Musician's Corner

Digital Music Distribution Today

So, you’ve got a great sound with hook and have a recording. You’ve probably even posted it on social music sites. And now, well, you want to take it another step.

Once upon a time, the only way to reach a listener (aside from live performance) was by pressing vinyl. A comparatively slow and expensive process to today’s tech. Now, a band can reach their fans within days of finishing a recording. Moreover, they can potentially reach a vastly greater audience and over a greater geographical distance.

We all get the concept of delivering our work digitally over the internet, but what is it really?

Digital distribution of music is the delivery of audio and video recordings via the internet to online music stores. This includes platforms for downloads, streams, and ringtones. In contrast is the physical distribution of music via CD’s. The music industry, like most businesses, has been transformed by the Internet. Consumers of music have driven the industry to make its product available on-demand revolutionizing the way musicians and listeners come together.

Streaming music surpassed downloads and physical distributions in revenue during 2015. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), “2015 was a milestone year for streaming music”. Further, the 2015 RIAA Shipment and Revenue Statistics states, “For the first time, streaming was the largest component of industry revenues, comprising 34.3% of the market, just slightly higher than digital downloads.” Note that in 2010, streaming composed only 7% of the market (a 500 percent increase in five years!).

So, yea, streaming music is big and getting bigger. Tapping into that market can be daunting, but it’s really not that difficult.

There are a myriad of digital music distributors with as many choices in services and costs. Shop around and find a good fit for you. Self-releasing directly through a distributor is a good start and a great way to get going, but keep in mind the bigger picture. There are over 100,000 releases each year and the reality is it takes more than just ‘putting it out there’. Distributing through a Label will typically provide better results by marketing and promoting your product to targeted listeners.

So, get a good quality recording, find a Label/Distributor that fits you, and get your stuff out-there. Remember, there are a gazillion listeners out there just waiting to hear you.