See Things Differently
Every artist should have a Music Distribution Plan.
Sorry, I couldn’t think of anything snappier. So, what is an, ahem, ‘M.D.P.’?
There are an increasing number of ways to get your music in to the hands of your fans, but right now, there is no single solution. But, Million have identified three important ways:
There are several distributors who have deals with most of the major mobile operators and digital retailers. The Orchard is a major client of Million, and I sincerely think they’re the best at what they do. But to ensure the integrity of this blog, I’ll mention the others, such as IODA, Tunecore, AWAL, Zebralution, Vital, Pinnacle and Vidzone. Others, such as Pocket Group and IndieMobile specialise in distribution only to mobile operators. However, this is far from being a mature market and so none of them have distribution to every store. Therefore, think of these as your main high street stores.
2. DIRECT DEALS
Every country, genre and market will have a number of ‘niche’ sites serving a small target market. These will be desirable for you to supply, but you may find your distributor has yet to finalise a deal. In these cases you’ll need to go direct. Often these stores will have an online sign up process allowing you to apply to become a supplier, and then either upload your tracks or send a CD. Included in this category are new retail outlets such as AmieStreet and The Sixty One.
Bare in mind that in both 1. DISTRIBUTOR and 2. DIRECT you will most likely only take a share of the revenue and will not receive any customer information, such as email addresses.
3. DIRECT TO FANS
The is the most attractive option, from both a financial perspective and collecting fan information. For certain bands, e.g. Radiohead, it can be highly lucrative. However, for the majority it is simply a way of building a relationship with your most loyal fans, and being able to ‘super-serve’ them with features such as higher quality bit rates, bundles, cheaper prices and special offers. Services such as IndieStore, Kazzong or Mubito are easy to set up and allow the artist to sell via their website, blog or social profile, such as MySpace.
In my experience almost all retail solutions fall in to one of these categories. Whilst all of them claim to be the only solution an artist needs, the truth is an artist or label should have a Music Distribution Plan that encompasses all three. With careful planning and assessment of the options partners can be found in each category who far from overlapping, can actually complement each other since music fans are rarely signed up to more than one or two retailers.