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Exploring distribution options
Old 7th March 2019
  #1
Deleted fcbdeac
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Exploring distribution options

I am looking for a distribution platform that can offer both streaming and digital store sales, with the ability to select which stores and streaming sites my releases will go to.

I am only interested in distributors that are either 100% through and through free or charge a back end royalty percentage below 20%. I am not interested in those that require per release, per year, per additional feature etc. annual fees.

The music I write and produce, in terms of genres, could be classified as Electronic, Indie Dance, House music, Techno types of music, so it is very important that the distributor offers both streaming and delivery to stores of the Beatport and Traxsource kind for high quality DJ formats.

I have been searching all around the net looking for suitable candidates, but have yet to find one that fully meets my requirements.

Do you guys have any recommendations? Maybe I need to start looking at two separate distributors - one for streaming only and one for stores only?

Any helpful information, experiences, suggestions, comments would be much appreciated!
Old 7th March 2019
  #2
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dcwave's Avatar
 

Symphonic.
Old 7th March 2019
  #3
Deleted fcbdeac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcwave View Post
Symphonic.
Interesting. Although apart from streaming platforms I dont see any stores listed, at 15% royalty cut they seem to offer a pretty thorough service. Looks like they could be a good fit. I am assuming they have an A&R department that screens applications for somewhat established quality artists/content - or is it open to new artists and/or everyone?

Do artists have full creative control or are they active in the decision making process? Some distributors think they're a member of the band, so to speak.

I hope it isnt like Awal.. they also charge 15%, but have a ridiculous amount of requirements basically making it a really horrible deal for anyone that can meet the standard. That is to say they're really only interested in distributing the fully 360 degree established, touring, famous artist with a large fan base in tow. I mean if you're already famous, established and successful, what the heck do you need them for?!

Anyway thanks for the suggestion.. will do some reading up on Symphonic today!
Old 7th March 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usemame View Post
I am looking for a distribution platform that can offer both streaming and digital store sales, with the ability to select which stores and streaming sites my releases will go to.

I am only interested in distributors that are either 100% through and through free or charge a back end royalty percentage below 20%. I am not interested in those that require per release, per year, per additional feature etc. annual fees.

The music I write and produce, in terms of genres, could be classified as Electronic, Indie Dance, House music, Techno types of music, so it is very important that the distributor offers both streaming and delivery to stores of the Beatport and Traxsource kind for high quality DJ formats.

I have been searching all around the net looking for suitable candidates, but have yet to find one that fully meets my requirements.

Do you guys have any recommendations? Maybe I need to start looking at two separate distributors - one for streaming only and one for stores only?

Any helpful information, experiences, suggestions, comments would be much appreciated!

I do not think there is such a thing out there.

If you find one please hype it long and loud on GS.

You would have better luck if you did not require one to do both distro types.
But still might not find one that is any good that meets your specs.
Old 7th March 2019
  #5
Deleted fcbdeac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe sixpak View Post
I do not think there is such a thing out there.

If you find one please hype it long and loud on GS.

You would have better luck if you did not require one to do both distro types.
But still might not find one that is any good that meets your specs.
Indeed I will!

I am seriously hoping this isnt the case. Surely, in 2019 there is a service available, somewhere somehow? Goinbg with two separate distros is always an option, but seems like it would be a bit of a nightmare organizing and monitoring promotions, exclusive releases, release dates, charts, stats, accounting and whatnot. I guess this would be a last resort.

I might add that I am not a total noob to the game, just that my previous releases were done through a few well established labels I have worked with. Unfortunately, but understandably at the same time, they have exclusive contacts and deals which are unavailable to me. I would really like to avoid the whole label route altogether if possible. I am now venturing out on my own with a fresh new alias and a new sound and target market, hoping to DIY the process and maximize my royalty income as much as possible.. obviously in todays digital world its really the only way to recoup costs, survive on royalties alone and fund my next record!
Old 7th March 2019
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usemame View Post
Indeed I will!

I am seriously hoping this isnt the case. Surely, in 2019 there is a service available, somewhere somehow? Goinbg with two separate distros is always an option, but seems like it would be a bit of a nightmare organizing and monitoring promotions, exclusive releases, release dates, charts, stats, accounting and whatnot. I guess this would be a last resort.

