Artist’s Guide to Streaming: Digital Music Distribution

As an artist, finding the right distribution method can be tricky, particularly because there are so many online services these days. In terms of royalty payments, each site has its own pros and cons, so knowing the way they work is essential to growing your career and generating revenue. A closer look at five of the biggest distribution methods can help you understand. 
Bandcamp: This site is most often used by smaller bands or labels. Inexpensive and easy to use, the site provides easy downloads and streaming and allows artists to name their own price for a download. Physical releases and merchandise are also up for purchase. Unfortunately, no revenue is generated from album streaming alone, so purchases are needed to making money on the site.
Soundcloud: This service offers free accounts for only two hours of upload time and then an up-front payment is required. Extended accounts or even unlimited ones offer more uploads, analytics and let users highlight five songs at the top of their profiles. It does not pay directly for streams which makes it a better tool for sharing rather than selling. Links to sites that offer your music for purchases, however, can be included on your profile. 


Spotify: Though it is free to put music on this site, it only uploads music from distributors or labels. Merchandise can also be posted for free on profiles and no cut is taken. Royalty payments vary from $.006 and $.0084 per stream.

Pandora: One million plays on this site can result in about $1,370. This money does have to be divided among performers, songwriters and labels, but still makes more money than song plays on terrestrial radio. Music must already be on iTunes or Bandcamp in order to be posted to Pandora.

iTunes: The dominant distribution service for music, iTunes relies on downloads as opposed to streaming. It can be costly to upload songs to the site, especially if an aggregator is required to post the music, but the music is readily accessible for fans since it can easily transfer to laptops, iPods and other devices. 
While certain sites offer more reward for music distribution, others still provide exposure and music for the masses. Whichever services you feel are right for you and can lead fans to discovering and sharing your music, Pro Music Records and Entertainment Media can get you set up for success. PMR can put up a single, EP or entire album on any site so you can start making money today. We can even do promotions on sites like YouTube, another distribution option, so your music can be heard even more often. You own all the music and rights in this non-exclusive deal, Pro Music Records is simply the distributor that gets your secure digital media to retailers. Visit us at http://www.promusicrecords.com to learn more or e-mail info@promusicrecords.com with questions and submissions.

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