What is Music Distribution? Everything Artists Need to Know

What is Music Distribution 1

Music Distribution is important to the marketing of music. Historically, the only option for record labels and independent artists to get their music into the hands of listeners was through music distributors.

However, digital music distribution has risen to prominence. In 2015, digital sales topped physical mediums for the first time.

As an artist, you must embrace digital distribution in order to reach all of your prospective audience. Effective distribution increases your visibility. It ensures that your music reaches the widest potential audience. Additionally, it assists you in receiving compensation for your music. Everything you need to know about digital music distribution and how to do it correctly is included below.

How does Music Distribution Works?

During the dino age of physical music consumption, music distributors were primarily responsible for transporting physical music to every record store, wholesaler, and outlet that supported the sale or use of music.

And the role of a music distributor – sometimes referred to as a music aggregator – remains largely unchanged to this day. However, it now exists primarily online.

The recorded music industry was nearly totally tangible during the heyday of CDs, vinyl, and cassettes. Which, looking back (unless you were a child of the 1990s or earlier), almost seems impossible to believe!

However, by 2022, physical music sales will account for less than a quarter of all recorded music. That is to say – you guessed it – the digital music business is now the industry’s top contributor – and it does not appear as though that will change anytime soon.

What does a Music Distributor Do?

As the industry has gone from physical to digital, the process of music distribution has naturally changed to meet the new needs of artists in the modern industry.

And as you can probably guess, the response from many distributors was clearly and simply ‘going digital’ – which previously essentially ranged from supply chain managers to digital infrastructure and rights administrators (the high-tech stuff!) providers.

In 2022, digital music distributors play 3 most important parts:

1. Release Music to Online Platforms

With nearly 100% of the industry being digital (including listeners), musicians who wish to get their music heard by a wider audience must make it available online.

Music distributors have distribution agreements with music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music, as well as social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, as well as smaller platforms with more niche audiences and international services available in specific regions of the world. You can also use some strategies to release music online.

Release Music to Online Platforms

2. Pay Out Music Royalties

Each time an artist earns money from online streams or downloads of their music, they earn royalties. However, it is the music distributor’s responsibility to bridge the gap between royalty payments from the music streaming platform and the artist or copyright holder.

You should likewise know that some notable music distributors will take a slippery commission cut of an artist’s royalties in return for their services.

Pay Out Music Royalties

3. Support & Promote your Release

While this is not an industry standard, any reputable distributor will additionally provide you with the tools necessary to promote your music through additional support, products, and services.

Distribution is a vital component of any artist’s music promotion plan in the age of digital music. It can assist you in reaching fans in locations you were unaware of existed.

Why do you need music distribution?

So, as you can probably tell by now, it’s almost non-negotiable for artists to work with a music distributor in 2022. Here’s way:

  • Get your music on each significant stage (and into the ears of as many people as possible!)
  • Increase your online artist profile
  • Adds greater validity to you and your music
  • Creates a structured revenue stream from royalties
  • Provides you streaming info & in-depth data about your listeners

The Best Music Distribution Companies

There are tons of music distribution services out there. It’s important to keep 100% of your royalties. Educate yourself about all your fees and what you will do before making a decision. Some say they don’t take the deductible, but in some cases, there are hidden fees. Do your research!

Here is the list of online music distribution promotion services and companies of 2022:

  1. LANDR
  2. CD Baby
  3. TuneCore
  4. Ditto Music
  5. Loudr
  6. Record Union
  7. Mondo Tunes
  8. ReverbNation
  9. Symphonic
  10. iMusician


So now that you know what music distribution is and ways to promote your music online, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to expose your music to the world and earn some money while living in it.

We hope you find this blog helpful. If we missed anything, do let us know in the comment section below. You can also pick how do singers make money for yourself. If you find this blog helpful, you can read more about the music-releasing process.

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