I might add that I am not a total noob to the game, just that my previous releases were done through a few well established labels I have worked with. Unfortunately, but understandably at the same time, they have exclusive contacts and deals which are unavailable to me. I would really like to avoid the whole label route altogether if possible. I am now venturing out on my own with a fresh new alias and a new sound and target market, hoping to DIY the process and maximize my royalty income as much as possible.. obviously in todays digital world its really the only way to recoup costs, survive on royalties alone and fund my next record!


There are services for sure, just not those that meet your requirements.
Old 7th March 2019
  #7
Deleted fcbdeac
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe sixpak View Post
There are services for sure, just not those that meet your requirements.
Which requirements do you mean - free or under 20% royalty cut? Streaming and digital stores? Open to new artists? ... all of the above?

I am asking because I genuinely didn't think I was asking for much in a distributor.. maybe you have some experience and insight into what exactly I may need to adjust with my expectations here.
Old 7th March 2019
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by usemame View Post
Which requirements do you mean - free or under 20% royalty cut? Streaming and digital stores? Open to new artists? ... all of the above?

I am asking because I genuinely didn't think I was asking for much in a distributor.. maybe you have some experience and insight into what exactly I may need to adjust with my expectations here.
Most of them. Certainly all of them all at once.

Distributors have to sell to someone who can sell your stuff retail; although some distributors do sell directly to the consumer.

It costs money to distribute sell collect remit your share yada yada.

Most folks do not sell enough to make it worthwhile but aggregating everybody where the distributor takes a slice makes it worthwhile for them even if almost everybody does not make enough to pay their expenses to produce the content.

If you were some red hot star you could sell from your own site, or maybe negotiate your own terms with an established service. But the rest of us its pretty much take it or leave it if you even want a chance to get your stuff out there.
Old 7th March 2019
  #9
I like Distrokid, but they have a different model, taking no backend and charging a single $20/band-or-artist/year fee.

For no up-front with fees taken out of the backend, you might check out SoundDrop.com. Looks like no up-front and 15% off the back-end for original music. (You can license covers for a one time ~$10 fee, looks like.)


[SoundDrop used to be part of Loudr, which is now owned by Spotify. Loudr does cover licensing. Distrokid uses Loudr for their cover licensing, charging $1/month to administer such covers for the duration of their availability. Obviously, SoundDrop offers an arguably better solution for cover-centric artists with their one-time-only $10 fee, although, of course, they do take that 15% off the backend on all their releases.]
Old 8th March 2019
  #10
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dcwave's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by usemame View Post
Interesting. Although apart from streaming platforms I dont see any stores listed, at 15% royalty cut they seem to offer a pretty thorough service. Looks like they could be a good fit. I am assuming they have an A&R department that screens applications for somewhat established quality artists/content - or is it open to new artists and/or everyone?

Do artists have full creative control or are they active in the decision making process? Some distributors think they're a member of the band, so to speak.

I hope it isnt like Awal.. they also charge 15%, but have a ridiculous amount of requirements basically making it a really horrible deal for anyone that can meet the standard. That is to say they're really only interested in distributing the fully 360 degree established, touring, famous artist with a large fan base in tow. I mean if you're already famous, established and successful, what the heck do you need them for?!

Anyway thanks for the suggestion.. will do some reading up on Symphonic today!
They distribute to all the stores, Beatport, Pandora etc. They also distribute to China as well, which most distributors do not.

My deal with them is quite different.

They've been great to work with, I have all creative control etc..
Old 13th March 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
audioforce's Avatar
 

I would like to learn more about all this. I have a bunch of music I've written, recorded, produced over the years and I would like to monetize it. I own the stuff outright, and it consists of all kinds of different styles / genres. Mostly all very high quality recordings. All lot of instrumental stuff, and some vocal pieces, too.

Is there any real money to be made with the types of distributors being discussed here.

I'd like to hear from some of you that are into it, as to how its working out.

Someone edjumuhcate me on this! : )

Thanks,


audioforce
Old 13th March 2019
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
I would like to learn more about all this. I have a bunch of music I've written, recorded, produced over the years and I would like to monetize it. I own the stuff outright, and it consists of all kinds of different styles / genres. Mostly all very high quality recordings. All lot of instrumental stuff, and some vocal pieces, too.

