With the invention of streaming platforms such as, Spotify the music industry has had to quickly adapt, as music is no longer a product, but rather a service. Although streaming services are great for the consumer, instantly being able to listen to any song imaginable, at a grand sum of £9.99 a month. However, it makes it increasingly harder for an artist to make money, with less money being generated labels are less likely to invest in new and upcoming artists.
Luckily, digital distributers allow independent artist to get their music on hundreds of platforms, such as Spotify, iTunes and, Apple music. Anyone can upload music to Soundcloud, or Youtube, regardless of quality and, platforms such as Spotify don’t have the time or manpower to filter every single song that gets uploaded. The fact that digital distributers charge an artist a fee to use their service acts as filter, because no one is going to pay to upload a joke song.
One of the biggest independent digital distributers is CD Baby, with over 330,000 artists signed up to their service. For just $9.95 an artist can release a single through CD Baby. There are many digital distributors offering similar packages as CD Baby, however they are one of the longest standing distributors and won’t be going out of business anytime soon. This is important for an artist, as it means their royalties are safe.
With CD Baby an artist will receive a weekly report on how their songs are perfuming, this a key tool for an artist looking to capture their target market audience and grow their brand. Even though an artist will receive weekly it still takes a couple of months for them to receive any royalties.
Slightly different to traditional digital distributors are label services such as Kobalt, who provide an artist with the strength and backing of a major label, but allow them to retain control and ownership over their music.
Although having to sign a 3 year contract with Kobalt may seem daunting to any new artist, unlike if they’d signed to alabel they’ll have no minimum number of recordings that they have to deliver and the artist is free to make any creative choices they need.
Whereas CD Baby take a one off payment instead of a percentage of royalties, Kobalt will take 30% of any royalties earned from your releases. Although this may seem high compared to CD baby, Cobalt offer so much more.
As well as digital distribution, Kobalt offer artists marketing and project management, helping artists get the most out of their social media and getting their music out there with ad placements.
Cobalt’s biggest selling point is there impressive ‘portal’ that allows an artist to review and understand all their income from, physical sales to downloads, streaming to synch in real time.
Many artists are starting to prove that there is no longer a need to score that major label record deal. For a brand new artist digital distributors are perfect for getting your music out there and starting to build a fan base, and for a slightly more experienced artist label services are a great way to cultivate your brand.