Category Archives: Digital Audio

Musicians, Start Making a YouTube Content Strategy

By Lucy Blair & Caroline Bottomley at Radar Music Videos.

Devising A Content Strategy For YouTube

It’s an inescapable fact that YouTube is now the world’s largest music streaming site, and also its second biggest search engine.

As YouTube continues to mature as a content platform and revenue stream, it’s more important than ever for record labels and artists to have a solid content strategy in place for their YouTube content.

YouTube Content Strategy

“YouTube logo” by Rego Korosi via Creative Commons

But with over 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, how do you optimise content creation and make sure your content stands out? We speak to key music industry figures at record labels and MCNs to put together a two-part best practice guide to devising a content strategy for anyone in the music industry working with YouTube.

Part One

  • What’s Possible on YouTube?
  • Developing A Strategy
  • Content Checklist

Part Two

  • Content Scheduling
  • Content and Channel Optimisation
  • Collaborations
  • Measures of Success

PART ONE

What’s Possible on YouTube? Your first step is to identify your target audience and what you want to achieve on the platform. Building subscribers is the foundation for success, whatever you decide success will be. Jeremy Rosen, The Orchard’s Director of Audience Development, outlines the possibilities:

“Ultimately, building a successful channel gives the artist or label a large marketing platform. It can be a creative outlet, a good way to connect with fans visually, a place to test out material, and even a primary revenue source. As tools like Google+ integration mature, I estimate it will also become an important direct-to-consumer hub for artists.”

That direct connection to fans and the increasing importance of streaming music represent the main opportunities for Laura Bruneau, Anjunabeats’ Label Executive:

“YouTube is one of the main platforms where consumers stream music, especially younger audiences. Having a great content strategy means more people will find your music, play your music, and hopefully buy your music. And while they’re streaming they’re earning you revenue too. With the boom of streaming in 2014 with Spotify, Beats Music, iTunes Radio and of course YouTube Music, this is a key platform you can’t afford to ignore.”

So, marketing possibilities on YouTube relate to:

  • Discovery
  • Revenue
  • Cross-promotion
  • Up-selling / creating a D2C sales hub
  • Artist creativity
  • Fan relationships
  • Developing A Strategy

To develop a content strategy, work on tying in your on-YouTube goals to your off-YouTube goals.

Artists and labels will naturally need to focus on creating different kinds of content, according to Jon Baltz, INDMusic’s co-founder and Vice President:

“An artist that is about to go on tour should release videos that further their tour, reminding the audience where they will be and when they will be there. A label on the other hand is juggling release schedules for several artists and tours. The label should be producing art tracks (videos with still image and audio), lyric videos, and official music videos, with a focus on upcoming releases.”

Should established and new artists create different kinds of content on YouTube? Yes, according to Laura Bruneau:

“The most important distinction between an established artist and a new artist is the size of their current audience. If you have an established artist with a big audience, you can focus on creating more ambitious and interactive YouTube experiences. For example, live-streaming or Google+ Hangouts On Air are examples of content that I would recommend more for established artists than a new artist, as you know you have sufficient numbers for your audience to be engaged in a live event. For a new artist, you need to build their personality on the channel alongside their brand. A good way to do this is to create a fan-led, pre-recorded interview series like our ‘Tea With Anjuna’ series, where fans are encouraged to send in questions for the artist via social media in the run-up to filming, and then the questions are posed to the artist on camera. That way, you’re ensuring that the questions asked are what people really want to know about and it makes your audience feel involved. Interviews are also a great way for artists to put across their personalities in a relaxed and enjoyable environment and plug (in a non-salesy way) what they’ve got coming up.”

