Everybody knows what a record deal is -or at least they should-, a record label gets interested in you as an artist and either buys your record (that you’ve already recorded) or puts money to record an album -let’s be honest, this doesn’t happen that often anymore-. They put it out, they put the money for marketing & promotion, tours, manufacturing, etc. At the same time they own everything after that (especially now, with the 360 deals, that I will talk about in another episode).

But, what happens if you don’t get a record deal? Does the world end? Is there any other option for your music to get out? Of course! Don’t panic!

It all depends on how much control you want to have over your music, and what kind of a budget you have as well. Also, is your product good enough? Because it all starts there… you HAVE to HAVE a good product! :)

I would like for you to learn what other options you have, for that it is mandatory that you know about licensing deals & distribution deals:


A license is something like a “permit” to use your master recordings, it can be just for broadcasting them, selling them, synchronizing them with an image, etc. Or you can have them all in one! Here are a few licensing deals you might be offered:

– Mechanical License: This means a record label or any other company wants to use your music (sometimes a full record or just a single song) to sell it! This can happen either worldwide or on a specific territory. For that, they will normally pay a licensing fee (to negotiate with the record label). In this case, if the record label wants to license your music, you still own your copyrights, it just means in that territory they will make their efforts to sell your music, since they put the money to license it & put some promo behind it.

– Sync License: This kind of license is the one that a company will nee if they want to synchronize your music with an image: Movies, advertisement, TV shows, etc.

There are some more licenses, but these are the main ones you need to know about :)


A distribution deal is something completely different than a licensing deal, and most artists get them mixed. In a distribution deal whoever the company is that gives you the deal WILL NOT pay for any marketing, promotion, etc. They will only make your music available in the different outlets they have contacts with.

– Physical distribution: Because of the lack of physical sales, these kind of distribution deals are hard to come by, and if you find them they are normally full of small print letter that says that if you don’t sell a stupid amount of records, you will owe the distribution company/record label money. In these deals the company will put your CD available in all the physical record stores around a territory (worldwide distribution deals are rarely seen, because of the licenses needed for that).

– Digital distribution: Thanks to the internet we are able to get in contact to digital distributors (also called digital aggregators) & put our music out very easily. This is the easiest way to get your music out there (please, read/watch episode 8 to know how). The digital distributor will make your music available in all the digital outlets (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) and they will take a percentage of every download sold.

I hope this can help you find the best outlet for your music!! If you have any questions remember you can always email me!!