Understanding Distribution

So I have this amazing song, did the publishing thing, and now what? What do you mean? You spread the word. I’ve hit on distribution from a marketing angle in my Musician and Entrepreneur article. This time let’s discuss the various places you want your music to appear.

Brick and Mortar Retail Stores

If you can find a record store still running you are amazing. Let me know where it is.  You can find coffee shops and other small businesses that may be willing to place a small order for your CDs.

When you have live shows you should be able to sell your merchandise. Check with the venue’s manager before you set up shop.

Most likely you will be distributing your music on the Internet. First, let us look at blogs.

Blogs

Blogs are a great place to submit your music. Some writers will provide a short description of your band and link. Some may ask you for an interview. Others may only play the track. Regardless, give them a link to your website and your contact for booking. You never know who may be viewing the post. Having only your music means an interested person has to look up your website and people are busy these days. Hyperlinks are the way to go.

The great thing about blogs is they often have comments. You can check those written about your music to see what fans think. Some contributors give their websites. You can check out what they have and get a feel for your audience.

You want to link to any blogs that feature interviews with you on your own site.

Internet Radio and Podcasts

Internet radio is another way to go. A lot of people use their computers and mobile phones to listen to music. They can sit at the desk and discover new tunes. It’s also a way to reach audiences around the globe. Some Internet radio sites allow you to customize the type of music you wish to hear. Others let users upload the their favorite songs and create playlists they share with others. Anyone who likes your music can add it to his or her playlist.  Still others are similar to traditional radio in that they have a program director. The station’s website should have more information.

 Online Retail Stores

Your website is great for distributing your media if you want to get paid. Many website builders host stores for their clients.  You will need to set up accounts so that you may accept credit card payments. Paypal is great option. This is what many Google sites use.

You also need to make sure you have an effective method for fulfilling orders. Do you send them out or are they pressed, wrapped, and shipped from a second party? You will need to make sure your prices absorb your expenses. The idea is to make money. If you plan on selling a lot of albums, and you do, having someone else do the work for you could be more cost effective. Make sure you use a reputable company with great customer service. Unhappy customers may blame you.

Digital Downloads

The most cost effective way to deliver your music to adorning fans is via digital download. Some services will distribute your music to only their program. Others distribute your music to many media outlets. You need to consider the payout structure of each option before you decide who will handle your online presence. Think of the sites where you download your music. This is where you want to be.

Virtual Environments

There is a growing trend in virtual environments. Think of a video game that users from around the world log into to interact with other users. Some have rooms that feature different genres of music. Some have clubs. Users can make their avatars dance to your music. Many artists are using these sites not only to share their music but also give concerts and sell music. Participants purchase virtual money and buy things they like in these worlds. Check out Second Life and Turntable.tm.

Try to get your music into the hands of as many outlets as possible. The more visible you are the more fans you will garner. Use these outlets reports and comments to gauge the needs of your audience.

Which of these are you using to distribute your music? Are they working for you?

 @caramelsarajo

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