How is Music Distribution Different from Music Publishing?

Music Distribution vs Music Publishing | Deliver My Tune

Do you find this topic confusing? Let’s get this done away with first. YES, Music Distribution different from Music Publishing. If you were today years old when you found this out, welcome to the club!

As a music artist, you know that writing and recording awesome music is just one aspect of making a career in this field. There are more technical aspects if you want to earn money through your music, including music distribution and music publishing.

These two terms are easily misunderstood in the industry, and people think they are one and the same, but in reality, they are two very different processes. So let’s get to basics first:

What is Music Distribution?

Very simply put, it is the process of getting your music to stores. Earlier, it meant taking CDs or tapes to physical stores, but now with digital distribution, it helps you take your music to streaming platforms or digital stores, like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Pandora, YouTube, etc. People can stream, download, and buy your music, and in exchange, you receive royalties.

Why Do You Need a Music Distributor?

Distributors/aggregators take upon themselves two core roles:

Distributing Releases to Digital Streaming Platforms

  • This is important because most of these sites, including Spotify, don’t allow direct upload of your song. It has to come through a distributor since it’s difficult for them to work with artists directly and deal with unstandardized metadata.
  • It also makes the artist’s work easier as all these stores are likely to have different metadata standards.

Royalties Allocation

  • They ensure you get royalties for your song. Every time someone streams or buys your song, you are owed money. It’s easier for the artist to get royalties from all the stores through their distributor.

Perks of Music Distribution

Apart from this, the benefits of distributing your music include:

  • It releases your music to the world quickly.
  • It lets you keep 100% rights to your music.
  • Helps you earn money for your songs.
  • Gives you stats on how your songs are performing.

You can avail of all of the above benefits and a lot more by signing up to Deliver My Tune’s distribution services. We get your songs to over 60 stores worldwide, including Spotify, iTunes, Gaana, etc. You get to keep all your rights and receive 90% royalties.

Sign up for DMT music distribution services now!

What is Music Publishing?

Music Publishing is simply owning and exploiting songs in the form of copyrights. The business started because earlier, ‘publishing’ sheet music was one of the only ways to earn money from musical copyright.

If you’ve composed original music, you own the copyright to that particular piece and you get to decide how it is exploited. It means that you can use your composition in a way that generates more money in the form of royalties or licenses.

Why Do You Need a Music Publisher?

Music publishers play a crucial role in managing and promoting your music:

Copyright Management

  • Publishers ensure that your music is properly registered with performance rights organizations (PROs) and other relevant bodies.
  • They help protect your work from unauthorized use and infringement.

Licensing and Royalties

  • Publishers handle the licensing of your music for use in films, TV shows, commercials, and other media.
  • They ensure you receive royalties from these uses, as well as from live performances and mechanical royalties from sales and streams.

Perks of Music Publishing

The benefits of music publishing include:

  • Income Generation: Through various licensing deals, you can earn significant revenue.
  • Exposure: Your music gets placed in various media, increasing your exposure.
  • Professional Support: Publishers provide valuable support in managing your music and ensuring you get paid.

How is Music Distribution Different from Music Publishing?

Distribution vs. Publishing

While both are essential for a successful music career, they serve different purposes:

  • Music Distribution focuses on getting your music to listeners and generating revenue from sales and streams.
  • Music Publishing deals with managing the rights to your music and generating revenue from various licenses and royalties.

Key Differences


  • Music Distribution: The primary goal is to distribute music to as many platforms as possible to maximize accessibility and sales.
  • Music Publishing: The main focus is on managing and exploiting copyrights to generate royalties from various uses of the music.

Revenue Sources

  • Music Distribution: Revenue comes from sales, streams, and downloads.
  • Music Publishing: Revenue is generated from licensing deals, synchronization rights, performance royalties, and mechanical royalties.

Role in Music Industry

  • Music Distribution: Acts as the middleman between the artist and the consumer, ensuring the music reaches the audience.
  • Music Publishing: Acts as the manager of the artist’s intellectual property, ensuring that rights are protected and monetized.

The Importance of Both

For a comprehensive approach to monetizing your music, both distribution and publishing are crucial. They complement each other, ensuring that your music not only reaches a wide audience but also generates revenue from various streams.


Understanding how music distribution is different from music publishing is vital for any musician looking to build a successful career. While distribution focuses on getting your music to the public and generating sales, publishing ensures that your rights are protected and that you earn royalties from various uses of your music.

By leveraging both strategies, you can maximize your revenue and ensure that your music reaches as many people as possible. Deliver My Tune is one of the most trusted aggregators helping artists to take their music to online channels. As the world is evolving, so is the future of music. Technology has joined hands with music to give us some memorable and unique experiences for the upcoming years.

Sign up for DMT music distribution services now!