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3 Types Of Physical Music Distribution to Consider

3 Types Of Physical Music Distribution to Consider

Besides digital music, independent artists can use physical music distribution as another way to not only sell their music but also to create a more tangible and collectible product for the fanbase. However, it’s important to note that this type of distribution can be more suitable for artists who already established a fanbase that would support them in purchasing physical music and may not be as feasible for new, young artists. Nonetheless, with various options available, it’s important to understand the types of physical music and choose the one that best aligns with your music and fanbase.  

Let’s walk with us through this process of getting to know physical music distribution now! 

In addition, take a look at our article Top 4 Music Distribution Services 2023 to find out which service that supports physical distribution for you!

Introduction to physical music distribution

As digital music has become the dominant form of music consumption in recent years, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of physical formats such as vinyl records, CDs, and cassette tapes


Independent artists can capitalize on this trend by targeting your music marketing toward specific audiences who prefer physical forms. By offering physical music, you can create a connection with fans on a deeper level, turning your music into pieces of art that everyone can have.   

Vinyl Distribution 

Vinyl records have experienced renewed interest and popularity within the music industry, with many famous artists such as Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Lana Del Rey embracing this format. Audiences are increasingly seeking something beyond the digital realm of streaming platforms, and owning a vinyl record allows them to have a nostalgic experience with the music. 

Pros 

Unique vinyl quality sound 

Having a distinct and unique sound quality characterized by the surface crackle, pops, and dynamic range. This results in a warmer and deeper listening experience, with a wider range of tones for your music that can captivate the ears of music enthusiasts. 

Target the vinyl demands audiences 

A survey revealed that 51% of the younger generation aged 18-24 expressed a preference for vinyl records over digital music. With this growing demand among audiences who appreciate owning a physical version of their music collection and see it as a hobby, you can choose vinyl records as a new way to release your music.  

Cons 

Maintenance of vinyl records 

Despite all the advantages, maintaining a vinyl record can be difficult since it is sensitive to environmental factors such as heat, humidity, and dust. If your vinyl records are exposed to those factors, it can degrade the quality of sound. Moreover, it is going to be difficult to carry a vinyl record around due to its size. 

Expensive cost

Another thing to consider is vinyl records may come with a higher price tag compared to digital streams, which can limit their accessibility for some audiences in terms of affordability

Who is vinyl distribution suitable for  

This can be a well-suited option for artists whose music genre can truly shine with the unique sound quality of the vinyl, such as rock, jazz, and other genres that can benefit from the warmth and depth of its analog sound. Besides that, if you want to showcase your album artwork in a visually appealing format, this is an amazing choice for you! 

However, it’s important to note that vinyl distribution can be expensive, so artists should have a suitable budget in place to cover production, manufacturing, and distribution costs. 

CDs Distribution

With a lower cost than vinyl, CDs can be a viable option for independent artists looking to distribute physical music products to their fans. It is an ideal format for artists in various genres, even almost any! 

Pros 

Merchandise purpose 

CDs can be served as a practical merchandise option for you, especially compared to vinyl which is more expensive to produce. This can be utilized as collectible items that fans can purchase, offering a product that showcases your music and album’s artwork.

Cons 

Outdate format

However, in order to play CDs, audiences would need to have a CD player or a laptop with a CD drive. This feature may not be as popular as vinyl players, as many modern laptops are designed without CD drives, and standalone CD players may not have the same aesthetic appeal as vinyl players. As a result, not everyone may have a CD player available, which could impact the accessibility of physical music format. 

Who is CD distribution suitable for 

CD distribution is suitable for artists who are looking to distribute their music in physical forms but may have budget constraints. It can be a cost-effective option for those who want to sell signed CDs at live concerts, leveraging the opportunity to promote their music to a wider audience base.

Cassette tapes 

If you're looking to embrace a unique physical format that some artists are turning to for their music, cassette tapes have seen a resurgence in recent years. This format has gained popularity, particularly among lo-fi music fans and fans of specific shows like Guardian of the Galaxy or Stranger Things, creating a nostalgic appeal and unique listening experience.

Pros 

Affordability 

This is one of the biggest advantages of cassette tape distribution, as it tends to be less expensive than distributing Vinyl or CDs

Collectibility 

Cassettes tapes, much like vinyl records, with a unique nostalgic feeling and distinct sound quality that can hold value for the audiences

Cons

Limited availability

Unlike other physical distribution options, cassette tapes manufacturing companies and service providers are relatively less common. This can make it challenging for you to find reliable sources to help you distribute your music.   

Who is cassette tapes suitable for 

If you are targeting the lo-fi aesthetic or have a fanbase that is into the retro and analog sound quality of this format, cassette tapes can be a suitable option for you. Especially if you have a limited budget, this can be a cost-effective way for you to distribute physical music. 


Physical music distribution is a new way for independent artists to distribute their music outside of streaming platforms. However, you need to understand that physical music should not be relied upon as the main source of revenue, as digital music remains more popular due to its affordability and accessibility. 


In the US, for example, music streaming revenue accounts for 83% of the total music revenue, while revenue from physical music only makes up 11%. You need to have realistic expectations and consider other revenue streams to effectively maximize earnings.  


Independent artists need to build a strong presence and fanbase in the music industry before deciding to move to physical music distribution. 

Base For Music is a complementary service to help independent artists to promote their music and merchandise. With every distribution that you are making, there is a need to promote it to the audiences. By generating your ads campaign strategically through a simplified dashboard, we will boost your visibility towards the right audiences on popular platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube,... 



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