Content Checklist

What kind of content do you want to create? The possibilities are endless. Content types span:

  • Documentary: self-shooting, artist POV mobile footage, interviews / pieces to camera
  • Live: gigs / rehearsal footage
  • Promo: lyric videos and full blown promos

Here’s a checklist of content that artists and labels should and could be creating and curating on a regular basis: 

  • Official music videos / release videos
  • Audio uploads of music with a static visual (aka ‘art videos’)
  • Live performances
  • Lyric videos
  • Behind the scenes (which could be anything from a ‘day in the life of’ to a tour video diary or the making of your latest music video)
  • Covers
  • Breaking news announcements (e.g. a new album/single/tour, or a big milestone)
  • Tutorials
  • Interviews including fan led
  • Video press kits promoting your latest album/single/tour
  • Playlists
  • Fan-generated videos
  • Competitions
  • Google+ Hangouts on Air
  • Live-streaming (archive-able streaming may be necessary across different timezones)
  • Episodic events

Cost and complexity range from free and easy to expensive and professional. As Jon Baltz says, “Not every video has to be an official music video with a big budget; syncing your music to what you film with your smartphone out of a train window can be just as effective.”

It’s also worth bearing in mind that building engagement doesn’t always mean having to create new content; curating playlists is a great way to mark yourself out as a tastemaker, and will keep your homepage looking fresh and interesting with regular content. Updating your subscriber feed is also key, as Jeremy Rosen advises:

“It’s possible for your subscribers to see when your channel likes, favourites, adds to playlists, or comments. Scheduling this activity to, say, promote a video from a band you’re touring with or a crazy viral video can help keep you at the top of your audience’s mind.”

YouTube Generation

“YouTube Generation” by jonsson       Creative Commons

PART TWO

  • Content Scheduling
  • Content and Channel Optimisation
  • Collaborations
  • Measures of Success

Content Scheduling

The days of aiming to create a one-hit ‘viral’ on YouTube as a marketing strategy are long gone. These days it’s more helpful to think of YouTube as your own TV channel.  Think of content as programming – and not programming for an album cycle, but a 12-month content cycle.

It’s essential to create a programming schedule and produce regular content to drive subscribers, repeat views and watch time, and to give subscribers a reason to return to your channel. As Zac Vibert, Hospital Records’ Head of Digital, puts it:

“If you look at the traditional TV model, scheduling is a big part of it – and YouTube is no different. Have content that viewers can come to expect and look forward to. It is important to have regular content uploads, but also make sure you prioritise quality over quantity!”

Jeremy Rosen advises: “At a minimum, there should be one piece of video content posted to your channel each month. Try to keep it a consistent day of the month, like every third Thursday, and publicise that fact. For a label these would typically be music videos or lyric videos. An individual artist would probably have a short monthly update or Hangout on Air scheduled. You could also consider publishing music on a regular basis or come up with an episodic concept you’ll be able to pull off consistently (like “My Top 5 Listens This Month).”

Laura Bruneau makes an important point about programming unreleased content: “YouTube is a great way to preview unreleased material to your audience – plus your content is monetised and preview content makes it much easier to automatically remove unauthorised 3rd party use of your content. However, it is important to mix up this regular standard content with things like interviews, behind the scenes content and music videos so that your audience does not get bored. I would suggest at least 1 piece of non-release video content per month, or more if you have the time/budget.”

Different types of artist need to cater to their respective audiences when it comes to content programming, according to Jon Baltz: “More established artists have the luxury of being able to widely space out their content because every time they release something people will jump on it. New artists are in the exact opposite situation; they need to be putting out new content constantly, at least once a week.  The goal of releasing videos for a new artist should be growing an audience organically. Producing a viral hit is great, but a viral hit is most valuable when it generates views on older content – that makes fans.”

At Midem, INDMusic also recommended scheduling 6-8 pieces of content to support an ‘activity’ – be it announcing a tour, releasing a single, planning a hangout etc.

Content and channel optimisation

It’s not just about what kind of content you create or how often you upload it; if you don’t optimise your content properly, it won’t get the views or subscribers that you’re aiming for. Remember that YouTube is one giant search engine and, as Zac Vibert advises, “Never underestimate the importance of good data!”

Keywords are the most important factor in making your content easily searchable, so always ensure that your video titles, descriptions, links, annotations, tags and thumbnails are optimised. In addition, use tools like playlisting and in-video programming in order to link your viewers to related content and keep them viewing videos within your channel.

Laura Bruneau points out that monetisation is another key factor: “Other people will be exploiting your catalogue so it’s essential that you are too! Make sure that you have claims set up on your audio so that you are monetising 3rd party content. You might not realise how valuable this is, but the bulk of our YouTube income at Anjuna comes from other people using our songs, rather than our own uploads.”

