Music distribution  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A music distributor is a company that works with record labels to promote and distribute sound recordings.

2000s

According to US Market Research Firm NPD Group, iTunes recently surpassed Wal-Mart as America's largest music distributor. A record distributor is a company (often a record label) that works with record labels to promote and distribute their records, either in their home market or overseas.

Once a CD is recorded, record distributor companies organize the shipping of the CDs to music stores and department stores. Record labels have use an "A&R" (Artists and Repertoire) manager to help develop the performing style of bands and singers signed the label. A&R managers may organize shared tours with similar bands or find playing opportunities for the label's groups which will broaden their musical experience. For example, an A&R manager may decide to send an emerging young singer-songwriter with little live playing experience on a major tour with an established electric folk rock act from the same label, so that this person will gain more confidence.

When CDs sell in stores or on websites such as iTunes, part of the money is returned to the performers in the form of royalties. Most recordings only earn royalties for a short period after they are released, after which the song becomes part of the "back catalogue" or library. A much smaller number of recordings have become "classics", with longstanding popularity, such as albums by the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. These albums have continued to earn royalties for the surviving band members decades after their original release date.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Music distribution" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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