If you’re an independent artist and have decided to take on the now proverbial step of signing-up for a music distribution deal, some of the major questions you will have in mind are: ‘In what media formats will my music be available on?’ ‘Will your fans be able to listen to your music on their music players like ipods?’ ‘Can they take your music along on their cellphones?’ These are absolutely valid concerns. With the advent of digital music downloading, digital music distribution is now the leading business model that drives marketing and monetization for independent artists. You, as an indie artist who will be getting your hands full with the daily grind of live gigs, songwriting, and music promotion activities, you’d like to ensure that all your creative and marketing efforts would flow smoothly down the sales funnel. The role of a music distribution company or aggregator is to make sure that your songs are accessible and available to your fans anytime, anywhere, and in all the standard and possible media formats and platforms.
If we were to juxtapose the role of a music distribution arm within the so-called ‘marketing mix’ or the 4 P’s of marketing, one of it’s primary role would be to ensure availability of the “Product” –in a format that’s accessible, ‘playable’, and conforms with industry standards in terms of sound quality and file size for ease of storage, filing, and archiving.
The main or core product to be sold is of course, “the music”. With the dawn of digital music distribution platforms, music products now come in the “physical” and “digital” formats.
a. Physical product= In a more ‘old school’ or traditional formats, physical music products are commercially called CDs, DVDs, vinyls, and the other formats that are now obsolete like the cassette tapes. Though these formats are currently dying a slow death, they are still around and acceptable in some markets. Physical music distribution covers record stores and some specialty retail stores. So if you want your music sold ‘over the counter,’ then your music distributor should able to make your product available in the more traditional record shops or special stores.
b. Digital music product = Said to be the culprit in the demise of the CD. Digital music distribution or selling music online is the breakthrough business model. An efficient digital music distribution platform should be able to convert and make your songs available in these 2 primary portals where music is often purchased and consumed:
With the proliferation of music players and gadgets, a multitude of online retailers emerged. Your music distribution network should be able to make your music available, ready for selling music online and downloading on the internet. They usually come in various and standard file formats, compatible to music players and gadgets like the ipod, the ipad, among others, in MP3, MP4, AAC file formats.
Gone are the days when mobile phones are solely used for calling and texting. Listening to music while on-the-go has been one of the prime uses for a mobile phone. Music has also been used as an ‘accessory’ to personalize one’s phone. It started with ringtones and caller ringtunes; then real tones took over. A mobile phone is also one of the storage devices and access points for music. Thus, make sure that your music distribution also covers mobile music retailers / partners. Yes, people now use their cellphones to download music from mobile network providers and through mobile apps. Make sure they find you there.
Music is your product. Work with a music distribution firm that could make your music available and accessible in digital formats and access points like the web and mobile, and physical CDs, if needed. For a musician looking for an ideal music distribution deal to sell music online, one must look out for a music distribution partner that has established connections with digital music retailers. Choose an aggregator that provides a colossal, worldwide range, with reach to over 600 retailers and mobile partners across 100 countries. Look out for a music distribution partner that has established connections with digital music retailers such as iTunes and Amazon, mobile partners like Nokia, and music streaming portals like Spotify.