Collaborations 

Collaborate with your fans: YouTube is one of the most powerful social networks in the world, so focus on building up and engaging your community on YouTube. Tailor your content around the likes/dislikes/needs of your viewers, engage with them and evolve your content strategy accordingly. Consider creating video content to answer the questions/comments of your fans instead of another blog post, tweet or Facebook post.

Zac Vibert advises: “Make YouTube the central hub for your music/artists, and create a community feel to your channel. If you want to build a good following, try to prioritise your channel and make sure you upload your music to YouTube first.”

Collaborate with your peers: artists and labels should also look into creating collaborations with fellow musicians and music networks in order to reach new audiences and cross-promote content across a wider channel network.  As Jeremy Rosen suggests, “Consider approaching YouTube creators to help you. There may be a vlogger or episodic series on YouTube which fits your fans, your style, or are simply fans themselves. Some of the best videos on YouTube have been collaborations between channels and the value in cross-promotion is a no-brainer. Consider it product placement, with you as the product.”

Measures of success

How will you know if your content strategy is delivering the right results? If you don’t measure it, it’s not marketing. YouTube Analytics gives you a detailed insight into what content is and isn’t helping you achieve your YouTube objectives. Check Analytics regularly and keep an eye on not just numbers of views, but also subscribers, watch time, engagement and so on. You can then adjust your content strategy accordingly.

And as a final note, the YouTube Music Playbook PDF is one of the best guides to the platform that there is, so use it to your advantage.

Time to get creative…your fans are waiting!

Radar is an award-winning network of over 10,000 music video directors worldwide. Radar enables labels, artists and managers to commission great music videos for affordable budgets, between $800 and $8,000.

Radar helps music video directors progress their professional careers. It is a free service for labels, artists and managers. We charge a small subscription fee to directors to access and pitch on briefs.
Radar Music Video

 

Related Reading

YouTube Statistics (YouTube.com)
YouTube Multi-Channel Networks 101 (YouTube.com)
YouTube Creators Hub
PDF-YouTube Playbook Guide:Music (11MB download)
YouTube, BPI and INDMusic talk Online Music Video Strategies (#Midem) (Musically.com)

How To Issue A DMCA Takedown Notice To Google

Its always exciting when an artist has a new release go public, but these days (and I’m old enough to have had vinyl/CD only releases in the 90s) its often tempered by the fact that the same day your release gets out it also appears on P2P networks and the endless pile of borderline legal filehosts. So, to try and keep an eye on things the first thing I do is sign up for Google alerts for new mentions of both my artist name, 99th Floor Elevators and the title of any new release, in this case ’99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP’.

99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP

Of course the very next day of my latest release I did my usual Google search query and although the Beatport (they had the exclusive option on the release for the first few weeks) entry was top of the SERPs, and my own 99th Floor Elevators MP3 page was second, queuing up in the majority of the results underneath was a swarm of outlets offering that very same release, free, most even showing the official MP3 artwork, one even having the cheek to use Beatports widget so ‘freetards’ could stream the tracks first!

First things first. I contacted the offending websites in the top 20 results (and this really is like playing whack-a-mole*) and issued DMCA’s (here’s a sample DMCA takedown notice), then I (for starters, I’ll be repeating the process today) filled in Google’s online DMCA takedown submission form with a sample of offenders from the top 10. Be aware that there is a separate process for YouTube.

Anyway, to cut a long story short the results from the first page that I had submitted to Google were gone less than 24 hours later. Bravo.

99th Floor Elevators issue DMCA takedowns to Google

Of course, the very same day those links that were removed were now being replaced by a whole host of new parasites (to which hopefully the same process will remove them as quickly!).

If you want to go through the same process yourself , read this piece from IP Watchdog, which will help you write a template DMCA notice to issue to individual websites (separate to filling in Google’s online submission form).

Sample DMCA Takedown Letter instructions.

You’ll generally find that the file hosts are much less responsive than Google, if they respond at all, but issue them anyway. Then, get them removed from the Google SERPs. Start here:

Removing Content From Google (Google Help)

And do remember also that this process is very much the same whether you’re finding your images used, videos or anything being shared or exploited, without your permission. There’s a separate process for infringement on YouTube.

