What is Music Distribution?
Distribution is about getting your best, polished tracks onto streaming platforms and digital stores, so your music can be listened to around the world. If you can convince lots of people to stream your songs, you can start earning money from your music.
Is Distribution the first step in your music career?
No. You'll actually need a lot of other stuff in place before it's worthwhile distributing your music:
You need a fan base. It doesn't matter if this is on Facebook, Instagram or anywhere else; you need a group of people who already like listening to your music. This could be from seeing your social media videos, listening to tracks on your SoundCloud, or from seeing you perform live. These are the people who will stream your music once you've distributed it. The bigger your fanbase, the more streams you're going to get.
You need to "find your sound". If you're getting better and better at your instrument, songwriting or production each month, don't worry about rushing into distribution. You want your recorded music to be the best it can be, so it can make the biggest impact when you're ready to release it! If your friends are into music, ask them for feedback on your tracks, or try using SoundCloud and Reddit to get free feedback from other musicians.
Learn about recording and production. If you aren't paying for studio time or don't have a producer to polish your tracks, take some time to find the right equipment and software to do it all yourself. Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas famously record and produce all her music in their parents' home, so you can clearly make popular music as a 'bedroom artist'. Just make sure you hone your skills (and again, ask for feedback!). Distributed music should sound well-produced and well-recorded!
Can't I get fans by distributing my music?
Not exactly. When your music is distributed, it's just made available on streaming platforms and digital stores. It's unlikely that anyone is going to actually find your music unless you have shared a link with them via social media, or they specifically search for your track name or artist name.
Don't expect anyone to stumble upon your music unless you're actively promoting it or pitching it to playlist editors.
The streaming platforms are adding more and more features to help listeners discover new artists, but many of these rely on you already having fans listening to your music, so really work on building your social media presence!
Distributing music is a vital part of every artist's career, but there's no need to rush into it!
Your distributed tracks should stand the test of time. Make sure you're happy that these reflect the absolute best of your ability, and that you're not going to want to remove them from streaming platforms 6 months down the line.
Ensure that you have fans ready to listen to your music, and that they're actively engaging with your social media posts on a regular basis.
When everything is in place, you can start earning money from your music!