Physical Format Or Digital Music Download?

Digital Download mp3Ok, so you’ve decided what type of project to put out. But the question comes up: In what format should I release my material?

Well, there are two main ways:

  1. Via a physical format (CD, Vinyl, DVD etc) or
  2. As a digital music download (Selling it online).

While the tactic of releasing material via a physical format is still widely around, it has been steadily decreasing for some time now. This is partly due to the fact that consumers can easily get the same tunes from the comfort of their own home via the internet, as well as it being a lot more expensive to press up a physical product. It can cost hundreds or thousands of £ to press up a physical product, but if you have your music available to digitally download and buy on the internet it can be free if you already have a web site. Even if you don’t have a website there are many websites up there already that will sell your digital music download for free in exchange for a percentage of the profits you make. For this reason, if your budget isn’t that big you may go down the digital music download route.

Another advantage of having you music available as a digital downloads is that you can determine what quality people get your product at. As you can upload your music at different qualities (192kbs is CD quality, anything below that will start to sound fuzzy) you can determine the quality your digital music download is received at. But why would you want people to have a worse quality copy of you tune? Well, maybe you only want them to have a sample of your tune, giving it away for free and hoping if they like it they’ll buy the full quality version. Or maybe you want to offer smaller files that people can download and put on their phones (The lower the ‘KBS’, the less space the file takes). Whatever the reason, being able to determine the quality is very useful and makes digital downloads a very flexible option.

Many record labels have accepted this trend, and have offered an alternative download point for people that want to buy their music online. Some labels have taken it a step further, scrapping the idea of releasing physical products altogether and only releasing digital music downloads. This has made it easier for people with portable music playing devices such as MP3 players, as they can upload music straight to their devices without having to rip their music off CDs to computer, then transfer it from there.

But don’t count physical formats out altogether though. There are still many people that like the feel of having a copy of their favourite artist’s CD in their hand, and enjoy the whole process of going out to buy it before taking it home and testing it out. As I said before though, the amount of these people though is steadily decreasing…

There is also the belief that having your music available for digital download is encouraging and making it easier for people to share around, and having your product in a physical format reduces the amount of illegal sharing going on.