- OVERALL CONTENT:
Everything written here is based on actual experience between myself and any of the companies listed in this part of the blog. There is no hearsay and again, everything listed here on these pages, is based on pure experience, however, some of the terms are subject to have changed (please see below to contact us about any changes needed to be made) considering the landscape of this part of the music industry today. There is paperwork that is legally binding providing any business science behind any content in this listing.Also, aside from Tunecore and where noted above in each listing, all of these companies have a list of the same retail outlets. They alls seem to boast about getting songs and music into the same list of stores. I assume its some network because in some cases, these outlets are not even operable toady.Further, I have no direct tie to any of these companies and even though we do us some of them to this day, I honestly think its the lesser of all evils and that they all pretty much suck in some way. There is no way any of these companies have done the work to score a so called “10″ (ten) or a perfect score by my standards of working music, and I am talking that none of these companies get close to the perfection level. I also want to say that I have learned more about the landscape of the distribution over the last 4 years, than ever in my life. In some cases which I have stated about myself, I was maybe less [patient than I should have been at that time. I wanted instant gratification day one, and I had no idea of the process and time it took to work music digitally into stores.Overall, the ONLY reason I am posting this in my blog is to help anyone to never go through what I have gone through over the last few years. I feel great about this part of my life today, but it took a lot to get to this point time and I am NOT even 100% satisfied. Plus, there are corrupt companies that are scum bags that continue to take advantage of the control they have over the accounting and in some cases, they continue to take it upon themselves to collect that money. And, we have no way to stop that piracy.Oh and very last is that of the retailers that complied with doing the right thing with regard to taking down any illegal product, Amazon is awful, but at the same time, do like 13% of the marketplace. Its hard to get legal on that company when its much of your revenues. And, conversely, eMusic, REAL/Rhapsody and MySpace Music were absolutely on it when it came to dealing with that type of an issue. I am going to do another sweep around retailers and the next thing will be to make sure these retailers pay artists.As far as digital distributors, the worst company to deal with by far is REVERBNATION. They are against the artist. They make no bones about it and their marketing tools to entice the client, are based on lies. They are by far the worst company with regard to control, online today. They disguise themselves as a powerful player in this industry, but the fact is that they NOT only scam you business, they will NOT allow to get out of it. I marvel at how corrupt that company is towards artists and I do think if you do NOT get roped into paying to play if you will, Reverbnation is an ok marketing tool. Though its dated today and that company is best suited for bands that suck, and that can’t get any type of distribution in any way. And, any music artist that would use their digital distribution service, is again, either very poor musically and/or can’t get any of the others to distribute them. You have to be an idiot to use this company unless you don’t mind spending however much money to get and to get out of that situation. When in fact, no other company on this planet, acts that way towards its artists. I can safely say that Reverbnation will NOT be a company in this industry within the next few years. I have that in writing today and I have said that to people in writing now, three times this year. No one that acts that way towards music artists, is doing well in the board scheme of life.Distribution Company (Includes Aggregators):
Platforms are places people go to watch or buy films; aggregators are conduits between filmmakers/distributors and platforms; distributors usually take more rights for longer terms. And some companies combine more than one of these functions. They are the main conduits between labels, artists and retailers and various outlets that play or sell music.Upfront Cost
Any fee related to setting up your product in any way. Companies in this part of the music industry, do it either way. There are companies that charge up front fees and then in turn do NOT take any percentages of any sales. There are companies that cost you a set up fee and then they also take a percentage of every sale. And, then there are companies that have ZERO or no set up fee, and then you pay them ONLY a percentage of every sale. determining what is cost effective and most efficient and/or best suited for your project, is an article in itself, but I am in hope that this helps people figure it out a little better now that its laid out in one list.
The amount of money you must accumulate in your account, to be able to transfer a payout. If you do not earn that amount each pay period, that distributor holds that money until any sales revenues hits that “threshold” amount of money. All companies work different and have different amounts and some do NOT have any thresholds and would pay you no matter how low amount of money.
