Distribution Options and Playlists
So you’ve mixed and mastered the track and you’d like to move onto the next step: taking the music from the artist (you or client) to and getting it to the listener. Again it’s always good to know what the intention is for the music. Is it a commercial release, or a bit of fun. Sharing it to the world or just to family and friends?
Sounds simple right? Well there are a few things to consider.
In the past, the role of the distributor used to be to get the music in physical stores. When music was pressed to vinyl, it was the distributor’s job to make copies and send them to stores all over the world. In the music store, music would be separated into genres, and there would be a new release section/promotional sections. Part of a song or album roll out would be to try and get into the promotional sections of the store, so that the music could be seen and heard by as many people as possible, resulting in more listens and sales.
Music became largely digital and cd’s became a popular way of consuming music, again a physical product that people would buy in shops or even online.
You can see where this is going.
Today, music consumption and therefore distribution is a different beast.
Music is now heavily consumed though streaming websites like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal, Youtube – to name a few. It has never been easier to search for a song and listen to it there and then. But how do you get your music onto such platforms?
Unfortunately you can’t upload directly to the platforms themselves, although spotify did try this feature recently but have since abandoned it.
So in order to get your music out there, you will need to go through an online distribution service. It’s important to research this step well, pick an option that works well as it can cause you a headache in the future (take it from me!)
To begin, here are two different approaches to look at. You may want to do both:
Direct artist platforms like:
Or an online distributor like:
In option 1, band camp is a great option for selling your music. They charge 10-15% commission for downloads, and 10% for merchandise or physical goods, but – on the first Friday of every month they pay 100% of sales to the artist!
Soundcloud is a good option for casually uploading your music, for free and immediately. People can find your music there however you won’t receive any royalties.
We advise making an account on bandcamp and promoting to people to buy your music there, on the first friday of every month.
Option 2 is the way to get your music on as many streaming services as possible.
These digital distribution companies do two things, getting the artist’s music out there and passing down recording royalties back to rights owners.
Some of the distribution companies take a percentage, some require an upfront fee or a yearly fee for uploading music.
Some will allow you to upload as many tracks and albums as you wish, others have a limit.
Remember to do your research on this and find the best option for you, it doesn’t harm to take your time over this step as it can be a headache to change uploads amongst different platforms in the future.
Uploading your track
Make sure you have some ‘royalty free’ artwork to upload with your track
When should you upload your track?
It’s worth uploading your track ahead of time, over 2 weeks in advance minimum. The longer the better really, as it will give the streaming platforms a chance to listen to your music and consider it for any playlists or special promotions.
Like before, where music was brought to the front of the shop, or the new music being displayed in the ‘new releases’ section. The same is true in the digital world. Now music is promoted in playlists that everyone can see, like ‘top picks’ or ‘release radar’.
Have a look at your music upload service and see if there is a way for you to submit your song for playlists.
Setting a schedule to release your music in advance will also give you time to do any promotional stuff yourself too. You could organise a rollout over social media and tell everyone the date in advance, to build some anticipation.
Lastly, you can sit back and wait for your release date. Once the music is out there – enjoy!