Related Reading

Safe Harbor Not Loophole: Five Things We Could Do Right Now to Make the DMCA Notice and Takedown Work Better (The Trichordist)
Google URL Takedown Requests Up 100% In a Month, Up 1137% On 2011 (Torrent Freak)
The DMCA is not an Alibi: The Googlization of Art and Artists (Music Tech Policy)
Pirate Bay block effectiveness short-lived, data suggests (BBC News)
Stock DMCA Letters (Plagiarism Today)
Game of Whack a Mole Continues as Big UK ISPs Block More Pirate Bay IPs (ISPReview)
DMCA Takedown 101 (Brainz.org)

Google Respond Within 24 Hours To My DMCA Takedown Notice

Its always exciting when an artist has a new release go public, but these days (and I’m old enough to have had vinyl/CD only releases in the 90s) its often tempered by the fact that the same day your release gets out it also appears on P2P networks and the endless pile of borderline legal filehosts. So, to try and keep an eye on things the first thing I do is sign up for Google alerts for new mentions of both my artist name, 99th Floor Elevators and the title of any new release, in this case ’99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP’.

99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP

Of course the very next day of my latest release I did my usual Google search query and although the Beatport (they had the exclusive option on the release for the first few weeks) entry was top of the SERPs, and my own 99th Floor Elevators MP3 page was second, queuing up in the majority of the results underneath was a swarm of outlets offering that very same release, free, most even showing the official MP3 artwork, one even having the cheek to use Beatports widget so ‘freetards’ could stream the tracks first!

First things first. I contacted the offending websites in the top 20 results (and this really is like playing whack-a-mole*) and issued DMCA’s (here’s a sample DMCA takedown notice), then I (for starters, I’ll be repeating the process today) filled in Google’s online DMCA takedown submission form with a sample of offenders from the top 10. Be aware that there is a separate process for YouTube.

Anyway, to cut a long story short the results from the first page that I had submitted to Google were gone less than 24 hours later. Bravo.

99th Floor Elevators issue DMCA takedowns to Google

Of course, the very same day those links that were removed were now being replaced by a whole host of new parasites (to which hopefully the same process will remove them as quickly!).

If you want to go through the same process yourself , read this piece from IP Watchdog, which will help you write a template DMCA notice to issue to individual websites (separate to filling in Google’s online submission form).

Sample DMCA Takedown Letter instructions. You’ll generally find that the file hosts are much less responsive than Google, if they respond at all, but issue them anyway. Then, get them removed from the Google SERPs. Start here:

Removing Content From Google (Google Help)

Related Reading

Safe Harbor Not Loophole: Five Things We Could Do Right Now to Make the DMCA Notice and Takedown Work Better (The Trichordist)
Google URL Takedown Requests Up 100% In a Month, Up 1137% On 2011 (Torrent Freak)
The DMCA is not an Alibi: The Googlization of Art and Artists (Music Tech Policy)
Pirate Bay block effectiveness short-lived, data suggests (BBC News)
Stock DMCA Letters (Plagiarism Today)
Game of Whack a Mole Continues as Big UK ISPs Block More Pirate Bay IPs (ISPReview)
DMCA Takedown 101 (Brainz.org)

Adding Music to Your Blog with Spotify in 60 Seconds

Spotify recently added Play buttons to their expanding list of viral functions, which basically means people like me and you can do this:

In all of 60 seconds. How so?

Go to your Spotify desktop app, right click on the track you want to add to your website like this.

Spotify for your website

I chose the brilliantly moody ‘Panoramic’ by the Stereoscopic Orchestra from the soundtrack to the Hughes Brothers underrated ‘The Book of Eli‘.

Go here and paste in the URL you just grabbed.

Grab the embed code and paste it into your site, blog, social profile, widget, where ever…

Pretty damn neat. You can use the compact widget like I have above or include artwork.

GrooveShite…

Jeff Price @Tunecore blog nails it.

“Let me start by saying I don’t like Grooveshark.  Actually, in my opinion, they knowingly and willingly use a legal loophole to steal from artists and songwriters.”