Is there any real money to be made with the types of distributors being discussed here.

I'd like to hear from some of you that are into it, as to how its working out.

Someone edjumuhcate me on this! : )

Thanks,


audioforce

Odds of making money are better if you buy a lottery ticket.

The distributors make money. This is a long tailed phenomenon where a few (think Bieber and Gaga) make a LOT of money while some people cover expenses and MOST people never get their time and expenses paid back.

YOU have to do the self promotion to make your music popular.
And you are competing against millions of others doing it too.
How many people are actually looking to buy any of that stuff which is mostly crap hiding the few good artists and good songs.

Do it for fun not expecting to make money and be happy if you even get some listeners who appreciate your work.
Old 13th March 2019
  #13
Gear Addict
 
dcwave's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
I would like to learn more about all this. I have a bunch of music I've written, recorded, produced over the years and I would like to monetize it. I own the stuff outright, and it consists of all kinds of different styles / genres. Mostly all very high quality recordings. All lot of instrumental stuff, and some vocal pieces, too.

Is there any real money to be made with the types of distributors being discussed here.

I'd like to hear from some of you that are into it, as to how its working out.

Someone edjumuhcate me on this! : )

Thanks,


audioforce
Distributors simply places your music into digital locations for consumption. Distribution is where people go to consume your music
Marketing is why people consume your music.

The amount of money you make is 100% dependent on how well you have been at building an audience.

Without an audience simply having your music on iTunes or Spotify isn't going to make you any money.
Old 13th March 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcwave View Post
Distributors simply places your music into digital locations for consumption. Distribution is where people go to consume your music
Marketing is why people consume your music.

The amount of money you make is 100% dependent on how well you have been at building an audience.

Without an audience simply having your music on iTunes or Spotify isn't going to make you any money.
And you do not make money if you do not register with a PRO. Both as the artist and as the writer. So two registrations.


And you need to copyright your musical work too as a sound recording. Plus copyrighting the words separately in case they get printed not just performed.

And there are other twists if you want to collect 100% of any money you may be due.
Old 13th March 2019
  #15
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dcwave's Avatar
 

You have great odds of making money, but I will agree most musicians will never make their expenses back. There are three reasons that I see all day long for this.

1 - product. Their music sucks. The song sucks--it doesn't hook anyone, doesn't resonate with people, the lyrics are a mess. The production can be awesome, the mix, the arrangement, but if the song sucks, people are going to tune out and drop off. Most of the time, not only does the song suck, but the production sucks too.

2 - no audience. Those 50 friends and family members you bring to your gigs once in a while aren't going to stream your song every day all day; and they can only buy so many downloads. You want to make money, you better be building an audience and focus your attention on marketing to your very specific audience. Most musicians do not know who their audience is. One band I worked with a few years back thought their audience was 25-55 year old males that like rock music. We took a deeper look and found out it was 14-24 year old girls that liked alternative rock and shopped at thrift stores, liked jeans over dresses, read cosmo, and used instagram. Once we nailed down detailed specifics, they stopped trying to market to everyone that liked rock music their streams and sales went way up and they were making money...until they stopped--which leads to the 3rd reason:

3 - momentum. Too many musicians stop and start stop and start, they never get the momentum. Building an audience that consumes your music is like priming an old well-water pump. You work your arm off pumping that thing till there's a trickle of water, and if you stop, the water stops coming up. You got to keep pumping till there's a gusher of water and then you just pull the pump down once or twice to keep the water flowing. - Most musicians don't stay focused or have enough music/content/gigs to keep the momentum going long enough to see a return.


Bottom line, most musicians just throw mud on the wall and hope something sticks.
Old 13th March 2019
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcwave View Post
You have great odds of making money, but I will agree most musicians will never make their expenses back. There are three reasons that I see all day long for this.

1 - product. Their music sucks. The song sucks--it doesn't hook anyone, doesn't resonate with people, the lyrics are a mess. The production can be awesome, the mix, the arrangement, but if the song sucks, people are going to tune out and drop off. Most of the time, not only does the song suck, but the production sucks too.

