Digital music distribution has long since stopped being “the future of music”: it’s the present. If you want to be a successful musician in this day and age you need to know the ins and outs of how modern music distribution is done. Signing up with a music distribution service serves, in general, to make your life easier in a number of different ways.
You’ll Make More Money
Most songs make about half their revenue from digital sales. While you can’t discount the value of still selling physical discs in brick and mortar stores, the digital market should be a primary focus for you if you want to make the most money off of your hard work.
Once you have a better handle on how many people seem interested in your music, you can tailor a physical launch specifically to the demand you’ve already gotten, or make it feel like an exclusive bonus for “real fans”.
Even big bands have leveraged this phenomenon in the past to add a bit of mystique to their album launch.
There’s No Exclusivity
Most digital distributors don’t make you sign exclusivity deals. This means you’re free to shop around and break whatever arrangement you have at any time. Not having an exclusivity agreement give you a lot of freedom over who you want to work with.
This incentivizes the music distribution service you sign up with to provide the best possible experience for you as a user. They know that if you find your experience lacking, you can always go somewhere else.
You Have More Options
With physical distribution, you have to think very carefully on where you think your music is going to sell best. With digital distribution it’s still very important to think about what platforms are the best to focus on, but you don’t really lose anything by putting your music on every conceivable platform you can make money on.
It’s Easy to Market
Traditional marketing costs a lot of money; more than a new artist is likely to have lying around if they’re self-publishing their music. Digital marketing is, if not free, much cheaper to pursue. And a lot of the marketing can be done directly to the consumer by you, the artist. This helps build a rapport with your audience that traditional marketing lacks.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram serve as an important tool for getting eyes on your work that otherwise might have completely missed it ever released. Even the most unknown artist can leverage a moderate Twitter following to drum up word of mouth advertising entirely remotely.
It’s Easy to Promote Yourself
Separate from getting more eyes on your work, digital distribution gives you a bigger chance to get more eyes on you. Building yourself up as a brand in and of yourself, separate from your work, is key to success in today’s music market.
TikTok in particular is a massively influential platform these days, and tailor made, it seems, to skyrocket previously unknown artists to success. This is not, as many might think, a phenomenon purely based on luck. The more famous you are for something else, the easier it is to market your work to a wider audience. Just look at how already established musical artists have invaded the platform to send their careers to even greater heights.
It Ensures You Get Paid
Digital distribution services act as an important repository for all of your copyright and royalty information. This means they can act as an easy one stop shop for all the various platforms you put your music on and funnel the revenue to one easy location for you to transfer to your actual wallet later.
Instead of needing to individually manage each platform, you only need to pay very close attention to the wallet your distribution service provides, and the few platforms you want to really focus on hammering to get the most listens.
You Get Some of the Benefits of a Publishing Company
Managing your own business is hard, and there’s a lot of small things that need to be handled to ensure you’re a success. This is why traditional publishing has been so big for so long. Having someone in your corner to handle a lot of the minutiae of the business so you can focus on the big picture and your actual art is an enormous boon.
Music distribution services come with a lot of these benefits as well, though without a lot of the strings attached. Consider it like you getting the best of both worlds from the service.