Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Music & Performing Arts


Audio Recording Technologies

First Advisor

Lanier Sammons


Digital download aggregation services are the modern songwriter’s greatest ally and independent record labels’ newest competition. Digital download aggregators like CDBaby, Distrokid, Tunecore, and Awal have made releasing an album for online distribution far easier than before. Many aggregators are affordable and also provide many services to the songwriter that historically involved employing additional middlemen.

Like distribution, the mastering stage of production has evolved. Mastering music can now be done through online services independently and on a very tight budget. Automated mastering services like LANDR and iZotope will be briefly discussed in section three, as well as additional options for the modern artist. These services illustrate a portion of the online network of music production, which can offer a replacement for the historic record label model.

Historically, terms like ‘A&R scout’ were used to describe those who seek local talent and offer them a contract. This contract was often manipulative and included many obligations. A distributor, engineer, and manager were usually partnered with the musicians and were often compensated with more security than the songwriter.

A modern musician hoping to distribute their work to streaming services online now has more freedom to release their work without manipulative, obligatory contracts. It is more cost effective than ever to record, mix, and distribute; and the competition online has increased as a result.

Included in

Other Music Commons