What Electronic Distribution Means For You

What Electronic Distribution Means For You

So we talked about the different ways your music might be distributed and who will do it, and we touched on how that will affect your royalties. But what exactly will this mean for you? Let’s take a look at the most popular ways of distributing music today.



This has been the big one in recent years. Downloading is how the majority of your music will be bought, so you need to understand how this will pay you and how much. A few years ago we were in no man’s land with this and no one seemed to know how to figure this out and what was a reasonable price to charge and what was a reasonable price to expect. Thankfully things have calmed down and we have some order now. So, consider how much a download is. Say a song sells via download for 79p, the distributor (the download site) takes 30% of that and you have a deal of 10% royalties with your label on what’s left. You can expect to earn around 5p per sale. The good news is, lots of people download music. The bad news is, you’re going to have sell an awful lot of downloads to make any money.



And this is the guy who’s at the heels of downloading and fast taking over. The difference here is consumers don’t own the music. They can listen for free via the streaming platform, or they can buy a subscription, and they can play any music at any time. But they don’t actually buy your music through a streaming site. The hope is they’ll love it so much they’ll then go on to buy it, but there’s no guarantees. The amount you’ll actually receive via people streaming your music is very low. If you’re a superstar whose songs are streamed by everyone on earth, then you can expect to do alright, but for most artists this isn’t much of an earner. Streaming is the most popular way of listening to music though, so it’s an essential component.


How this can shape your future

If it sounds like you’ll be working hard to create something that then only earns you peanuts, there is another way of looking at this. Getting your music out there is an investment in your future. It builds your profile and reaches new fans, and it also shows other industry professionals what your earning potential is. A company called Soundscan collects data on how many records you sell, across all avenues. It’s not precise, but it’s a good indicator for record labels on how you are doing. So, if giving your songs away for free or selling them for a pittance sticks in your throat, think about the numbers. If your song gets millions of downloads, even if that’s for free or a tiny price, you’ve got a lot of people listening to your music and knowing who you are. Streaming especially connects you with fans who otherwise wouldn’t find you.

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