Just like any other product, music needs to go through the three main channels that are production, distribution, and consumption. Whether you are an upcoming or Grammy award-winning artist, you need music distribution.
Before the technological revolution, music distribution was strictly handled by middlemen and record labels. However, a lot has changed and digital music distribution has become very affordable.
iTunes become the main platform for digital music distribution. It is extremely fast and your fans can listen to your music as soon as you upload it.
This has made the music industry very lucrative. For the first time, artists are getting paid what they truly deserve. Digital music distribution might be a bit tricky, so here is how to get your music on iTunes.
Why is it Important to Get Your Music on iTunes?
Traditionally, music distribution was dominated by middlemen who got a cut of all the revenue from an artist’s music.
Although there are still a lot of middlemen involved in music distribution, artists can now get paid instantly. Independent artists can also keep 100% of all the royalties.
Getting your music on iTunes is also very important because it eliminates all the physical costs involved in physical distribution. This is because iTunes is an online platform that can be accessed by fans all over the world. That means that artists don’t have to incur any shipping or transportation costs to get their music to the fans.
Getting your music on iTunes also helps fast track your musical career. This is because you can upload several multiple songs or even an album once it is done. That means artists can work on as many songs as they want. Before iTunes, artists had to release one song or album and wait for a certain period before they could release more.
The period it takes for a song to appear on iTunes is relatively short. This also helps the artist’s fans have instant access to the songs once they are released.
The cost of music promotion is also reduced when you get your music on iTunes. This is because iTunes is a digital platform that is accessed by millions of people across the world. By getting your music on iTunes, you make it available to anyone at no extra cost.
The majority of the world’s population is young and mainly hang out online. This means that the only way to get your music to such a generation is by uploading it on iTunes. This is evidenced by the fact that iTunes became the largest retailer of music in 2010 and has held that position ever since.
Why you Need a Music Distributor to Get Your Music on iTunes?
As an individual or upcoming artist, it might be very difficult to get your music on iTunes. Here is where music distributors come in, they handle all the difficult details involved in getting your music on iTunes.
As an independent artist you’ll need a music distributor or aggregator if you do not meet the following requirements:
- Must have produced more than 20 albums
- Must have a Mac running OS X 10.5.8
- Must buy an International Standard Recording Code and Universal Product Code for each song.
These requirements are pretty tough especially for independent and upcoming artists. Having a music distributor helps you as an artist to get your music on iTunes without meeting the conditions.
The music distributor is also needed because they help prepare your music into a format that is acceptable to iTunes. They also handle all the legal requirements and ensure that you get a good fee for your music.
Some of the music distributors that are recognized by iTunes are:
Music distributors are also important because they can keep your song or album on iTunes. Many music distributors charge varying fees. It is important to look through a list of music distributors before selecting one that will get your music on iTunes.
How to Prepare Your Music Before Sending it to iTunes
You have to ensure that your music is in the correct format that is acceptable to iTunes.
The music must abide by all the standards of Apple. Your music must be of very high quality. If you are an independent artist, you need a music distributor.
A music distributor will handle the music preparation. This is because they have a closer relationship with iTunes and thus know what format the music should be in. The music distributor will then upload the song or album to iTunes. This may take some time depending on the music distributor.
If you are an established artist, who has also uploaded several songs on iTunes before. You need to fulfill all the requirements stipulated by iTunes. Preparing your music independently also means that you need to know how to come up with digital versions of your titles.
Before sending your music to iTunes, you’ll have to ensure that you have an International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) and Universal Product Code (UPC) for each song. The process of preparing your music and fulfilling all the requirements may take a long time. Thus, it is advisable to use a music distributor if you’re working alone.
How Long Does It Take to Get My Music on iTunes?
If you are working alone, it may up to a few weeks to get your music on iTunes. This is because the application process is very tedious. There are a lot of requirements that you’ll need to fulfill for your music to get on iTunes.
Apple also has a very long application process that may involve the artist providing their Apple ID, their credit card, and a U.S tax ID. On average, the application process may take up to 8 weeks. The process takes longer because they’re a lot of applicants.
Once your application is accepted and you have fulfilled all the requirements, you can upload your song. The song may take 1-3 days to appear on iTunes. If you decide to work with a music distributor, the process takes a shorter time.
Most music distributors may take between 7 and 28 days to get your music to iTunes. However, during the holidays, it may take more time for your music to get to iTunes. iTunes may also have random review processes that may delay the release of your song for at least 16 business days.
How Much Does iTunes Pay?
iTunes pays $0.70 per song. This charge is paid by the customers who have to pay $0.99 per song. The artist can also be paid $7 per album. The royalties from the songs also go to the artists.
This means that the artist can gain a lot of income. Depending on the music distributor chosen, the fees fluctuate and the artist may decide to pay upfront or from the royalties. Upcoming artists are advised to pay their music distributors upfront and keep all their royalties.
Once paid, you can receive the money through Electronic Funds Transfer, PayPal or check. If you are an artist based outside the U.S, the payment rates may change due to foreign exchange. You should also note that signing up for iTunes is free of charge.
When and How Do You Get Paid by iTunes?
You can get paid by iTunes after 30 days once your song is on their platform. To get paid, your earnings need to have reached the minimum balance threshold. To get paid, you must also have provided all your tax and banking information.
The payment may leave iTunes but not be immediately processed once it gets to your bank account. The bank may take a day or two to process your payment. The payments are usually made through Electronic Funds Transfer and PayPal. If you are an artist in the U.S, the payment may come in the form of a check.
iTunes pays artists a fixed rate on each of their songs that is downloaded. This means that artists with a wider fan base can earn more. iTunes also pays artists royalties when their songs are used. For instance, when a user adds a song to their iCloud, iTunes will pay the song’s artist a part of that revenue.
Artists are also encouraged to hype up their songs using social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook before releasing their songs. This is because the more attention a song receives, the more money it could help you make on iTunes.
Enjoy Listening to Your Music on iTunes
To say that iTunes changed the music industry is an understatement. It has become the biggest retailer of music in the world. Getting your music on iTunes is thus a necessity for you as an artist.
It will give you a wider fan base, more revenue and an opportunity to fast-track your musical career. If the process of getting your music on iTunes proves too challenging, don’t worry.
Music distributors such as Tunecore, CDBaby, and iMusician will help you get your songs on iTunes with ease and in the correct format. With iTunes in place, all you need to worry about is creating high-quality music.