I feel so lucky to be part of the music industry in 2018. Global revenue is approaching an all time high, the old white man culture of misogyny and manipulation is dying out, and artist managers and artists have more leverage and influence than ever.

This morning’s announcement that Spotify will be allowing artists to upload directly to Spotify in reality, doesn’t change a whole lot right away. Artists have been able to have their records featured on every streaming service for less than $100 via services like TuneCore for years.

All this change does is save artists that fee for third-party distribution sites, however they still need to get their music up on Apple, Google, etc. – so until those retailers follow Spotify’s lead, services like TunCore will have their place.

So what will change? Below I’ve outlined the natural progression the music investors (i.e. labels) will take learning from how professional investors work in other sectors.

The current climate

At the moment there are four types of deals (with variations of them). An artist can enter into one of the following deals with a label:

1. A simple distribution deal

The artist pays a company 20-25% to ensure all their records are up on relevant digital retailers and streaming services.

In my view, unless your distribution company is giving you funding, extra label services or exciting leverage opportunities (like festival spots etc.), there is really no point doing a distro deal like this.

You may as well just pay the $100 to TuneCore and keep your 20-25%.