2 - no audience. Those 50 friends and family members you bring to your gigs once in a while aren't going to stream your song every day all day; and they can only buy so many downloads. You want to make money, you better be building an audience and focus your attention on marketing to your very specific audience. Most musicians do not know who their audience is. One band I worked with a few years back thought their audience was 25-55 year old males that like rock music. We took a deeper look and found out it was 14-24 year old girls that liked alternative rock and shopped at thrift stores, liked jeans over dresses, read cosmo, and used instagram. Once we nailed down detailed specifics, they stopped trying to market to everyone that liked rock music their streams and sales went way up and they were making money...until they stopped--which leads to the 3rd reason:

3 - momentum. Too many musicians stop and start stop and start, they never get the momentum. Building an audience that consumes your music is like priming an old well-water pump. You work your arm off pumping that thing till there's a trickle of water, and if you stop, the water stops coming up. You got to keep pumping till there's a gusher of water and then you just pull the pump down once or twice to keep the water flowing. - Most musicians don't stay focused or have enough music/content/gigs to keep the momentum going long enough to see a return.


Bottom line, most musicians just throw mud on the wall and hope something sticks.
True.
True.
True.

Also true.


The internet and digital has made it too easy for low quality stuff to flood the zone so the few good things can be found easily. Music, Photos, and Books are overrun with low quality crap from wannabees who use distributors and help hide the good stuff. The few really good ones have a publisher who can sell their work without amazon or similar outlets. Although books and CDs are often also sold on amazon.

AND how many of them do all the registrations with the several organisations plus library of congress so they can/will get paid for their music. And also any print use of their lyrics.
Old 14th March 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
 
audioforce's Avatar
 

Thanks for the responses all. Kind of what I thought also, although it seems to me that there may be some opportunity to make headway there.

Anybody have any success stories to share regarding digital distribution?

I think I'm looking more toward music licensing companies as a better path for what I have available.

I was with ASCAP briefly, but they pissed me off about something and everything I was selling was with buy-outs anyway, so I faded on them. I'll probably just join them again, maybe BMI.

All of my music is copyrighted. I've always done that. Been using the newish e-copyright thing and have gotten my first certificates back. I must say they definitely take their time getting those out, and the uploading process is kind of odd, but it works.

I've sold music before, no doubt, but always just buyouts. I never give an exclusive though, so I have a bunch of stuff that I own lock, stock, and barrel, its really diverse, and really high quality stuff.

Anybody having luck with any licensing companies? Found any that you think are really good. Let me know, if you don't mind.


Best,


audioforce
Old 18th March 2019
  #18
Gear Nut
 
Holden Sandman's Avatar
There's some websites around that sell music for people to use in their videos. Does anyone know what those deals are like? Obviously given the fact these companies are supplying consumers royalty free music you won't be able to register the music and collect from a royalty society.

I wonder if anyone knows about these and how profitable their deals are for musicians?

Here's one of the services I have seen advertising: Music Licensing For Film and Video - Soundstripe
Old 23rd May 2019
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe sixpak View Post
Odds of making money are better if you buy a lottery ticket.

The distributors make money. This is a long tailed phenomenon where a few (think Bieber and Gaga) make a LOT of money while some people cover expenses and MOST people never get their time and expenses paid back.

YOU have to do the self promotion to make your music popular.
And you are competing against millions of others doing it too.
How many people are actually looking to buy any of that stuff which is mostly crap hiding the few good artists and good songs.

Do it for fun not expecting to make money and be happy if you even get some listeners who appreciate your work.
What Mr. Sixpack says is true. It's sort of depressing.

If self promotion is not your thing, then you'll need a benefactor that has ties to the business and is super enthusiastic about the product (it's best to have a performing band too). Even then the lottery ticket is probably a better bet.

So, again Mr. Sixpack is on the money - do it for fun and love of the process. Some of my stuff is still out there on iTunes and CD Baby but returns have been meager to non-existent.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/y...aig/1336597219
Old 24th May 2019
  #20
It may be worthwhile to remember that there was never a time when more than a tiny handful of artists were 'catapulted' to stardom (that kind of talk is promo flack speak, anyhow, of course --- trying to 'sell the buzz' on a given artist to generate 'see what all the fuss is about' interest). For most, it has always been a long slog of dues-paying, gigging, and, of course, touring.

I don't have my finger on the black and white of it, but I remember reading, probably back in the 1980s, that only about 5% of major label releases ever even earned their production and promo costs back.


