So you have your music ready to go, but how do you get it out there? The idea of a sending your song to a record label and waiting to be picked up is ancient history. I’m not saying it never happens and submissions may well be worth your time, but don’t wait on that or think it’s the way to “make it”.
You need to self release and self promote. This way you will start getting some attention and perhaps some sales as soon as possible, and if you’re still interested in Record Labels, well, they’ll be more interested in a song and artist with some proven material and a fanbase.
This is the process of getting your music on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and all the other digital music services out there. The good news is you usually only need one distributor to cover all of these stores.
A service or services that make CDs and then deliver them for sale in record stores. Different distributors will have many, but by no means all stores. You may need different distributors in different regions and the costs can be high.
There are quite a few services out there that will do distribution for you, all in a slightly different way with different cost structures. Any figures we mention may well change, so make sure you check out their individual websites for exact cost comparisons.
The Main Distributors
CD Baby (https://cdbaby.com/)
CD Baby offer an amazingly wide selection of services including Digital & Physical Distribution. Their digitals are priced higher per release, they also take a 9% cut of all sales, but they have no annual cost. They pay you weekly (if sales are high enough).
Great thing about CD Baby is that you can add on CD manufacturing and distribution at a later time and they will handle it all. They also do vinyl!
Ditto Music & Tunecore ( https://www.dittomusic.com / https://www.tunecore.com )
I’ve put these two together as they are priced and structured very similarly. They are both digital only but they price lower than CD Baby per release and take no cut from sales. However watch out for annual renewal costs and a lot of services are presented as optional extras that cost more per release. They do, however, offer all sorts of top professional services like Chart Registration (you’ll need this to be considered for the official music charts) and distribute to more stores.
AWAL ( https://www.awal.com )
Digital distribution only. AWAL are more selective about what they sell and your music has to be submitted and quality tested before acceptance, sound quality that is, they’re not checking to see if they like it! AWAL don’t charge anything per release and will give Barcode numbers and ISRC codes free too, but will take a larger percentage cut (15%) of sales. They also distribute to a staggering number of stores, most of which you’ll never have heard of. Finally, AWAL are British. It’s a small thing and won’t affect your actual distribution, but the sales figures are presented to you in Pound Sterling and this may make it easier to keep track of.
So there you go, a simple overview of the main options – but please don’t let paralysis set in, choose one – they all work, they’re all great and the quality is no different.
If you’re really stuck – ask us, we want to see your release out there as much or even more than you do.