Are Independent Labels And Artists Getting Robbed By Distribution Companies?


Langham adds, “In other words, your distributor will only be as good as your marketing plans to sell the record. Labels are trying to turn distribution companies into record companies. Don’t expect them to do your work for you. Remember, their primary responsibility, as the distributor, is to get your records into the stores. ”

He urges his labels to have a website that contains the necessary tools to market their artist. The basic tools should be: high resolution JPEGs of the artist, a biography and discography, snippets of the CD, press releases, the artist’s tour schedule, a staff list of phone numbers and email addresses and a link to the distributor’s web site so consumer inquiries can be addressed.

Myth #4: After I secure a deal with a distribution company, the album I’ve worked hard to produce is guaranteed to sell hundreds of thousands of CDs.

With a diverse roster of clients such as Ablife Entertainment (Dr. Ed Montgomery’s label), The Cab Calloway Orchestra, a partnership with gospel legend and producer, Michael Brooks, and the highly anticipated release from The Harlem Boys & Girls Choir, CAD understands that each client needs a unique marketing plan to fit their target audience in order to maximize sales.

“A distributor is not making any money unless the record label is making money. So it’s in the distributor’s best interest to make sure that they cover the basic scheme of things and get their client’s product into the right stores.” says Langham. He comes from a corporate marketing background, which has helped in the positioning of his clients’ product within the retail system. He stresses the importance of signing with a distributor that understands sales trends, the target demographic of each artist, and knowing how to identify the appropriate retail stores to sell the music. For example, a traditional gospel quartet group will most likely have a different type of consumer than a contemporary urban artist, thus requiring a different retail strategy and positioning of product in order to meet the demand for sales.


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