Thanks to digital distribution, it’s easier than it has ever been for indie musicians to publish their music. You only have to pick a distributor, upload your songs and that’s it. Well, almost at least. Since you’re taking music distribution into your hands by using some tools, you also have a great responsibility. After all, you want as many people to listen to your music and also earn some royalties. Check out aristake.com for a more detailed insight into digital distribution companies.
What are Digital Distribution Companies?
Digital distribution companies help you to get your music to hundreds of music outlets. If you did contact the various platforms yourself, you’d have to do a lot of legwork. Moreover, most platforms don’t accept music that’s forwarded directly by an artist anymore. It creates too much work for their customer service. Digital distribution services do this job for you. They streamline your music to the desired format of each platform, forward it to several at once and collect royalties for you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re new in the scene or if you’ve already got a solid fanbase. A lot of musicians make the mistake to release an album first. But if no one knows about your current endeavors, people are unlikely to find your album. Hence, it’s always best to start out with singles.
For example, you can release a new single every two weeks or once a month until you’re ready to release an EP or album. Make sure you pick a catchy song that listeners will feel compelled to tune in to. Your single should be under 4 minutes and neither intro nor outro is longer than 15 seconds. If the intro is longer than that, listeners will tend to skip your song.
To choose from many digital distribution companies, it’d be favorable to pick one with low fees. Of course, you don’t want to spend too much just to release singles. If you picked CD Baby, for example, you’d have to pay a distribution fee of $9.95 per single. Releasing singles regularly can turn it into a rather expensive adventure, especially as a new artist.
In this case, you’d be better off with companies that either distribute your songs for free (such as AWAL or ONErpm) or ask for annual distribution fees (like Distrokid with $19.99 per year). If you’re a duo or a whole band, splitting distribution fees per single like at CD Baby seems optimal.
Schedule Your Releases
Of course, you can directly release your music once you’ve uploaded it. If you schedule your releases, though, you can promote them beforehand. Opt for pre-saves and pre-sales so your fans have something to do in advance.
However, not all digital distribution companies offer a pre-save option. Horus Music, AWAL, CD Baby, Distrokid, Ditto, ONErpm, and RouteNote offer you that option with a few more on the side. To get the most out of your pre-saves, it’s advisable to use professional marketing campaigns that are partly offered for free.
For example, the services of show. co is free for any CD Baby user. Push.fm or feature. It also offers you a similar service via RouteNote and Horus Music. Such marketing campaigns help you to boost your music on streaming platforms to create a stronger following and to increase plays. However, you’d still have to do some marketing yourself via social media platforms and your website.
Constantly create content
If you disappear for endless weeks or months, your fans will forget about you. As an indie artist, you have to keep them entertained. You don’t necessarily have to create new songs all the time. It might be sufficient to create a remix or an acoustic version for new content. Think back to the old days of CD singles. They usually had the main song for which they were published, plus two remixes and maybe another new song you’d not find on the album later.
Fridays are best
New music has always been released on Fridays. In times of digital music, you can technically release your songs on any given day of the week. If you do so on a Friday though, your chances of being picked up by playlist algorithms are a lot better.
Choose a Digital Distribution Company With Hundreds of Outlets
Digital distribution companies forward your music to various platforms. But their numbers vary greatly. Music outlets come and go, some are hipper today than they might be tomorrow.
Even so, your music needs to be available in as many outlets as possible. Otherwise, you could miss out on your chances of attracting an audience and collecting royalties. AWAL, Ditto, Horus Music, RouteNote, and Symphonic all forward your music to at least 200 outlets. CD Baby, Distrokid, and TuneCore send your music to more than 150 outlets.
Don’t go For Slow Speed
Depending on which distributors you choose to publish your music with, it can take a while until it’s actually at the outlets. With the pre-save option, you can avoid longer publishing times, of course. But once in a while, you may have a spontaneous inspiration for a new song that you’d like to make available at several music outlets asap. At present, Amuse and AWAL take the longest to forward your music to Apple Music or Spotify with 14 – 30 days. CD Baby, Horus Music, ONErpm take under 24 hours to 2 working days at most.
Take Advantage of YouTube Monetization
A lot of digital distribution services let you opt-in for YouTube monetization, some even do it automatically. You’d want to make the most of your songs and YouTube is one of the most important outlets. People love watching videos all day and if they at least get some nice artwork to see while listening to your music, you can reach even more people. Moreover, you can earn something on top of your royalties. Horus Music and ONE rpm set up YouTube monetization automatically for all songs you distribute via their services.