[blackbirdpie id=”190532040624574464″]

And

“I’m all for technology reinventing things and disrupting things, but do you really need to kick the artist in the face to do it?”

The Digital Music Distribution Handbook

Signup for the Buzzsonic Digital Music Distribution Handbook PDF

OK, this one has been ‘in the pipeline’ for ever and a day but is definitely in the final drafting stage at last. ‘Music Industry Hacks Vol:1-The Digital Distribution Handbook 2012’ is a more professional (I hope!) version of my previous digital distribution round-ups I did way back in three parts right here. The three lengthy posts were cobbled together as one PDF rather crudely a while ago (which you can still grab here) for reference purposes. Looking back at it now its all quite haphazardly edited and quite out of date now.The Buzzsonic Digital Music Distribution Handbook 2012

So, I felt it was time to get something together that updates everything and goes a little bit deeper with the ‘Digital Distribution Handbook 2012’, which should pull in every digital music distributor on the planet, including some direct-2-fan services (like Bandcamp) as well as the expected aggregators.

It will be in PDF format only, simply because that’s a more universal format that can be read on Mac’s, PC’s and handhelds everywhere.

Its completely free and is expected next month and if you want to get it first simply add your email address (click the clumsy looking red box above) and you’ll get a download link before everyone else. If you dont want to share your email address that’s fine too, there will be a direct download link at a later date. So make sure you keep your eyes peeled on the @Buzzsonic Twitter feed.

Meanwhile feel free to add any suggestions in the comments. Great stuff!

 

Viinyl.com. MP3 Singles Promotion In ‘3D’

Viinyl is a cool new service from Canada that enables anyone to create an interactive single song-site within minutes that comes with lyrics, artwork, videos, notes, various download options, promotional tools and analytics.

I was able to upload a track, add a YouTube video, about page and sort out my one page site in just a few minutes here. It’s a great tool for bands and artists who want a way of dishing out a free download in exchange for that all important email, or as a mini EPK or simply as a quick introduction for a promoter, potential manager or A&R.

The service is in Beta invite only mode right now as they test and add new features. What is looking promising is the possible use of Viinyl as use as a satellite micro-site for acts to promote singles once Viinyl add buy links (iTunes and AmazonMP3 purchase links are  on the way.)

Right now Viinyl offers the option of adding YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace social network links and integration with services like Soundcloud is promised within the next few weeks. One neat touch is the ability to add your Google Analytics code for extra tracking.

Viinyl.com MP3 Promotion for artists

The site reads , “The Viinyl platform turns your song into an interactive website – a digital version of the 45rpm single with artwork and videos. Viinyl sites are optimized to travel the web, engage fans, grow market demand for your band and increase customer loyalty using marketing techniques for the web.”

My only ‘difficulty’ with Viinyl was preparing the background image for the page, and getting it positioned correctly, which proved time consuming without any template guidelines. Not a problem you’d encounter if you were using a single large image (guidelines are 1280 x 800px), but if you were trying to position logos and the like it takes a few attempts to position things correctly. CEO Armine Saidi promises a template system to counter these potential problems asap.

All in all, its a fantastic looking service, very easy to use and will prove to be even more invaluable when the promised new mods and additions come into play in a few weeks.

Some great examples of Viinyl users here.

Related Reading

Music Singles Enjoy Record Breaking Year (The Guardian)
Official UK Chart Rules (OfficialCharts.com) PDF
Billboard Digital Songs (Billboard.com)
Best Year EVER For UK Digital Music Singles (Slyck.com)

The Ultimate Digital Music Distribution Round-Up (Part Trois)

I’ve actually been promising an update to my two earlier posts on digital music distribution for waaay too long now, so apologies to all for the horrible delay (April 2009? What the..). Anyway. In case you missed them…

Part 1: ‘Exploring The Digital Music Distribution Jungle’ April 2009
Part 2: ”Digital Music Distribution Round-up Part 2′ April 2009

There were seventeen companies mentioned in Pt.1 and thirteen in Pt.2. Out of them, the only change to report from part one is that Australian based Musicadium has been rolled into Valleyarm.

In part two, WaTunes dropped their bespoke distribution service and changed tack to become a ‘social music store’ and now choose to go thru ReverbNation for distribution services.

