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).