How Do Record Labels Sell Music?

By Tiara Ogabang

Curious about record labels? Me too.

How do they sell their music? Mostly, they do this on streaming sites where a lot of people are available to listen.

I also was very confused by the music streaming sites, so I went to a mix of them and talked with a few sales reps from each. But first, let's talk about the importance of money.

What does money matter?

What does money matter?

This sounds counterintuitive, but money does not matter. Hornby wrote the book because he thought it would be an interesting story.

In the process, he realized that he had a talent for storytelling and that people were interested in this story. This is where the real magic happens.

All the money he received from the sale of his book was turned over to Bezos, who wanted to develop further the idea and the plan to have an astronaut's book written. Hornby got paid for his book.

The agreement included the cost of writing the book as well as royalties based on the retail sales. It was a mutually beneficial deal.

Money is just an accelerator, not the fuel that drives the process.

The real issue in the music industry is not money; it is how to get your music to the right people. So many independent artists have trouble getting noticed because they are not getting their music into the right hands.

There are so many music industry professionals who want a buck. They are not in it for the art of music.

It is difficult for them to see that money is just an accelerator, not the fuel that drives the process.

What are the available streaming sites for musicians?


This company was started by two guys who had no plans to sell CDs and were looking to keep tracks available on Soundcloud. The business is substantial.

If you want to learn more about them, I would recommend reading The Book of CDs.


If you have a lot of exposure to Spotify, you are more than likely familiar with their " Discover" section. People find music in the world and playlists from Spotify.

I highly recommend checking out the Spotify "Trending" section. They have a section called "Top New Releases," which is my favorite.

I have yet to go through all of them. Do not forget to like and subscribe.


Soundcloud is a free music platform. Once you become an admin of a stream, you can set a per track price and a per hour price.

There are two different types of accounts. You can set up a $0.99/month with an ads account or set up a $7.99/month for an ad-free and on-demand account.

I recommend the $7.99/month.

Free music publishing services

Free music publishing services

I started small with The Caravan Company in 2011; since then, I have tried to branch out to other publishing services. I recently wrote a piece about Top 10 Publishing Services that you should consider.

Before I began writing this article, I did an extensive search for reputable companies, and within a few hours, I had zero responses and a little over 300 competitors.

You will spend a lot of money licensing music. There is a big difference between buying music and being one of the chosen few to be heard. The main reason I write music is to be heard.

If you do not think you will be heard or do not want to pay for this service, I suggest starting with this service.

Sample trading

When the concept of free music streaming is given away, most people throw their hands up and think it's not worth their time developing a strategy for using it.

The solution? Sample Trading!

The music streaming sites give away hundreds of free songs. The CD Baby's Annual Christmas Campaign is an excellent example of massive free music streaming campaign.

Where are all the big-named recording artists? Many artists still do not have a platform like these.

Which are they listening to? Are these free songs helping? How do you find them?

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting so many talented musicians and producers from all over the world. And how many of them do you think will have 100,000 followers on Soundcloud?

I have not seen it, but if they have the money and the promotion, I am sure they are out there. A lot of the people I know that were ahead of the curve were using Sample Trading.

A sample is a digital file with no music on it, and all you are doing is listening to it.

One of my favorite pieces of advice is "Use it or lose it."

You can use a sample for a song or not. If you want to add it to your music, then, by all means, add it.

But many times, you are better off not using them. Using samples usually means you are paying for the rights to the music.

Usually, it means that you have to purchase a publishing agreement.

If you are going to use samples, learn your rights. Read the small print.

Quality control

Quality control

Sample trading can be a great way to build a catalog without quality control and proper exposure. They can turn into a massive headache. It's not uncommon for artists to be given songs with just a few seconds of audio.

And it's hard to track who those people are, so you are risking a lot using samples.

I have never had a problem finding clients, but my list is getting longer and longer. I am constantly receiving tracks to pass along to my clients. However, I usually find myself listening to half a dozen tracks before finding the right one for the right artist.

Quality control is significant.