The rest, as you were.

Rather than go over the same points here you’ll be much better off catching up with the first two parts. To make things a little more convenient I’m welding the three pieces together as one PDF so you can print and study at leisure.

Some points you may want to take into consideration when choosing a distributor.

Location. Is your distributor of choice in your own country? Possibly a key issue because of currency differences and support concerns. Do they have phone support? A physical address?

Read the websites about page to find out names, history and credentials. If they have none, move on. Use Google. A lot.

Always amazes me when some site pops up claiming combined “20+ years industry experience” but giving no actual NAMES. Then you get a PO BOX for a mailing address. Run. In the opposite direction. Continue reading

Digital Music Distribution Round-Up Part Two

I didn’t get to mention all the digital music distribution outlets that I wanted too in my (part 1) post a few days ago, ‘Exploring The Digital Music Distribution ‘Jungle’’, so I thought I’d update the list in this ‘quick’ additional post. Thanks also to the  feedback and suggestions I got, especially from 101 Distribution and @Charles at 247 Entertainment.

Again I’ll refer to the  major download retailers as the ‘Big 5’ which right now would be iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, Napster and Rhapsody.

Pro Music – Online Music Stores – Not a distribution company but an online worldwide map of legal online digital music retail stores listed by country and maintained by the IFPI and a very good resource for checking out worldwide outlets. The same website maintains  weekly download chart links across mainland Europe and Japan. Right now Lady GaGa seems to be universally topping the charts across Europe with ‘Poker Face’.

digital-music-revenues-2008-ifpi

EPM Electronic – (Maastricht, Netherlands & London, UK)- European based company with a very comprehensive list of stores they service, including the ‘big 5’ worldwide and a very large selection of niche and independent retailers, including all the major electronic dance music stores across the USA, the whole of Europe, Asia and the Far East. Also cover some of the major mobile platforms like Nokia, Vodaphone and 3 Mobile. MySpace.

Its one of those application deals, where you fill in a short form and upload a music sample. There’s no terms on the website but there’s a demo page for label management.

WaTunes -(Atlanta, Georgia, USA)- One of the newer aggregator/distribution channels around, WaTunes are different from just about all the rest in that there is no sign up fee (at the moment) and the artist gets to keep 100% of sales royalties. They distribute to four of the ‘ big 5’ (excluding Rhapsody), plus Shockhound, Zune, Beats Digital and Masterbeat. I’m not entirely comfortable with the ‘everything is free’ revenue model tbh as it doesn’t exactly stimulate financial stability. CEO Kevin Rivers is  blogging here and tweeting here if you want to fire questions. MySpace.

Vidzone Digital Media -(London, UK) – leading distributor of Independent music via mobile networks internationally. More than 130 distribution partnerships across 40 countries. Have a very informative PDF of digital music FAQs too. A checklist of the basics and more advanced info on need to know stuff like UPCs, Metadata and ISRCs. Aimed at labels rather than individuals.

digital-music-revenues-2008-ifpi

Digital Pressure -(Hollywood, CA, USA)- Another long standing big player on the digital distribution front and one of the first. Digital Pressure have been around since 1997 and are a subdivision of Peer Music. Seem to work more with labels/catalog and a percentage cut with no upfront fees. MySpace. Twitter.

“Our contracts with content owners are four-year, non-exclusive distribution agreements. These simple contracts empower Digitalpressure to become your exclusive agent for all of the partners within our global distribution network, but allow you to distribute your music outside of our relationship through any other service or site, including your own.” Contact page.

Ingrooves -(San Francisco, CA, USA) – Long standing distributor who also specialize in licensing music. Main site was down at time of writing. Another aggregator working with a percentage  share. MySpace.

Zebralution -(Berlin/London/LA)- One of the longer standing independent digital music distributors headed up in Berlin, Germany with multiple regional offices worldwide. Huge network of retailers worldwide including the ‘big 5’, genre specific retailers and mobile music outlets. Warners acquired a significant stake in the company in 2007.  There’s an application process for labels hereMySpace.