Sales Fee (%):
The percentage of any sales revenue, that the distributor makes on any sale, and then keeps for its fee.
Opt Out Time Frame:
Many companies offer termination after a specific term is set. It can be done monthly, yearly, two (2) year deals, three (3) year deals and in one case, a five (5) year deal. Upon termination, it takes up to six months on a good day, to actually get retail to do one of two things, take your product down from the system so it does NOT show and/or retailers merely “point the accounting” to your new distributor. That way they do not have to do the work to take music down, and then place the same thing right back up with the same exact situation.
The problem with the latter is that it can create an effect where you have multiple listings up at retailers. The other problem with this way of dealing is that it derived from the computer industry and not the music business. That way of dealing is how the early online companies, dealt with changing music from distributor to distributor. For instance, if you have listing as Sunset records for three years and then you start using Interscope or maybe you change your label name or maybe you switched Indy’s, etc., if it does NOT read exact, and / or internally for them, if the text copy does “match” exact, you could feasibly have another listing posted, with that new information.
Time Frame Take Down:
Also, regarding the opt out period and its misconception that it can happen instantly, is just not scientifically true by any means and never have I seen any take down process be easy, and done in a timely way. I have NEVER seen it where every last title gets taken down from every ;last retailer. Amazon is awful at talking product down from its servers. And, even a “30 day opt out period” may seem like it gets done in that span of time, I have never seen it happen in my life so plan accordingly and keep on it. Plus, you may want to contact retailers direct to make sure there are no multiple listings.
In many cases like I emphasized about here, “opting out” of old deals can very much lead to multiple listings of the same exact title.
Some companies want to work your titles and copyrights, exclusively during its Term. Some do not, however, I urge anyone to work it where its as exclusive as possible and what I mean is that if you use say Tunecore, which is a company that has a certain number of retail outlets they service. I could see using another company to get you in every other outlet, but again, I recommend that you do NOT overlap and/or have multiple listings from different companies. It creates havoc with regard to accounting and there is never a doubt that you would be losing out money in some way. In some cases, I have seen artists pay a fee, and yet have to collect some of that money from the other company that takes a percentage. It adds insult to injury so to speak which is why its important to plan this out well before you close any deals.
Another piece of advice is that everyone should think in terms of quality over quantity. Companies van boast about being in 500 stores, but if they don’t pay or if they go under or bankrupt, they keep 100% of your money.
Its best to know what company is placing what into stores, in every way.
This tells you whether you can work physical product like CDs and DVDs through them and into stores. Some are purely digital only and some use third parties and some have it under its own roof.
This to me, is a form of digital distribution but I pay my artists a flat fee for any On-Demand sale. Reverbnation has an in house On-demand system for not only CDs, but also for a small amount of merchandise (T Shirts). And, most other companies will use Amazon On Demand which used to be Create Space. They do things in an automated way. You add artwork, music files, text copy, etc., all through your companies, and then rather than having to stock up product to house in your office, studio or closets, as consumers buy your CD, its make in automated way at that time after the sale. They have film on demand system at Amazon/Create Space
This shows if the company offers any types of marketing tools in any way. In many cases, some of these companies offer ancillary services like marketing, licensing, publishing, etc., on top of any digital distribution. Some are included gratis and in some cases like at TuneCore, you can pay for say, its Songwriters Service. Reverbnation has excellent free marketing tools and the Orchard seems to have a good hand in licensing.
Overall 10 Point Rating:
The ratings are based on experiences and I have done everything in a real and non partisan way. I tried to pat some heart and should behind it but as far as business science, I do have a 15 point rating system that gets us to these numbers or ratings. Those numbers get added up and then divided by TWO (2) as the way to gain the zero (0) through ten (10) rating number. The only intangible are with my comments and that guides me to the final number. I either add up and/or add down accordingly and considering my experiences.
If you work at another Distribution Company that is not listed on this chart, and you would like it to be listed, contact us at any time.
If you are you a Distribution Company that feels the information placed here has been written in error, is wrong in any way, and/or is outdated in any way, please feel free to contact us at any time to tell us about it.