A fairer deal for classical releases

By Nicole Wilson  -  12 November 2015

This week I was lucky enough to present at a Classical Music Tech conference at Runway, an accelerator programme in San Francisco. There were a small group of startups fitting into the Classical music meets Technology category and I learnt some very interesting things…

Did you know that classical music releases pay approximately 15% more in revenues to Music distributors than any other genre of music?! I know! This seemed crazy until Dart Music from Nashville Tennessee explained why. ‘It’s all about metadata’ they said…


I’d never heard of metadata but I have released an album through Tunecore before, been told what the cut was to Tunecore (on a par with all the other companies out there like CD Baby) and accepted it. 

Metadata for those non-techy people like me out there, is all the information which needs to be input when you put an album out for digital distribution. For pop music it’s 

1) name of artist

2) name of song

3) name of album.

Simple.

But for classical music of course it’s way more complicated:

1) Composer

2) Work title

3) movement number

4) Key

5) Opus number

6) Conductor

7) Orchestra

8) Soloists

you get the idea. 

If people search for any of these online, you need them to be easily found and for this you need the metadata correctly input.

Up until now, companies who specialise in classical releases have to hire people to manually input this data (really?! I know!) and this of course adds loads of man hours and cost to the project, hence classical music seeing on average 35% of the royalties going to the distributor rather than 20%.

Dart Music have built a system where this info is input automatically - don’t ask me how - these guys are unbelievable in their field and you’d do far better to ask them directly, but the outcome is that for a one off fee of $40 a year per album they’ll distribute it for you with 100% of the royalties coming back to you.

So if you plan on selling anything more than about 10 CDs a year, we think this is a total bargain!

 Check them out at https://dartmusic.com/ next time you want to distribute an album.

About Nicole Wilson

Principal freelance violinist in London, ex London Symphony Orchestra and English National Opera, Nicole is also a CD producer, TV/Radio presenter and founder of Musical Orbit.

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