7 steps to start and grow your record label: Distribute your artists’ catalog online
Making your artists’ music available on the world’s most popular online music stores and streaming platforms now is easier than ever thanks to digital distribution.
In the fourth chapter of our guide to start and grow your record label in 7 simple steps, we explored the different distribution options you can choose from when releasing a track, EP, or record from any of the artists from your roster.
We also introduced you to one of the most profitable tactics to generate more streams on platforms like Spotify: The waterfall release strategy!
In this new episode, we want you to dig deep into the essentials of digital music distribution.
Everything you need to know to distribute your artists’ catalog online
While digital distribution has been present for a while now, with a big array of online music stores that allow users to pay for a downloadable audio copy (an MP3 or WAV file) of a song or an album, the relatively recent introduction of subscription-based streaming services and social media platforms has completely changed the way the entire music industry operates.
Nowadays, in the era of digital music innovation, users can have access to millions of songs instantly, anytime, anywhere, create personal playlists, or even generate their own visual content featuring licensed music and share it with the world.
The value of the global music streaming market is currently worth $34.53 billion and it’s expected to grow by 14.7% by 2030.
This is a great opportunity for artists and record labels that want to explore new markets and audiences, and of course, increase their royalty revenues.
Where to digitally distribute your music catalog?
One of the main benefits of digital music distribution is that you can make your catalog available everywhere and you can choose the best way to do so.
Nowadays, you can find major distributors, independent distributor partners, white-label distribution solutions like SonoSuite, semi-label distribution services, or open distribution aggregators.
If you are looking for independence and flexibility in your music business, then white labeling can be the best alternative.
When distributing music online, there are many aspects to take care of, from what channels you want to deliver your catalog to how you’re going to manage metadata, takedowns, or royalties.
With a white label digital music distribution service like SonoSuite, for example, you can easily upload your artists’ music catalog on the most popular DSPs in just a few clicks, whether it’s by using your own contract, a default one by us, or one with the digital rights agency, Merlin.
As a record label in expansion, you’d think out of the box and don’t limit yourself to delivering your catalog only to the most popular streaming services out there. Consider other alternatives.
Uploading your artists’ music on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, iHeart, JOOX, or Pandora is the best option to reach audiences worldwide, but also it’s using social media services like Facebook Rights Manager, which covers Facebook and Instagram.
Video streaming is on the rise, so channels like YouTube Music, Tencent Video, or Vevo should also be on your list, especially if your goal is to broaden your business horizons and spread across international markets.
Keep in mind that user-generated content (UGC) featuring music is also becoming increasingly popular. In fact, it’s one of the hottest trends right now!
If you want to make your catalog go viral by allowing content creators from across the globe to legally use the music from your artists, then don’t hesitate to upload it to live game streaming platforms like Soundtrack by Twitch or social video apps like TikTok.
Not sure where to start? With SonoSuite, you can deliver your artists’ music to more than 220 DSPs and select the right channels depending on your record label’s expectations: The audience and markets you want to reach!
How to digitally distribute your music catalog?
To speed things up and save time, money, and efforts, consider managing your digital distribution on a single platform by scheduling your releases on different music stores and streaming services at the same time while ensuring you comply with the content guidelines requested by each channel.
When distributing your artists’ music online make sure there isn’t copyright infringement and that the content uploaded is of the best quality possible.
White label solutions like SonoSuite contain all the necessary tools to make sure all the assets from your catalog are ready for delivery to the specific channels.
This includes features that help you to integrate the correct music metadata, which is all the embedded information from an audio file that helps identify the content itself, from the songwriter’s name to the title, genre, or release date of a specific piece of music.
This is something you’d be looking at with a microscope as adding the correct metadata is super relevant when it comes to collecting royalties.
In your day-to-day as a record label, you’d have to organize, schedule, and upload content on DSPs and sometimes manage takedowns as well.
Using a service that includes Quality Control algorithms or experts in that field can be very useful as they can help you to meet the standards required by each DSP.
Their goal is to ensure the content you upload is suitable for digital distribution and is fully protected from copyright infringements.
When releasing new music online from any artist from your record company, it’s also important to keep an eye on other technical aspects like the coding systems that allow you to legally submit and track your content on digital stores.
The ISRC code (International Standard Recording Code), it’s a codified number provided by the IFPI that is used to identify and track recording music and music videos.
The UPC code (Universal Product Code) is a unique barcode number that is associated with each consumed product in the world. In the music industry business, it’s used to track the virtual sales of any album, single, or EP.
Check out how the ISRC and UPC codes work here.
You can save some time by using a white-label service like SonoSuite, which automatically generates and provides these codes for you.
What happens after distributing your catalog to DSPs?
Having full financial control is essential for any business to succeed.
In your day-to-day as a record label, you’d need to manage your artists’ releases, but also monitor their performance to redefine your digital distribution strategies if needed.
That means constantly reviewing your sales and revenues, managing and calculating your clients’ royalty payments, and blocking any other payments if you detect fraudulent activity when distributing online.
A white-label platform can be a great ally here as many of them usually include tools to monitor and manage all the financial aspects of your business.
Now that you know the basics of digital music distribution, it’s time to learn a few things about music promotion.
Building hype before releasing a song or album from any of your artists is one of the main commandments of music marketing.
In the next chapter of our exclusive guide, we’ll give you some tips on how to promote your artists’ music to get the media and the public’s attention.
Keep an eye on our blog to make sure you read the article just when it comes out of the oven!