Don’t go cheap
You’ve made huge investments of time, calories, and money into your music, so don’t go cheap at the last minute. There are many new distribution companies out there who offer free or cheap deals, but fall short on important features and services that are listed below. Music distro is not just about putting your music out there, it’s a central hub for collections and thr administration of your music business. There are many things that can go wrong, and when they do, you need a distro partner who is going to be responsive. When possible, try and get in contact with a human rep at the company ahead of time.
Choose your distro and set up the release well ahead of time. I suggest at least a month before, which a) gives you time to focus on creatively promoting the release, and b) gives wiggle-room for any issues or setbacks that might occur.
Did you know that the DSPs (Spotify, Apple etc) pay out performance and mechanical royalties to the composers of the songs that are streamed? Standard distro packages don’t actually collect those royalties and many artists are leaving that money on the table. To collect that money, you need to sign with a publisher or indepedently sign up with a publishing admin service. Distros such as CDBaby and Tunecore do this, which is cool because it means you can collect everything via one portal. Otherwise you can use a 3rd party one such as songtrust.
Youtube Content ID
Did you know that you can register your music with Youtube’s content ID system so that creators can use your music legitimately and send you royalties? Make sure your distro supports this also.
Facebook and Instagram
Have you ever noticed your friends adding music stickers to their Instagram stories? If you want your fans to do this with your music (hint: you do!) then you’ll need to make sure you opt-in for this also, and that your distro supports it.
Christopher Carvalho runs Unlock Your Sound helping up-and-coming indie artists create and strategically release their music.