So far, I have released about 70 videos, and just as many Medium articles and Podcasts. With this in mind, I really wanted to apply what I am preaching to my own project to see what would work and what wouldn’t.
It is always very important for me to make sure that all the advice I give you on how to handle your music career in this business is still relevant. Situations change so rapidly nowadays that a technique that worked yesterday may become obsolete today.
One of the most common questions I receive is, “Where do you distribute your music?”
I could simply give you the answer: Distrokid. However, the reason why is, for once, very important.
For this Medium Article, I am not just going to throw you a comparative table of the different services available and suggest you should choose this one instead of another, just because I feel like it’s easier and cheaper. We are here for the strategy and for this, I need to elaborate on a few points prior to providing you with why I chose Distrokid.
PS: This is not endorsed in any way by any companies mentioned in this article.
When releasing music?
First and foremost, I am addressing this matter as so many of you are confused as to the best process. Artists have been instructed to work on an EP or an Album for a few months and then release it in its entirety.
Worse, some are working on a single, release it, make a few promotions about it on social media and then don’t release anything more for the next couple of months, believing that this amount of exposure is adequate.
WRONG. (Read this with the voice of Trump, it’s funnier.)
We are in a society where anyone can compile and release music at a fast pace as it is dirt cheap to put together. Some rappers are even betting solely on Soundcloud to make it through this jungle, and Soundcloud is free.
Therefore, if the demand is still there for music, the offers become more impressive. However, the offer per artist, as in the number of songs per artist, is not that big. Most of them will release one EP and one or two singles and then call it a day.
To beat this, you need to stay on top of this game.
It’s all about hacking the attention.
I love using this term because, whether you realise it or not, attention is everything to an artist. You are a brand, and therefore you want people to talk about your brand.
It’s okay, you don’t need to feel embarrassed by this, it’s just how the business is.
Hacking the attention is about finding an effective way to have your name stay current. You want your brand shared by word of mouth, (at least virtually), as much as possible for as long as possible.
Social media is the perfect medium for this as you have the opportunity to talk about yourself. However, as a Music Artist, you need to provide applicable content, and the king of all your content is your music.
Quick maths: release a lot of music + talk about it on social media = Attention hacked.
For your information, Taylor Swift, at some point, was releasing one song per week. Recently that is what I did as well.
My numbers started to skyrocket.
I am not telling you that I made millions of streams, I am just saying that compared to when I released a song and left it at that; releasing one per week was a way to keep my followers engaged. This is similar to a Youtuber releasing a video per week for his/her subscribers.
You could say, “Ok, but you’re not a famous artist, this wouldn’t work with a signed one that has millions of followers.”
Lana Del Rey proved it was a technique that worked well for her, even at her level, when she released two singles suddenly within two consecutive weeks: “Mariners Apartment Complex” as well as “Venice Bitch” in September of this year.
Side note, she also proved comments such as, “Yes but this genre doesn’t work” and, “yes but it has to be formatted a certain way”, were incorrect because “Venice Bitch”, her latest single, lasts over 9 minutes and was a hit. Therefore, keep any excuses to yourself. If you wish to release a song about Legos that is an EDM-Funk-Metalcore song of 34 seconds, go ahead.
So why Distrokid?
With what we have seen in the previous section, releasing often is the key to hack the attention. Therefore, you need a distributor that would eventually not only let you do this, but assist you in keeping on top of your finances.
You can use any of these, it doesn’t really matter which, but when you know that a song streamed on Spotify brings you $0.003 each time it is streamed over 30 seconds, you will see that you need to have your song streamed quite a few times to generally break even with your distribution fees.
Let me give you an example, let’s say you opt for CD Baby as you are putting out a single. It costs you $9.90 to distribute it everywhere, plus $5 for the Barcode, which is a necessity for some reason, go figure! This brings the total cost of the single to $14.90. To break even when a stream pays $0.003, you would need to have this single streamed at least 4,967 times. Do you think it is possible that you could brag about having these kinds of numbers weekly to stay afloat?
And to top it off, you don’t have to pay CDBaby every year for this, not like those punks at Tunecore that literally skip the barcode process (cool!), but make you pay every year (not cool!).
Distrokid however, requires you to pay a onetime fee of $19.99/year and you can upload an unlimited amount of music, whenever you want, no questions asked.
Therefore, if you were to release one song a week for an entire year, that is 52 songs, each song would have to be played 127 times for you to break even, or alternatively one of these songs to blast for over 6,000 streams.
Being a music artist nowadays is easy, keeping up with financials costs is less dramatic than 10 years ago, but when it comes to distributing music and hacking this attention, you need to come up with a real marketing strategy which involves making strategic moves, even when choosing your distributing platform for your songs.
If you want to stay ahead of the game without drowning in debt, then consider using Distrokid for your music release strategy.