Label Services vs. Distribution Company

So… You’re an artist. You’ve recorded an album and now you want to release it. You don’t have a record label behind you. After producing your record you don’t have that much money left. You don’t know that much about distribution since your passion is making music, not the boring business stuff. Should you choose a distribution company or do you want label services? You have no idea? What’s the difference?

Well, today must be your lucky day because I’m now going to help you a bit by comparing two companies, of which one is a distribution company (TuneCore) and one offer label services (Absolute), and give my personal advice and opinion on what you should choose.

What does label services mean?

It’s basically like having a record label without actually needing to be signed by one, they become your record label but they don’t care if they actually like your music or not. You also get to keep all your rights.

What do they do?

They help you with releasing your music and getting it out to the right audience. They help with a lot of different things, just like a record label. A few examples of what Absolute, a label services business, can do for you is:

  • Digital Distribution, they help getting your music on platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal)
  • Marketing Services, together with you and their promotional teams they strategize, launch and then oversee marketing campaigns.
  • Neighbouring Rights Collection, they make sure you get all your royalties

You can read about all the services they offer here.

How much would it cost me?

So this is the tricky part, it costs quite a lot, which might be a bit difficult if you’re just starting out as an artist.

Is it worth it?

It depends how much work you’re willing to put in yourself, what knowledge you have of the business and how much money you have to spend. If you’re a more established artist and don’t have the time to do marketing, distribution, budgeting etc yourself and you have the budget for it- then it sure could be worth it. But if you’re just starting out then I would suggest you start with doing as much as you can yourself and maybe just get help with/learn how to do the specific things that you don’t know how to do.

How do I then get my music out there, if not through label services?

There are distribution companies, such as TuneCore, that helps distributes your music to digital platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music (and many more).

How does it work?

You pay them a fee of £19.99 the first year and then £33.99 each following year for an album and £5.99 per year for a single. You enter necessary metadata and send in the cover art. You then get to keep all of your royalties.

What do you think I should do?

Personally, I would advice you to choose TuneCore.

If you’re just starting out you can absolutely do a lot of the things that Absolute does yourself. Sure, they might not be done as good or as big but in the beginning I think that’s okay. For a starters you just need to get yourself out there and build yourself a reliable fanbase. Tunecore gets your music to the platforms and then you can promote it yourself on social media and thereby build a personal relationship with your listeners.

Of course having a company such as Absolute behind you would make it a lot easier and they might do it better. But if you don’t have loads of money then I don’t think it’s worth it. There’s a lot of musicians who’s made it on their own. Once you get a lot of gigs, your music is getting a lot of streams and you feel like it is too much for you to handle or you want to take your career to the next level. That’s when I would start to consider Absolute Label Services.

But of course there are pros and cons with both of the options so I’ll end this with a pros and cons list and then you can evaluate them yourself.
tunecorevisuals-000004128539-zj0ncj-originalpros-cons

 

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