October 29, 2020
Once you have made your record, you want people to hear it. This is called distribution.
Back when labels were in charge, an artist would find it difficult to get their music heard without being signed.
Now, because listeners are mostly hearing music through digital services like Spotify, and distribution services like Beatchain’s exist, artists don’t have to wait.
This means that, as soon as your music is ready you can release it on your own terms and begin to find your listening community.
Types of distribution platform
There are broadly three main types of distribution platform an independent artist can use to further their career, without a label.
- Invite only, free, taking 15% royalties.
These platforms target artists and offer free services, taking 15% of royalties. Unless you have an invite, you can’t use these platforms.
- Subscription services, no royalties.
These platforms ask for a yearly fee and don’t take any royalties. Normally, these services take down your music if you stop paying the subscription fee.
- Free, taking royalties (from 8%-15%).
These platforms are free to use and take a small percentage of royalties, when your music is played.
Where does Beatchain fit?
Beatchain is most like number 3 on the list, but it’s slightly different, because it’s more than a distribution platform. Beatchain gives artists access to their data, and helps them to grow, building their fan base and making the most of their content.
We want to be clear, so let’s break the Beatchain offering down:
- It's free to distribute with Beatchain – to get songs on all the major digital streaming providers (DSPs) costs an artist nothing.
- There are no annual fees to keep your music up on DSPs through Beatchain.
- With Beatchain, there are no hidden fees for Universal Product Codes (UPC) or International Standard Recording Codes (ISRC). You need these codes to release your music.
- We offer press links as part of the free deal, so you can share your release plans with press, playlisters and bloggers ahead of the release date.
- Artists keep 90% of their royalties. Beatchain takes 10% of mechanical royalties, only when an artist’s music actually gets streamed. If an artist leaves Beatchain, we do not continue to take royalties.
- Artists keep all their rights and masters. That means artists own their music.
- If an artist ever wants to leave, there’s nothing that stops them from working with someone else.
How does Beatchain compare with other distributors?
There are different distributors to choose from and they all work a little differently. It’s a bit boring, but it is really important to look at the terms and conditions of a distributor, before you sign up.
There are pitfalls to consider when choosing a distributor to work with. Here are some common ones:
- Some free versions only allow one song release per month. Beatchain lets you release three songs, EPs or albums per month – without any fee at all. An artist can be as prolific as they like when distributing with Beatchain.
- Some distributors charge additional fees for the product codes you need to release music. For example $20 for a UPC code to release an album and $5 for a single. That means artists do have to pay for distribution (for every new album or single) on these platforms. Beatchain provides these codes for free.
- Some distributors will remove your music from DSPs if you don’t pay their annual fee. These distributors can up their fees after a year, and change their fee amounts at any time, and artists will be locked in. Beatchain doesn’t charge an annual fee for distribution.
- Some distributors ask artists to enter into a six-month “right of first refusal” agreement when they sign up for distribution. Beatchain does not ask artists to sign a right of first refusal contract.
- Right of first refusal is a legal term. In distribution, a six-month “right of first refusal” agreement means that, if an artist wants to switch to another distributor or distribute their record in another way, the original distributor they signed up with can prevent them from doing so in the six month period after they leave that original distributor. There is no agreement like this when an artist signs up with Beatchain.
- Some distribution channels are just that: they only do distribution. Beatchain allows artists to distribute for free as part of a bigger plan that means an artist can develop and grow in one place, rather than having different platforms for social fan building and website creation.
Distribution doesn’t have to be difficult. Artists shouldn’t have to jump over hidden charges, limitations and legal jargon to work with a distribution platform.
Beatchain’s free distribution platform can help artists get their music heard when they are just starting out, and support them when they grow.