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The State of Music Distribution in 2022

This blog covers where and how to release your music to grow and diversify your music business (and why streaming isn’t the only answer).

Are you interested in monetizing your music as successful as possible? If your answer is yes,  you should carefully read until the end of this article and find out about some of the best performing ways and formats of selling your songs to music loving people all over the world:

  1. Streaming
  2. Vinyl
  3. CDs
  4. Digital downloads
  5. Single, EPs, albums
  6. Wrapping up

Streaming

While this might seem like the obvious first choice for distributing music, it’s also the easiest to misunderstand. Streaming is often touted as a tool for generating awareness more than anything else, with the qualification that artists shouldn’t expect to make any real money from their music itself. However, this notion is misguided — there’s still plenty of money to be made directly from your music, as you’ll see shortly, and streaming is no exception. The payout per stream is very small on every platform, a fraction of a cent. Clearly a few streams don’t make up a substantial revenue source … but multiplied over the course of a million+ streams, this will likely add up to thousands of dollars.

The key with streaming is to be patient; the ultimate goal on Spotify (arguably the most valuable streaming platform to be on at the time of writing) to shoot for is getting on playlists with plenty of listeners tuning in every day, which in turn will increase the likelihood of the platform promoting your music to more people. The discovery aspect is critical, but if you use it to your advantage, it can also be a valuable source of revenue for your music business!

Vinyl

Many listeners are flocking to vinyl in part to own a physical product created by an artist they love, but also for the “warmth” they feel is unique to this medium. If you’ve heard this idea thrown around extensively but aren’t quite sure what to make of it, here’s the simple version: vinyl has to be “cut” with grooves representing the waveform of a song in order to be played back. A record player uses a physical playhead to interpret those grooves as sound.

However, this process is nonlinear in nature — because the groove can never be a perfect representation of a waveform due to the resistance of the vinyl itself, and because of the additional nonlinear interaction of the grooves with the playhead during playback, the result is an imperfect representation of the sound. Nonlinear relationships in audio cause waveshaping, a particular type of distortion that, in the case of vinyl record, is often pleasing to the listener.

CDs

It’s easy to assume that between the rise of streaming and resurgence of vinyl, CD sales no longer have a place in the modern-day music industry. While CDs will likely never make up the lion’s share of music revenue again, they still fill a few key gaps opened by the massive shifts in the industry. …..

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