It’s no secret that the music world has been revolutionized by technology. Gone are the days of the record swap, of mixtapes pulled from the radio, of even – we hate to say it – cover art. With digital music streaming services, and their ability to index every song ever released; record stores and CD sales inevitably declined. Thus, record labels had to rethink their process. If everybody was streaming music online, then surely they had to catch up. Queue the distributor, and the distribution deal. As a consequence, digital distributors also arose – shunning hard formats all together in place of online only availability. So, if you’ve just recorded your own music, and are at a loss as to how to proceed, we at Zimrii are going to break down exactly what a distributor can do for you, and why we believe in a Blockchain encrypted digital future.
Old school distribution deals
Can you remember the last time you went into a record store? If the answer is no, then – you’re not alone. They’re harder to find, and even when you do – the prices on the fronts of the CDs might seem extortionate.
With less money earned from record sales, many labels don’t want to pay for bands studio process. In this case, they might offer you a distribution deal. The procedure required to get a distribution deal isn’t much different than a record deal, you send a demo to the distributor; they listen, they write back. The difference here, is that they won’t usually pay the money it costs to make the album (unless, of course, you have an M&D deal – but we’ll confess, those are on a downward spiral), but what they will do is get it into the stores. If your dream is to walk into HMV and see your CD there amongst the crowd, then, what a distributor can do for you, is get your music in the record shops.
In the past, physical distribution deals were used by larger artists to gain complete control over the music process – think Prince’s Paisley Park Records, which was distributed by Warner Brothers. Artists who could fund their own releases made up names of record labels, so if you ever see an ironic record-label name in brackets; that’s probably the artist themselves (you’d be hard pushed not to imagine the purple one in this colour). Thing is, unless you’ve got a fortune that’s akin to royalty, without the cash to fund expensive promotion and someone you employ to do your PR; you’re probably not going to end up with much profit from your album in store.
However, if your fan base is mostly younger, online, download in its nature – then you might be wondering what a distributor can do for you, if they’re a physical one. Truth is, physical distribution deals can often be more trouble than they’re worth. If you want your music heard, you need to put it where your fans are. Online.
So, what, you ask, was the solution to this? Enter the digital distribution revolution…
It’s a fact that digital distribution sells the best. More than half of the revenue artists gets is from digital sales and royalties (and that’s when they don’t even catch up for months). This figure is on the rise, eternally, and will always be one that grows. We are firmly in the age of digital content, and music has never been easier to download, share, stream and sample.
In a contrast to physical distribution deals, digital couldn’t be more different.
Digital distribution was born from the idea that music should be openly and readily available for anyone, easy to access online. Generally there’s no selection process, or pitches – you simply sign up, pay a yearly fee, and upload your tracks to the world. This allows you ultimate control – you can put your tunes right in the lap of the fans. The digital distributor will put your songs everywhere and generate your unique ISRC number, upload your artwork to stores, and let these places know when your music is to be released. They’ll also put it up for pre-order, if you select the right option.
In short, it’s ultimate independance and control over who hears your music; and the power remains entirely in your hands. Cool, huh?
But what’s the catch?
Whilst more profitable than physical distro, digital distro still suffers from two small problems. Royalties, and copyright. Despite requirements for your music to be uploaded 28 days before release, to get it in all stores – royalties will still take two to three months to come through. If physical distro goes out the window, and digital distro sours to great heights, then there has to be a solution to this, right?
We at Zimrii believe in change. That’s why we set up our vision of an ideal music future, Zimrii. Using cutting edge BlockChain technology (a read-write record that you can’t edit, only add too); we’ve brought you a platform that not only acts as a source of digital distribution; it uses smart contracts, fan engagement and global copyright. All in real time, so you get the money you deserve in minutes, not months. It’s basically our vision of the perfect answer to what a distributor can do for you. We hope you’ll jump on board with us and revolutionise your music. We think you deserve it.
Also published on Medium.