How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company(20 tips)

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company: The digital music industry has been gaining momentum over the last decade.

Thanks to the consolidation and growth of a wide range of digital platforms.

For accessing and playing digital music, such as streaming services, downloads, digital media players, to name a few.

As a result of this shift in music consumption, digital music accounted for half of the all the revenue generated by the music industry.

How to start a digital music distribution company

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

Do you want to start a digital music company from scratch?

Or you need a sample digital music business plan template?

If YES, then i advice you read on.

Ever heard the aphorism that says ‘music is the food to soul’?

If you have then you just might agree that good music sure does come with its own attraction.

Anyone who has followed music trends so hard would quite agree that those who cook up music really do a lot of work to see that their songs are well accepted.

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

There is loads of business that have continued to evolve surrounding music.

One of which is the digital music label business.

What is it all about, you might ask? In a brief manner; digital music has to do with the distribution of music on the internet against having it on CD’s and what have you.

If you have a penchant for music and have been looking for what to do, then you may be looking to start a digital music company.
This article would show you all that you need to do to start your own digital music company. Here goes…
Digital Music Business

Sample Business Plan Template

1. Research is Key

Without a shadow of doubt doing adequate research in this field before delving into it would do you a world of good.

This means that you have got to take the research process really seriously.

The internet is one place where you can readily get all the information that you need for this starting your own digital music business.

There are loads of sites on the internet where you can get the information you need.

For example; you can use goggle as resource to get what you want.

One you read up ample of information, then you can embark on starting your digital music business.

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

2. Ask Experts

There are folks who have been in this business for a while now and they have only had success stories to tell.
It is for that reason that you have got to ask them a whole lot of question.
This is really important because you have are able to learn a lot from these experts, as well as learn a great deal from the mistakes they have made in the past.
If you do not know anyone around you who may already be in this line of business, then you can look to locate one from the internet.
Begin to exchange mails, and before long you would know a whole lot.

3. Develop a Business Plan

A business plan is one great way to start any venture at all, because it helps you a lot in putting things in place. Therefore, you have got to develop a workable business plan that you can run with. This would include information like; how much it would cost to start this venture, what setting it up entails, finding out whether it needs a license before operation and what have you. You may also consider looking at fixing in your short term and long term business goals.

Read also:25 Tips to Build-up Music School in Nigeria

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

4. Make a Decision

Now that things are looking up, then you can consider deciding on the type of music you want to deal in. Would it be a particular genre of music, say like R and B, or would you deal in all types of music. Doing this would help you start out strong.

5. Get a Space

This step is an optional one, as you may or may not want to start this business with an office space. If you do really want to keep costs at the barest minimum then you may consider starting from your home. If on the contrary you have got the funds and want to start a bit big, then you can ask your realtor to help get you an office space. Be sure that the location of business is in a business district, as there are folks who would want to deal with only professionals and where your office is located can be contributory.

Read also:Top 20 Worlds Music Makers Business in Akwa Ibom State

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

6. Register Your Business

It is important that you get your business name, as well as have your business registered. Gone are the days when entertainment businesses do not have to be registered. These days, organizations that choose to deal with you look out for such things. Get to the chamber of commerce of corporate office in your country and get the procedures started. After you have done this, be sure to find out if you would need a license to operate as the process varies from country to country.

7. Procure Your Working Tools

Next would be to procure the working tools that you need for business. Some of the tools that you would need would be first a computer- this is because as the name indicates digital then you have got to get a computer. You would need other equipments in your studio to get things underway too.

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

8. Be ready to invest in yourself and learn

Part of starting a music career is realizing that it starts with investing in yourself first. Whether it’s time or money, you have to be willing to put in the work to learn and get things done.

In order to build your career, you will need money, whether it’s to have someone build your website, pay for studio time, get CDs pressed, hire a designer for your merch or transportation to get to venues to perform. Again, it’s just like a business. You have to be willing to put up the capital and bet on yourself. If you can’t even invest in yourself to make sure you come off as a professional or ensure your music is high quality, how do you expect fans or anyone else to invest in you?

Not only financially, but also be ready to invest time into learning.

As they say, time is money. If you’re not investing money, you’re investing time into the creative aspects of music production or learning the business. You will be doing a lot of learning so prepare yourself. Unless you have a lot of disposable income and you can pay a bunch of people, you will have to do things yourself.

9. Start Advertising

In your business plan, do not forget to have your business strategies stated. This is because of the very important role that would play when indeed you begin to advertise. Be sure to also advertise your business via the internet. You may consider using the various social media platforms like facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Badoo and what have you to get things rolling. You can also adopt the means of meeting with artistes physically and telling them what you do. You can also think to partner with some other digital music business owners.

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

10. Understand the various ways you earn royalties from your music

This is an area that can be confusing and complicated. I did my best to simplify music royalties in this blog here.

As a recording artist, music producer, songwriter and/or music composer, you may have various income streams you can collect from your music (assuming you own the copyright to the songs) when it’s played or used in different situations. For example, if you put your music on places like Spotify, Pandora and Youtube, you are owed money or royalties from those platforms when someone streams your music.

Different types of royalties include:

  • Mechanical
  • Performance
  • Synchronization

11. Know how to distribute your music online

You can begin gaining traction for your music career by posting your music on Soundcloud and Youtube, but you’ll eventually need better distribution, especially if you want to be taken seriously. To get your music into major outlets like Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music and many others, you need a music aggregator (music distributor).

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

12. Think about building your team

I touched on this in a few of the previous points. If you really want to take your music career seriously, you will need a team. You may be one of the few artists who love running the entire business operation and manage to do it well in addition to all the creative, but it would be difficult to grow this way. You will need to find competent people you can trust and hand over control to in order for your music career to flourish in the future.

Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re just starting out so I wouldn’t focus too much on this yet. I feel you still need to be hands-on and know how to do certain things yourself. The idea is to eventually outsource jobs or tasks that you’re not the best at or would take away time from focusing on your strengths.

In the back of your mind, you want to assess new people you meet or even those already in your network that could potentially be a part of your team as you grow. Ultimately, you want people who are willing to grow with you, grind it out with you and not just trying to take advantage of your successes.

Here are some people you need to consider on your team as your career grows:

  • Managers
  • Booking Agent
  • Marketing Strategists
  • Photographer and Videographer
  • Assistants
  • Entertainment Attorney

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

13. Find opportunities to perform live

Unless you want to be someone who solely produces music behind the scenes for other artists or for licensing, you need to find opportunities to perform.

Live performances are more important than ever as an income source while record sales continue to decline. For upcoming artists, it’s an opportunity to convert people who may have not heard of you into paying fans in the future.

The idea is to get practice performing for others live, be comfortable in these live environments and improve. Just like with any other skill, you need practice and experience to get better.

Feedback is important too, so you know what to improve on. If possible, record your live performances to watch later. Also, watch live performances of your favorite artists and study them.

If you’re not at the level where people pay you to do shows yet, start developing your performance skills at family gatherings or open mics in your community, schools, churches and local businesses.

Eventually, you’ll want to hire a booking agent, but it’s safe to say that you’ll need to be able to get shows on your own first to show promoters and talent buyers that you have people who want to see you.

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

14. Know the basics of music copyright laws

One aspect that can get easily overlooked is protecting your music. To avoid this, you want to make sure you properly copyright your work.

Copyrighting your music prevents you from becoming a victim of copyright infringement (intellectual property theft). I was told by someone who used to be an A&R for a major label that they would scout for songs from lesser-known talent and check to see if the songs were copyrighted. If they were not registered, they could essentially steal it. This was a long time ago so I imagine it would be much more difficult to actually take someone’s song as their own in the digital age. But, the main point is to take precautions and know your basic rights as a creative.

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

15. Build leverage through value to get what you need

Sometimes it can take that one popular tastemaker, blogger, playlister or influencer to get you the publicity and exposure you need to get your career going. These are basically people who have a large audience of followers and can get your name out there to accelerate the growth of your fan base. Assuming, of course, that you have really good music that is worthy of attention.

For most artists, a random request to these individuals asking for promotion will often get ignored. So how do you get their attention? Think about what’s in it for them. How does talking about you or promoting your music benefit them?

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

Unless you know them or have connections, industry people are less likely to do you any favors just out the goodness of their hearts. No matter how good you think you are, don’t ever feel like you are entitled, especially if you haven’t proven yourself yet.

It’s important to understand what value you possess as an artist and how you can leverage it to get others to talk about you and promote your music. If you’re just starting, you won’t have leverage so you will need to provide value first.

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

16. Know yourself well to establish your artist/brand identity

You need to establish who you are as a brand to make it easier for people to identify and distinguish you from other artists.

This may be hard for some, but a good way to understand who you are is to establish who you are not. You need to know this to market your music to the right audience. Often times, you’ll want to reach people who are like you, that’s why I say you need to know yourself or have self-awareness. Establishing your brand and identity helps potential fans decide if your music resonates with them. Remember that your music is not for everyone.

Is your brand a static entity? No. I believe your brand or artist identity can evolve and change, just as we normally do as individuals. But it’s important, especially early in your career, to start with something that is authentically you to build around and commit to it.

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

17. Establish your online presence

There’s a difference between making music as a hobby and making music as a profession. Just like in business, presentation is important. Part of treating your music career like a business involves presenting yourself as an artist to take seriously. If you come off as amateurish, people can subconsciously associate you with lower quality and someone not worthy of attention. This is why having good quality visual components (photos, graphics, videos) is key to a strong online presence.

18. Keep making music and improving your craft

It sounds obvious, but it can be quite challenging in today’s music climate.

To combat the oversaturation of content and competitive climate for attention, speed has become a huge factor when it comes to making music. By speed, I mean how often you can release music consistently to stay top of mind and keep fans engaged. It may be challenging to balance the business and creative sides to produce quality music, but that has become the cost of entry.

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

Your success in the music industry ultimately starts with how good your music is. A good song can help jump start your career, but you need to keep pushing out music to build off that momentum.

Don’t fall into the belief that talent alone can sustain you, as there are other more important factors, like work ethic and promotion. Talent matters to a point, but if it doesnt translate into “good” songs that gain exposure, then it wont take you far.

19. Promote your music industry

Promoting your music is arguably as important as making the music itself. Your priority is to make quality music, marketing it through various channels is second. The good news is that you can keep pushing your songs to new audiences, even if it’s an older release because it’s always going to be new to someone.

With that being said, don’t get complacent. Keep refining your talents and skills. Whether it’s singing, rapping or producing, keep practicing and learning. Never stop developing as an artist!

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company

20. Treat your music career as a business

Whether you like it or not, being a music artist is like starting a new business. Part of the artist development process is learning how to operate your own business and hopefully turn your passion into a sustainable living.

In a traditional sense, your music is your product, like physical copies of your music. But even that is changing. Your brand has now become the commodity you monetize through your merch and tickets to see you perform. Regardless of the form your product takes, you need to operate as a business entity. There are different music business models you can implement, so its important to be aware of what they are and find what works best for you.

How to Start a Digital Music Distribution Company


Finally, do stay abreast with issues in the music industry so that you are able to quickly update yourself on happenings and trends. Truth is that you have got to stay current to really be at the top of your game in this field.

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