When choosing a music distributor, you should take care of a few important things. You’ve noticed already that almost all distributors offer the same thing – publishing music to the world’s major online stores, video distribution, promotion, etc. How To Choose The Best Online Distributor For Your Music For more information, visit their website Digital Music Distributors.
There are more or less similar cut-price distribution services, intending to attract (or refuse) potential customers. There are those who boast they’ll publish your music on hundreds of stores, as well as those to let you know there are very little stores that meet the criteria of being worth paying your attention to.
The question is – who you can trust? Some might say, you never know until you try. That is true, but a wrong choice can paint yourself into a corner and tie you up. If your music is published by an unreliable distributor, being unpublished on certain stores will be your least care. A much bigger issue is that you may never get a single report on your music sales, not to mention receiving your revenues. Would you believe if I told you that many times it happened, having sent the sales reports to our clients, they asked questions like, “what is this” and “is this some money we should pay again” etc. The conclusion is easy to make – there are many artists and labels who have never received any sales reports. Or they’ve received modified, incomplete reports, with just a few columns within an Excel sheet, saying nothing about who, where or when purchased or listened to their music…
Now, how do you know who you can trust? You can never be 100% sure about your choice, of course, but some things are highly recommendable to be cleared up at the outset. First off, check if your distributor is a “real” and “direct” one – that is to say, check if they send music directly to the stores using their own distribution platform (whichever it is), or they work through a 3rd-party company. The difference is – I dare say – incomparable.
If the distributors are not “direct” ones, they cannot tell you where your music will be released, or even worse – whether it will be released or not at all, since there’s nothing to depend on themselves. They can only hope for everything’s coming up roses. But, that’s not what you’ve hired them for, is it?
Second, who is to guarantee that you will receive your money? In other words, you don’t know who you are actually signing a contract with.
And third – and perhaps the most important – which part of the total income will you actually receive? If someone says, “you will keep 90% of your revenues,” it is a shot wide of the target. Take iTunes for example. Let us say you earned $100 on iTunes. For the start of it, iTunes will take 30%, I.e. (around) $30. So your distributor and you will retain $70. If it’s set forth you will retain 90% of the revenues, it means you will receive $63, and the distributor will keep their $7.
So, what does it mean if you receive a check for, say, $45 instead of $63? What about the remaining $18? Well, there’s the rub. You will know about the received $45 only. Such a distribution company won’t even tell you about the remaining amount, unless you ask about it. And even if you do, you are not guaranteed to get responded at all, and it’s very unlikely the other side (the so-called “distributor”) will stand corrected. It appears having some information presented to you will be made on the courtesy of theirs. In fact, distributors are legally obligated to show all details, but it is also your responsibility to get to know with all aspects and conditions concerning the contract on time. Before signing one – if possible.