Of course, the most interesting change since those days is that the barriers to making your music available to a broad potential audience are greatly reduced. But, also of course, that means that the competition is greatly increased.

In the old days, if you weren't independently wealthy or didn't have deep-pocketed backers, an artist or band typically had to pay plenty of dues before being able to put out and support a commercial release. Today, a commercial release can be created on a thread of a shoestring -- but then the work of getting it heard is only just beginning...
Old 25th May 2019
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
- but then the work of getting it heard is only just beginning...

Can you guys share your advice on what should happen next?
Old 25th May 2019
  #22
I think that 'book' is still being written.

But I think an important part is going to be figuring out how word of new artists gets around in the genre in which you work: blogs, local newspapers (they're often hungry for content, make it easy for them), genre mags, websites and forums, shows, word of mouth, media exposure. A lot of that can be addressed with 'sweat equity' -- hard, DIY work -- and some of it may simply be outside your current range of possibilities (like getting a slot in rotation on a media chain -- something that is generally the province of those paying big promo bucks (and, who, let's face it, are nonetheless often disappointed by the results when they are promoting a product not ready for its market).

One thing many folks have found: the media apparatus is 'set up' to service typical release and promotion patterns. The bigger they are, the more doctrinaire and rigid they're likely to be with regard to their requirements for addressing their attention to new artists and releases.
Old 28th May 2019
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
In the old days, if you weren't independently wealthy or didn't have deep-pocketed backers, an artist or band typically had to pay plenty of dues before being able to put out and support a commercial release. Today, a commercial release can be created on a thread of a shoestring -- but then the work of getting it heard is only just beginning...
There was a band from my hometown called The Jayhawks who I thought were just tremendous songwriters. I was shocked to learn that although they sold 10's of thousands of records/CDs there never made enough off the sales to pay off the recording costs.

They toured like mad and lived hand to mouth for years. It was an eye opening situation for me as me and the guys strived to be rockstars. It was not inspirational to say the least.
Old 29th May 2019
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwillms View Post
There was a band from my hometown called The Jayhawks who I thought were just tremendous songwriters. I was shocked to learn that although they sold 10's of thousands of records/CDs there never made enough off the sales to pay off the recording costs.

They toured like mad and lived hand to mouth for years. It was an eye opening situation for me as me and the guys strived to be rockstars. It was not inspirational to say the least.
I really love the Jayhawks. I have a slug of their CDs. And I'm really sorry to hear that the music biz hasn't been that good to them. (So far, he added hopefully.) At least they've got a lot of great music out.

It's disappointing to hear -- but it's a story I've heard a lot of times -- and the first time I heard a story like that first hand it was in the very early 70s. As the old saying goes, some people rob you with a gun, some with a gold fountain pen.

But, of course, for many of us, the dough has never been there to steal in the first place.

Yet...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I really love the Jayhawks. I have a slug of their CDs. And I'm really sorry to hear that the music biz hasn't been that good to them. (So far, he added hopefully.) At least they've got a lot of great music out.

It's disappointing to hear -- but it's a story I've heard a lot of times -- and the first time I heard a story like that first hand it was in the very early 70s. As the old saying goes, some people rob you with a gun, some with a gold fountain pen.

But, of course, for many of us, the dough has never been there to steal in the first place.

Yet...
I have a singer/songwriter friend who is completely paranoid about someone stealing his songs, as if they are pure gold or something. His stuff is pretty decent some of it is bordering on great. Alas no one hears it except us studio rats that work on it.

I haven't officially copyrighted a song in 15 or 20 years now, my take is that someone stealing my song would be the best thing that ever happened to my 'career'. I have a good attorney!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #26
I tend to hide in plain sight, as well. I have (literally) hundreds of songs up on Archive.org. Most are sloppy, impromptu folkie versions I did for my blog. I figure, if nothing else, the upload date might prove evidentiary if that particular lightning struck. I've found 'official' versions of my songs in places where they shouldn't be (often graced by foreign character sets, though my name/band name is usually in English) but I'm not aware of anyone taking one of my songs and claiming it to be his/hers/theirs -- which, of course, as a creator, is considerably more offensive.

I figure my name ain't gonna echo long in the halls of time as it is.
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