Differences between Labels vs. Distributors vs. Publishers

For aspiring artists, the music industry can be a labyrinth of choices and opportunities. To successfully share your music with the world, you'll need to understand the roles of key players like record labels, music distributors and publishing houses. Let's break it down!


Record Label: The launchpad for your music

A music label, often known as a record label, is a company that helps artists produce, distribute, and promote their music. As an artist, having a record label by your side is often a game-changer. It serves as a launchpad for your music career. Usually you have two options:

  • Signing with an existing label: Established record labels have the resources, expertise, and connections to propel your music into the limelight. They usually offer financial support for recording, marketing, and promotion.
  • Starting your own label: If you prefer more control over your work, starting your label is a viable option. However, it comes with the responsibility of handling everything from production to promotion. We've compiled all the necessary information for you to kickstart your own label right here. It’s easier than you may think it is, so don’t worry!


Distributor: Your connection to the masses

Music distributors play a crucial role in making your music accessible to the masses. Labels cannot release their music without a distributor. They bridge the gap between your music and all platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and many more.

  • Digital distribution: Distributors like us here at dig dis! ensure your music is available on these platforms, opening the doors to a global audience. We do also assist artists with opening their own labels and becoming independent from third party record companies. 
  • Independence and control: Working with a distributor doesn't mean relinquishing creative control. You maintain autonomy over your work, handling marketing and promotional efforts as you see fit.
  • Revenue sharing: Usually distributors take a percentage of the revenue generated but leave the majority for you.

Are you looking for a suitable music distributor? Sign up here today.


Publishers: The Guardians of unclaimed royalties

While record labels and distributors focus on the commercial side of music, publishers have a different role to play:

  • Music publishing: They manage copyrights, licensing, and royalty collection for songwriters and composers.
  • Synchronization opportunities: Publishers help facilitate deals to place your music in films, TV shows, commercials, and video games.
  • Maximizing royalties: Publisher houses are vital for ensuring that you receive all the royalties you're entitled to, especially from sources beyond the mainstream platforms. Publishers, therefore, serve as the guardians of unclaimed royalties, helping you maximize your earnings.


In summary, a record label is central to a successful music release, whether you choose an established label or start your own. Equally important is a music distributor, which is the bridge to all streaming and download platforms. Meanwhile, publishers play a special but crucial role by making sure you get all your royalties, including from often overlooked sources.

By understanding the unique functions of these entities and making well-informed decisions, you can pave your way to a successful and thriving music career in the complex landscape of the music industry.