Distribution Deal or Artist Contract? Which One Should You Sign?

When I began my career in the gospel music industry 14 years ago, there were very few artist distribution deals being offered, but times have changed and many are being signed today. I know it can be challenging as an artist if you’re torn between signing a distribution deal or artist record contract, especially with the overall changes in the music industry. No matter which one you choose, both can offer a great return if the proper knowledge is gained and steps are taken prior to signing. If this is the season you’re in as an artist, stand strong and be open to learning all you can before signing on the dotted line. 

Here is a little information for you to journal as you proceed along the journey. First, let’s look at some brief meanings of a distribution deal and record contract and explore which one may be the right fit for you. 

A distribution deal is between you the artist and the distributor, who gains the right to sell your product to stores and other retailers. With this type of deal, you may possibly operate as the record label. 

A record contract is between you and a record label, which would operate as the middle man between your project and the distributor. 

There are many types of distribution deals, and if this is your goal, please build and brand your project before presenting. It is also a great idea, to review the functions of a record label, whether you choose distribution or a record contract. The functions of a label are not always inclusive in a distribution deal, which means, overall promotions will most likely be financially supported by your entity. 

From my experience, some prefer distribution deals in order to maintain creative and financial control over their project. If this is your aspiration, there is nothing wrong with desiring the benefits, just make sure you have a team to push your project forward. Please understand that both options can be a great benefit to your career and I am not against either one. 

Article written by Tracy Williamson

Tracy Williamson is owner of TRE7 Entertainment, a premier A&R, marketing and promotions company specializing in developing gospel artists. As a songwriter and producer, she has worked with The Rance Allen Group, Shirley Murdock, Bishop Leonard Scott and many others.  
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About Airplay 360

AIRPLAY 360 is a monthly published digital magazine designed to inform, empower and motivate independent inspirational musical artists by offering a soundboard of information provided by artists, producers, label executives and other industry professionals.
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