Once upon a time, the term ‘distribution’ for indie artists meant displaying the physical mediums in the conventional stores. The concept has now undergone a phenomenal change with the advent of digital distribution platforms playing a key role to success.


Today we see independent artists confronting the challenge of managing many effective ways of distributing their music digitally over the myriad platforms available. The massive number of options in front of the indie artists today really come as an advantage by enabling them to opt for the platforms that are highly suitable to their genre, present level of accomplishment and the long-term goals. Nevertheless, looking from the other side, the baffling number of options can only lead to more confusion. In fact, some indie artists are seen investing a lot of their time on managing the different distribution channels that do not give encouraging results justifying their spending. Hence the question is how to decide on the most effective strategy for digital distribution and how to invest in the right technology.

To be successful, the digital distribution you choose must enable you to get new fans besides letting you make enough money from the sales and royalties. It is always advisable to use multiple platforms like iTunes and Spotify. At the same time, considering the financial limitations in front of the indie artists, the strategies must follow a careful thought in order to get the maximum bang for their bucks.

A number of artists and music industry experts strongly believe that streaming is bound to witness a phenomenal growth in the future years. Among the 60 million subscribers of Spotify, over 15 million are paid users. Soundcloud says it has paid more than $1 million in revenue for budding artists, audio partners, and labels through its monetized streams. Similarly, Bandcamp has made a total payout of more than $100 million for indie artists from the time it was launched in 2008. This is notably an alternative to streaming that lets the fans support independent artists directly.

The different digital distribution providers are now focusing on creating technological solutions that can enhance the reach of the artists. Though platforms like CD Baby boast of a massive user base, this fact does not mean they are necessarily the best avenues to distribute your music. Most times, budding indie artists can benefit from using a smaller service as these services can deploy a personalized strategy for every artist to let their music reach more receptive and a broader base of the audience through highly targeted methods and playlists.

Some artists will find that it is good to start with a limited number of markets like iTunes and Spotify. On the other hand, some others might need elaborate strategies to pave way for their success. Often this can also mean offering some free music for the purpose of promotion.

Indie artists must primarily understand that there is no single universal strategy that can work well for all. It is therefore good to consult music technology experts to make sure that their plans follow a careful thought and are perfected over time paving way for success in the tricky world of digital distribution.

By Patrick Hill on July 3, 2018.