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Upfront Fee vs. Sharing in Revenue - Which Model is Better for Distributing Your Music?

Image via Shutterstock

This article originally appeared on the AWAL Blog.


After you’ve finished recording, producing, mastering your newest release, it’s time to decide how to unleash your latest and greatest onto the masses. If digital distribution is part of your strategy — and it should be since there are about 170 million users on Spotify and 30 million on Apple Music to date  — you’ll probably start investigating a few ways to make sure your tracks are fed to all the major DSPs worldwide.

One major difference among digital distributors you might notice right off the bat is fee structure: Some require a flat, upfront fee to upload and distribute music, while others “share in revenue,” meaning they take a percentage of the income your music generates via their service.

Be Your Own Record Label: Everything You Need to Know About Distribution

Photo by Barry Blackburn via Shutterstock

When I started my record label in 2015, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and it’s been a series of trial and error ever since. However, I'm repeatedly reminded of something Kurt Ballou (of Converge fame) said in an interview with Party Smasher Inc. about making one’s own opportunities: “Pretend you know what you’re doing until you do.”

If you want to start a label, or do a label’s functional job for your own musical project, just start doing it and figure it out as you go. Here are some things that I'm doing as a label owner that might help you and save you some time if you choose to take this path as well.

I’ve decided to split my year’s worth of knowledge into two sections: distribution and promotion. This segment will be about distribution. (Note: this is the step you typically take after pressing a record. For more on pressing a record, see my last Sonicbids article here.)

The Ultimate Guide to Pressing Physical Copies of Your Album: Vinyl, CDs, Cassettes, and More

Image via opendoorrecords.org; used with permission

Pressing an album is something that everyone wants to do, but it’s hard to do it effectively. Having physical copies of your music is important and rewarding; listeners like having something in their hands, as it represents ownership, and there’s really nothing like holding your own record. While digital downloads are probably a better way to get your music to people’s ears, physical copies are memorabilia for showgoers. Moreover, if they like your live set, they’ll be more likely to buy your record.

That said, there are a lot of ways to get your record into people’s hands, not via just their iTunes library.

7 Reasons Your Band Should Release Music on Cassette

Image via wall.alphacoders.com

This article originally appeared on Performer Magazine.


If you're an indie musician, there's a good chance you're interested in making physical product of your recordings. Although CDs and vinyl are positioned as the standard for physical media, and are certainly valid depending on your audience, demographic, and/or region, they may not be the format that would serve you best. Maybe, just maybe, you should be considering making some tapes. Yes, you read that right. Audio cassette tapes are still manufactured today, and many plants that make vinyl records and/or CDs still manufacture the good ol' cassette. These are some of the reasons you might consider making tapes.

Mixtape vs. Album: Which is More Important for Aspiring Hip-Hop Artists in 2015?

Image via chanceraps.com

In a contemporary world of digital music consumption, mass piracy, rising DIY careers, and free music, hip-hop artists are releasing both albums and mixtapes to gain fans and profit, but the line is blurring. Which is more valuable for an aspiring rapper: a mixtape or album? Fans or profit? And, maybe most importantly, at what point can an artist begin to profit?