The next basic step to take, once you have your tracks mastered, your artwork complete and anything else you wish to add to the package ready to go, is to find your distribution method.
Every release that goes on Spotify, Beatport, iTunes, JunoDownload, Digital-Tunes, Amazon and all the other places is “distributed” to those stores.
Some stores allow you to sign up and add your own release to the store, but most of the big ones (including iTunes and Spotify), require that you have a distribution company for that. They only want to deal with the big guns.
Distribution companies come in two main formats:
- Online self-managed digital distribution platforms
- Digital Distribution companies
There is a growing number of self-managed distribution companies which all work on slightly different pricing models, but ultimately provide a similar service:
- You sign up to their site with your label or artist details
- You upload your release and decide what stores you want it to be released on
- You set a release date, and pay for the service
- The store will then make sure that your release is available on all the relevant stores by your chosen date.
- You are then able to log in periodically and check stats, sales and request payments on their website/system.
The regular digital distribution companies often work more on a commission basis.
- You approach them as a label for representation
- They will decide whether or not to work with you
- You sign a contract with them for a certain length of time
- You then deal direct with them for distribution.
- You send them details and work with them to decide on a release date and then they handle the stores and distribution to each site.
- They then take a percentage from any profit that is passed back to them, and then send you the remainder periodically (often each month or every 3 months).
If you intend to go down the self-managed route, there are a huge number of websites to choose from. Google is your friend.
[I put together a big comparison chart of digital distribution companies and sites in my *How To Start Your Own Record Label* course]