Music Education

Music Distribution 101: What it is and Why Artists Need It

Music distribution has always been a core aspect of the music industry’s business model. The prominence of distribution, mainly digital distribution, has changed and flourished rapidly over the last decade. Distribution is what connects your music to audiences all over the world, making your music accessible in both physical and digital formats. While music distribution has been around since the 15th century, the mechanics of music distribution have changed drastically with the turn of the digital age. Let’s look into what distribution is all about and how the arrival of the internet has shaped how we consume, engage with, and collect payment from music. 

What is Music Distribution?

Music distribution is the connecting line between your music and your listeners. Music distribution is a core part of the industry’s business model, making it possible for music to be purchased, downloaded, or streamed online. Music distribution dates back to the 15th century with the invention of Gutenberg’s movable type printer. This printer made it possible for sheet music to be printed and distributed at a large scale. Today, music distribution is vital to the music industry’s most significant revenue stream: streaming. Without distribution, promoting your music to fans would be impossible. It’s a critical part of every musician’s promotion and release strategy. 

The Two Kinds of Distribution: Physical vs. Digital

There are two main types of distribution: Physical and Digital. 

The more traditional distribution method is Physical, which includes CDs, vinyl, cassettes, sheet music, and printed scores. Distributors work with record labels or artists, giving distributors the right to sell their music to big box retailers and record stores. 

Digital distribution works similarly, just on online platforms. Instead of physically transporting music to stores, the music is distributed to online streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, as well as content creation platforms like TikTok. While physical distribution is still alive and active, digital distribution has outpaced physical distribution’s overall revenue contribution, accounting for 45 percent of total revenues compared to 39 percent for physical sales. (Source, 2016)

How Digital Music Distribution Works 

While physical distribution is still alive and well (hi again, vinyl), digital streaming is now one of the primary ways music listeners discover and consume audio, making it an essential part of every artist’s release and promotional strategy. Today, record labels and musicians can distribute music globally with the help of distribution companies like Venice Music

Distributors disperse music to streaming services and online download platforms by executing payments, subscriptions, or contracts. Once distributed, any time a song is streamed, that song accumulates mechanical royalties. Distribution companies then securely take those earned royalties and payout the artist or label. Major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music usually pay royalties 2-3 months after the streams occur. 

Why Musicians Need Distribution Services

For music creators, working with a music distributor is essential to building an audience, increasing credibility, and creating a regular revenue stream for your music. Whether you’re a brand new musician or an established billboard charting artist, you NEED distribution to connect your music to listeners and future fans. Here’s the full breakdown of why:

Earn money: Any time your music plays on a platform like Spotify or Apple Music, you earn streaming royalties per play. Distribution services seamlessly collect these royalties for you and ensure your payout reaches your pocket.

Establish credibility: When you distribute your music to digital streaming platforms, you also build your online presence and artist profiles. ALL credible and established artists have artist profiles on major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music – you should too!

Build a Fan Base: Content creation apps like TikTok have pushed smaller artists into the global spotlight. When your music is used in content, that piece is potentially played by millions of people. Hello, new fans. 

Gain Streaming Info + Listener Data: Access data that tells you where your listeners are, what they’re streaming, and how long they’re streaming a song. 

Now that you understand the basics of music distribution and why serious artists need it, it’s time to share your music with the world and earn your music's deserved royalties.

Venice Music has ALL of the music distribution features you need to successfully release your music and grow your fanbase for only $14.99/year. 

Which Distribution Service Do I Go With?

When you're ready to start distributing your music, it's important to keep two main factors in mind - cost and features. 

When you sign up with Venice Music, you immediately gain access to ALL of Venice's distribution features - no up-charging or additional fees to worry about. 

Our Essentials Plan comes with premium features like: 

✔ Distribution of unlimited audio and videos 
✔ 100% of streaming royalties in YOUR pocket 
✔ Free Youtube Content ID to an unlimited number of tracks 
✔ Real-time streaming analytics so you can see how your music is performing 
✔ The ability to schedule your releases 
✔ Free support for your music collaborators 

And more

Start Distributing Your Music


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