Digital music distribution is the process of getting music from an artist to listeners and fans. Here’s a simplified breakdown of how it generally works:

1. Creation: Artists create music. They may work in home studios, professional studios, or other environments. The final product is typically a digital audio file, like a WAV or MP3.

2. Mastering: After the music is created, it may go through a process called mastering. This process prepares and transfers the recorded audio from a source containing the final mix to a data storage device, the “master.” This source is then used for duplication or replication in mass production. Mastering often involves fine-tuning the sound to make sure it will sound as good as possible on a variety of different playback devices.

3. Distribution Service: Next, artists usually partner with a digital distribution service, also known as an aggregator. These companies serve as a bridge between artists and streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and others. Some well-known distributors include Castro Music, DistroKid, TuneCore, CD Baby, and others. The artist or their representative uploads their tracks to the distributor, provides relevant metadata (like song title, artist name, release date, etc.), and chooses where they want their music to be distributed.

4. Delivery to Platforms: The distributor sends the music and metadata to the chosen digital music platforms. It is responsible for ensuring the music is correctly formatted and all the necessary information is included so that the platforms can correctly catalogue and display the music.

5. Streaming and Downloads: Once the music is on the platforms, listeners can stream it, download it (if the platform offers downloads), and share it.

6. Payment: The streaming platforms collect money from advertisers and subscribers, and they pay a portion of this money to the distributors based on how many streams or downloads each artist gets. The distributor then pays the artist, often retaining a small percentage of the revenue as their fee.

7. Reporting: The distributor provides reports to the artist about where their music is being played, how often, and any revenue they’ve earned. This data can be important for artists as they plan tours, marketing, and future releases.

This is a basic overview, and the specific process can vary based on the artist, the distributor, the music platforms, and the details of the contracts between those parties.

Additionally, there are many other aspects to the digital music business, such as promotion, playlist placement, and social media marketing, which can greatly impact an artist’s success in the digital realm.