Music Distribution Deals & Recording Contracts in Perth & Australia
:: The Poll is now Closed
Quite often the ultimate aim of a band is to sign a “distribution deal” or some kind of “recording contract” as it’s perceived to be the crux of a career– However in today’s changing world of music distribution is it the best way to go?.
There are many factors you should consider in making your decision before signing on the dotted line.
In most cases you – the artist - want to achieve a higher profile than you currently have and sell more CDs or DVDs, however a distribution deal is not necessarily going to do that. Like any business you are reliant on good, regular promotion and marketing in order to create the demand for your product.
Will a distribution deal achieve this?
Well not necessarily, unless you are one of the few fortunate artists that will get record company support; quite often a distribution contract will leave you without much in the way of a marketing or promotion commitment. There may be an initial listing in one of the music store catalogues (Platterlog for example), an introduction to radio (no guarantees on airplay of course) a few targeted emails and some posters or adverts in the local press, all with the intent of providing you with substantial sales. All this will be done for a significant proportion of your profits. – There’s no free lunch!
CD sales continue to fall
It comes as no surprise to most of us that have been in the music industry for some time that we continue to see the sales of CDs in Australia (and the rest of the world) evaporate. Online music sales continue to climb and piracy robs many artist of a living.
So how does this impact on distribution?
Well as sales fall so do the numbers of CDs manufactured, less sales = less dollars in the kitty to promote and market and remember the money to market and promote your product ultimately comes from you – yes all you get really is an advance against sales. Typical orders for independent artists are now around 500 units, many don’t do reorders and at the end of the day all they have done is support the recording studios, manufacturers, magazines music store and distributor.
What questions should I ask of a potential distributor?
What marketing activities do you provide and at what price? After all on today's lower potential sales significant marketing costs can put a dent in any profits you may make.
How many artists to you have on your catalogue and how much time do you devote to each artist?
You don’t want to be just another line in a catalogue, or have a great CD that doesn't have the time and effort spent promoting it that you think it deserves.
What promotion areas do you use?
Do they email a lot to markets where most emails are routinely deleted as spam? Do they advertise in the press once and expect a fickle market to pick up on your cd that took months to put together?
Is there a place for a distributor?
Without doubt, after you’ve received some prior success with a cd or two under your belt then distribution deals can work wonders. They may have access to the large chains – and be able to shift large volumes of cds for you. They can also allow you the time to concentrate on the creative side of your career. And you’ll be able to negotiate a better deal because they will want you – rather than you “needing’ them.
So what are today's options and alternatives?
Quite frankly your own efforts can pay dividends for you. You’ll make contacts with industry people and be able to increase the amount of live work you do. That’s one of the most important areas of promotion and marketing available to you. Online stores with a proven track record and large number of visitors can also help. Look for alternates such as internet radio, compilation cds, competitions and music showcases – they are all low cost alternates to distribution deals and can provide you with considerable sales without signing your profits away.
Would you like to be part of Procopy's regular Distribution Deal/Recording Contract Forum? Sign up by clicking here. You can ask questions of your peers and industry experts or make comments on the state of the music industry in WA.
Is there a Distributor Performance Guarantee?
When approaching a distributor you should ask what performance guarantees are covered by their contracts if sales don’t reach certain expectations; for example do you get a rebate? How often are you given sales figures? When do you receive payments? You want your contract to cover these items and if possible include a sales minimum.
Do the discs and artwork have to be done by the distributor?
Simply put No! and only if you want them to control your whole project, While they may discount the price of the discs (because they will be making a reasonable profit from the distribution deal) you have no obligations to use their graphic designer or disc manufacture services. You can simply provide them with the product ready to sell.
Are you almost ready to release your next project? Ask for our Free CD Mastering pack Via our Contact Page
For more information, call Mark (the number's on the side bar!)