Tag Archive: Digital Music Distribution

  1. How Important Are Streaming Playlists?

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    You can have a successful marketing campaign without playlist support from streaming platforms, but it is definitely something you should consider as a marketing tool for your next release. As more and more people turn to streaming as their primary source of music listening, applying techniques that relate to these platforms can certainly help boost your reach.

    How Important Are Streaming Playlists?

    How Many People Actually Listen To Playlists?

    Before considering whether playlists are right for you, it’s important to understand how many people actually engage with playlists rather than going direct to the single, album or EP that is available.

    Kobalt Music Group (one of the largest independent music service providers in the industry) says that about 10% of streaming plays come from playlists – therefore, perhaps basing a campaign around specific services’ playlists isn’t a great long-term strategy. This is because once the music comes off the playlists you have nothing left and you are potentially only appealing to 10% of your listening audience.

    If you want to get your music onto playlists you should be mixing this with other techniques that can reach other sectors of your audience.

    What Playlists Are The Most Important?

    The answer to this question totally depends on what music you are making. Perhaps the most well-known playlists are the ‘New Music Friday’ playlists. However, the tracks on these playlists burn fast – they are constantly changing. It may be considered a high-profile playlist, but if you are considering using playlists as part of your marketing campaign then it is perhaps more beneficial to be on a more specialised playlist with less followers as this may have more engagement.

    You should define what genre of music you make and then search for playlists that are created around this type of music. Follow them for a few weeks and get to know how often the tracks are changed around. This will tell you which playlists will give you the most coverage. It’s not just about how many followers it has – a playlist could have tens of thousands of followers, but if your track is only on there for a few days then this won’t give you as much exposure as a playlist that has a couple thousand followers but gives you weeks of coverage.

    How Do I Get Playlisted?

    On sites like YouTube where there’s a user-upload system, you don’t need to engage the actual platform, just the person who is making the playlists. This can often be quite easy – most people have some sort of contact details on their channel / profile or there is a messaging system embedded into the platform. Again, find out what each playlist curator usually includes and tell them why your track would fit with that playlist.

    If you are going for the big-guns like Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer etc. then the chances are you may already be using a distributor to get your music on that platform in the first place. Some of these distributors have great relationships in place with these platforms already, and can help you get onto various playlists through their own in-house marketing packages.

    What Can I Do Myself To Boost My Marketing Efforts?

    When it comes to playlisting, you don’t have to always rely on other people to include you in their playlists to help with your marketing campaign – create your own! If you’ve got a new track you want to tell people about and link people to in your website / social media announcements, first create a playlist that has your promoted track first on the list, followed by some of your other material. For example, after someone has watched a video on YouTube it automatically starts playing content from other channels.

    If you link people to your own playlist on YouTube then it keeps people on your own content. Similarly with Spotify or Apple Music – yes, you want to be promoting that specific track, but you should also be getting people hooked on you as an artist! Why not point them in the direction of more of your content? Linking people to playlists you’ve made of your own music can do this.

    Playlists are certainly important in a marketing campaign but are not the be-all and end-all of one. It’s all about analysing your own music and figuring out what playlists and what other strategies are best for the genre of music you create and for the audience you are trying to promote to.

  2. Release Checklist

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    When you’re ready to distribute your music, there are a few things you need to check to help speed up the release process.

    Release Checklist

     

    Metadata (Information such as the artist, release title, genre, copyright information etc.)

    Titles

    • Product titles and track titles should be formatted in title case. (e.g. This Is Title Case, This is sentence case).
    • The following should all be lower case, unless they are used at the beginning or end of a title: a, an, and, as, at, but, by, for, from, in, into, nor, of, off, on, onto, or, out, over, so, the, to, up, with and yet.
    • The following words should be abbreviated in the format outlined below: Featuring = ‘feat.’, Number = ‘No.’, Part = ‘Pt.’, Volume = ‘Vol.’, Versus = ‘vs.’.
    • Do not use generic titles such as Track 1, Track 2, or Instrumental, unless they are actual titles of the tracks. If a track contains more than one song, in the ‘title’ field these names must be separated by a slash (/). Note that you must place a space before and after the slash.

    Versions

    • Version descriptions differentiate multiple versions of an album and should indicate how the version is different from the original (e.g. Bonus Edition, Instrumental Version, Acoustic Version etc.).
    • Version descriptions must not include ‘Exclusive’ or ‘Limited Edition’.
    • Mix descriptions allow multiple versions of tracks (such as remixes) to be differentiated from each other. Silent, hidden and ghost tracks must be clearly labeled here. Information such as ‘Live’ or ‘Instrumental’ should also be labelled.
    • Mix descriptions must not include ‘Clean Version’, ‘Single/EP/Album Version’, ‘Original Version’ etc.

    Artists

    • Artist names, however, can be stylised, meaning they don’t have to be in title case.
    • The artist or artists must be credited in the artist field at both product level and track level. Input each individuals name on a new line. Bands or duos etc. count as an artist, it is not necessary to input each band members name.
    • Each individual credited in the artist field should also be credited in the display artist field at both product and track level. If there are multiple artists this should be formatted as ‘Artist One feat. Artist Two’ or ‘Artist One with Artist Two’ etc.

    Identifiers

    • The barcode can be left blank and one will be assigned to your release or you can input a barcode you have been given.
    • The catalogue number can also be left blank and one will be assigned to the release or you can simply create your own. Please note that this number needs to be unique and therefore should be relatively long and/or alphanumeric (you can use your barcode).
    • ISRC codes must be formatted as ‘AA-BBB-CC-DDDDD’.

