We started Minorlit Records out of necessity, really, because we finagled ourselves a physical and distribution contract.
Yes, we are self-funded, but with our tour, a pro PR firm, and this physical distribution, we're about as close as we could ever imagine to being signed to a big label WITHOUT losing control of the expenses racked up in our name.
A distribution company is, long story short, the salesman that establishes relationships with record stores and sales channels of all types, including digital marketplaces (Amazon, iTunes, etc), independent record stores and big chain stores, and maintains the stock and accounting for labels they distribute.
Because we started our own record label, we will be working with Burnside Distribution, who will be our representative to each of those digital channels and record stores.
Without representation, the digital part is pretty easy. BUT, to get a record into a store, the band would have to contact each store INDIVIDUALLY and set up an agreement for the store to either to buy the records outright (which is extremely rare) OR allow the band to consign them, which requires the band itself (IF the store is even amenable to doing so, which is also rare) to check the stock, see how sales are going, follow up on receiving payment, picking up extra stock that isn't purchased, etc etc.
With Burnside, they have not only a trusted, working relationship with the record stores but they also have a system in place in which ordering records to stock is easy and reliable. A customer can walk in to almost any record store, ask for our album and it can be delivered in a matter of days, right alongside the Medeski Martin & Clyde + Nels Cline album. IN 14 COUNTRIES!!!
Pretty f-ing cool, right?