The Distributor One Sheet

A Distributor One Sheet is a marketing document created by a record label that summarizes in marketing terms, the credentials of an artist or band; as well as describing in summary form, the promotion and marketing plans the label has developed to help sell the record. It also includes interesting facts about an act's fanbase and target audience, as well as all the essential promotion, marketing, and sales tactics that the label will use to help convince a distributor to carry and get behind a new release. Once a distributor is on board, the One Sheet also helps their sales staff convince the many buyers at retail to "buy-in" a particular record and have it in stock at a music retail outlet, and encourage the sales reps to work with the label with any retail oriented label promotions. A One Sheet is a important sales tool that will help all parties involved with a new release know specifically what will be done by the record label to help them sell the record.

The Distributor One Sheet is designed with the buyers at Distributors and Stores in mind. In order to stand out from the hundreds of other releases coming out each week, the design of the Distributor One Sheet should be attractive, and very compelling. It should boldly stand out, and declare in no uncertain terms WHY this record is being released. A well written and designed One Sheet can go a long way to prove to the industry the strong commitment a label has to their recording acts.

Include  the following information on your Distributor One Sheet.

  • Artist/Band Name (Logo) and Album Title
  • Record Label Logo and Contact Information (Name/Phone Numbers, etc.)
  • Description of Artist's Audience
  • Artist/Band Bio Brief
  • Catalog's, and List Prices, and UPC/Barcodes for all configurations
  • Release Date/Street Date (if different)
  • Track Listings and "Single" Selection
  • Past Publicity, Radio, Sales, Live Appearance accomplishments
  • Misc. Facts about Recording: Producer/Studio etc.
  • At least 5 Specific Marketing Ideas: Retail, Radio, Press, Live Show, Internet plans
  • Any Distributor/Retailer Discounts/Coop Opportunities
  • Anything else of potential marketing interest.

Care must be taken in writing and designing an effective Distributor One Sheet. Each of the sections listed above must be slowly and thoughtfully considered. Believe me there are good and bad One Sheets being sent out there all the time. However, it is fairly easy for anyone in the business of selling records to tell when a particular new release is a ‘priority’ for any record label, or if there is a serious commitment on the part of a label to support the product they have recorded and released. Do not cut corners ... the record you save could be your own.

Throughout his fprty year career in the music business, FourFront Media & Music's Christopher Knab has shared his experience at many industry conventions and conferences, including the New Music Seminar and the Northwest Area Music Business Conference.

Knab was owner of a San Francisco music store, co-owner of the 415 Records label, and station manager at KCMU Radio in Seattle.

He currently provides a unique consultation and education service for independent musicians and record labels. His new book is entitled "Music Is Your Business".

Christopher Knab