    Format

    • The release format type must be correct. A single release is one of between 1-3 tracks, an EP is a release of between 4-6 tracks (or less than 30 minutes in total) and an album is a release of 7+ tracks (or more than 30 minutes in total).

    Licenses

    • Some releases may need licenses for certain areas (for example, cover versions will need licensing for the U.S), the ‘licensed territories to include’ and ‘licensed territories to exclude’ fields let us know where we are able to distribute your release(s).

    Rights holders

    • The (p) holder field is for the name of the phonographic rights holder for the release.
    • The (c) holder is the name of the graphics rights holder.

    Genres

    • The genres inputted must match the content of the release (we can be lenient to a point but we can’t submit a heavy metal track as an electro pop song!)

    Explicit content

    • Explicit content must be marked as such. This includes titles, artist names and lyrical content. There are certain stores that do not accept explicit content therefore this field must be correct.

     Services

    • The services field lets us know which stores to send your release to. Dance and electronic stores only accept dance and electronic music, karaoke and ‘sound a like’ stores will accept karaoke tracks, sound effects, public domain and excessive content whereas stores such as iTunes won’t.

    Album Artwork

     File sizes

    • The dimensions of the artwork should be square, 3000 x 3000 pixels minimum.
    • The image DPI should be 300 pixels/inch.
    • The image should be in RGB colour format.

    Artwork content

    • If there is text displayed on the album artwork it should match the metadata – the artist name and product title should be clear (however, you do not need to add text if you do not want to).
    • The image must be of high quality (must not be blurred, pixelated etc.).
    • Artwork must not contain pornography. Some nudity on artwork is accepted but the release may be marked as explicit.
    • Artwork must not contain pricing, references to physical packaging, references to it being a digital product, references to content that is missing (such as a DVD or lyrics) and must not advertise or up-sell another product.
    • The artwork must not be misleading (e.g. referencing an artist that does not appear on the release).

    Audio Files

    File sizes

    • Audio files must be 16 or 24 bit.
    • The audio file sample rate must be 44.1kHz minimum and 96kHz maximum.
    • The audio must be in stereo.

    Artwork content

    • The audio must sound professional (must be mixed). There should be no distortion, clipping or any other quality issues.
    • Any audio samples or unoriginal material used may need licenses.

    General/Misc.

    • Multiple copies of the same content will not be accepted (this could include repeated submissions of the same audio files with different titles or artist names).
    • Content may be hidden by some stores if if there are too many versions of a song that are available.
    • Compilations may be hidden by some stores if they contain tracks that duplicate tracks elsewhere in the store. Compilation may also be hidden if we or the stores realise that the tracks are not properly licensed or if the content has no editorial value.
    • Content must be legal and appropriate for the countries you own the license to distribute your content into.
    • Tracks on any album are not to exceed 99.

    If you have any questions regarding the release checklist please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  3. Is DIY the Way To Go?

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    Many artists are turning to labels in the hope they’ll become the superstars they dream of. But sometimes going for a label isn’t the best option. That’s what singer-songwriter Milow thought before he jumpstarted his career. He made the very wise decision to go DIY on everything. This is not only smart, this is also very positive for your career.

    Is DIY the Way To Go?

    Milow is pretty small compared to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. They started off DIY with the knowledge of how powerful the internet can be.

    The Good

    Distribution: You can use an online distributor to distribute your music to the digital and physical stores. This means that you maintain your rights as a musician and get a lot more income than in a label deal with royalties.

    Direct to Fan: You can also build a very close relationship with your fans. Just like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis believed that the power of the internet would be strong enough to build a fanbase. They connected to the fans through YouTube and Tumblr, which was their ‘label’ they used to do their marketing.

    Crowdfunding: This is connected to the last point above. If you’re willing to give your fans an exclusive view of what you’re doing, you can invite them to your crowdfunding website. Just don’t forget that crowdfunding (like Kickstarter, GoFundMe…) isn’t a charity. It’s a pre-sale of the actual work you’re going to deliver.

    Marketing: This can be a good and a bad thing. You have everything in hand if you do it DIY. In other words, you decide what you put out there and have full control of what you want to do. But this also means you have to invest into your own brand. Bear in mind that labels will see this as an ‘advance’ and would ask for the money back at one point.

    Making cover songs can help your career. Milow made a cover of ‘Ayo Technology’ by 50 Cent in 2008 on his acoustic guitar with a videoclip along with it. The Belgian artist got his international breakthrough and got in the top charts in like Finland, Italy, Germany and even Canada.

    Music Rights: With a label they’ll ask you to sign a contract where you have to part ways with your music (giving a piece of your music rights to them). They do this so they can distribute your music etc. You don’t have to do this when you go DIY.

    The Bad

    Funding (for recordings, videoclips…): If you are signed to a label, they will have a budget to promote you or to record your songs. You don’t have this when you go DIY. But then again, this is an opportunity to be very creative with your crowdfunding page.

    Marketing: DIY is a great way to go, but it doesn’t mean that marketing will be any easier. A label has the right connections to get your music to new potential fans. But, the thing about labels is that they won’t (most of the times) sign an artist that doesn’t already have an existing fanbase. If you look at the majors doing marketing campaigns, it doesn’t really feel human and feels more like a well oiled machine.

    Is DIY Right for Me?

    Labels are there to make it easier, but it’s really a choice you have to think about.

    Do you want to invest hours and hours into thinking of strategies to get your music to your old and new potential fans, and probably invest tons of your own money?

    Or do you want to get stuck in advances and probably get no royalties for the first years of your career?

    This doesn’t mean that all labels work the same way, but you have to be careful what you sign in regards of your music.