The CAN
-(Australia) – Oz based Chaos Artist Network supply all major digital retailers globally (iTunes etc) and traditional retailers throughout Australia (JB Hi Fi, Sanity, Big W, Leading Edge etc). Distribute physical product, CDs and DVDs as well as servicing digital retailers. Part of the Stomp entertainment group. MySpace.

EarBuzz.com -(New Jersey, USA)- Two programs offered here, the earBuzz set-up, which costs $25 sign-up and $2 a month for you to sell Cds and downloads on the earBuzz website. An additional $39 enters you into the WWX program which gets you into the ‘big 5’ retailers, ringtone store Myxer, We7 and LaLa. There’s same day payout for sales onsite and 100% royalty share. MySpace.

DashGo -(Santa Monica, CA,USA) – A slightly different selling point from Dashgo. They distribute music via the usual ‘big 5’ retailers and also offer placement on social music outlets including LastFM, iMeem, Blast My Music, iLike and YouTube which includes analytics breakdown. Also provide “full-service digital sales and marketing solutions, promoting your content to digital retailers, securing positioning with social sites, and soliciting coverage on influencer blogs and discovery sites.” Also offer the Audioswop service with YouTube. Twitter.

Kontor New Media -(Hamburg, Germany)Worldwide digital content distribution of music, video, ringtones and audio books. Include the ‘big 5’ and a bunch of dance music outlets, Zune, Nokia, FNAC, 7 Digital and mobile music retailers. Contact. MySpace.

Consolidated Independent – (London, UK)- Not a service for individual artists. CI only works with labels or distributors with more than 200 tracks in their catalog. Fees start from £150 a month. Cover just about every retailer on the planet it seems and promise to get labels into ones that aren’t already on their list.

FineTunes-(Hamburg, Germany)- Not to be confused with Finetune. Finetunes distribute across all the major digital retailers as well as providing software solutions for labels, download stores and artists websites. Twitter. MySpace.

Was going to add Wild Palms but their website seems to be in disaray right know, so we’ll see later.


Related Resources

Digital Distribution For Unsigned Artists (PDF) (Chaos.com)
WaTunes Sells Your Music On iTunes And Amazon Free Of Charge (Techcrunch.com)
Get Music Online-Online Music Stores (Pro-Music.org)
DashGo Connects Musicians and Labels to Social Media (Mashable.com)
IFPI Digital Music Report 2009 (32pg. PDF) (IFPI)
The Digital Top 40 FAQ PDF (VidZone Digital Media)
Independent Distribution Solution:Getting Records from Concept To Consumer (Narip.com) (MP3 audio files with PDF and Excel Spreadsheet documents in a zip file.$59.99)
Music and Metadata (XML.com)
Digital Distribution (BeMuso.com)
Should I Do Something About Metadata? (NewMusicStrategies.com)

Exploring The Digital Music Distribution ‘Jungle’

I’ve touched on music distribution issues here before with Tunecore, Bit Torrent and even good old analogue vinyl but thought I’d dig around a bit deeper as there seems to be new distribution services springing up on a regular basis these days. Be they aggregator or ‘widget’ type tools. Ill be covering digital music aggregators here first and covering website widgets later in the week.


The Music Void – Denzyl Feigelson on MUZU

Things To Consider When Choosing Digital Music Distribution

With the Internet its easy to research background on companies these days. Thats what Google is for. Do it. Search around the distributors website. Look for the names of people running the company. Put a shout out on Twitter or music  forums if you need user feedback on any service.

What is the distributors background, how long has the company been around?  What is the revenue model ? Upfront yearly admin fee (like Tunecore) or a percentage of sales (CD Baby take 9%).

Which digital retailers do  the aggregators distribute too? Also, check the distributors  list of bands, artists and labels that are using their services. Always a good reference point. Its reassuring to know that Tunecore (who I use) also handle digital distribution for established artists such as NiN,  David Byrne & Brian Eno and Jay Z and newer MP3 blog faves like MGMT.

Also you need to know that you wont be signing away rights to your music and that you wont be tied down to any lengthy fixed terms

Music industry scribe Moses Avalon has a good breakdown of distribution terms for a few aggregators on his website. Its a couple of years old and as such covers only the longer established companies but is still very relevant. Continue reading