If you are asking yourself “how do I get my movie on iTunes?” you’re not alone. In the past the process of getting your movie on iTunes was challenging. But that has changed. Gone are the days when you need to ask for permission to access iTunes.
How Do I Get My Movie On iTunes?
Step 1 – Watch Out For Film Distributor Shenanigans
If you spend time in film festivals, invariably some distributor will offer to “pick up” your movie and put it on iTunes. So before we get into the self distribution mechanics of answering your “how do I get my movie on iTunes” question, it’s important to understand traditional film distributor shenanigans.
For starters, getting a movie on iTunes represents a very low risk for a distributor. Unlike the DVD days, film distributors do not have to invest money for manufacturing, shipping or holding physical inventory. And the only real expenses are encoding and delivery as well as closed captions. And most times, these expenses are simply passed directly to the filmmaker!
As a result, most distributors offer a pitch that typically includes bragging about a “direct deal” with iTunes and how this will somehow garner you “special placement.” The problem is, while most distributors can get you on iTunes, there is no guarantee that any distributor can get you special placement.
While it feels good when someone offers to pick up your movie, there is a difference between “feeling good” and getting a good offer. So my suggestion is to evaluate every offer. And look for something in the pitch beyond simply getting you special placement on to iTunes.
Step 2 – Prep Your Movie For iTunes
If you decide to sell your movie on iTunes without the assistance of a traditional middle-man, you will still need to utilize the services of an iTunes approved aggregator (or a sub-aggregagor who works with an iTunes approved encoding house.) There is simply no way around this. iTunes is not set up to do business with individual filmmakers.
With this said, just because you are required to utilize a 3rd party iTunes delivery service does not mean you need to sign over a percentage of your movie ownership. A few years ago I worked as the director of operations for Distribber and I loved the experience and still love the company.
If you’re not aware, Distribber can help you get your movie onto iTunes. You simply pay them an upfront fee for the service. If they are successful in getting your movie onto iTunes, you get to keep your movie revenue. And if they are unsuccessful in getting you onto iTunes, they refund most of your money.
To be fully transparent, Distribber pays me to promote, so I’m biased.
After doing your own diligence, if you decide the service is a good fit, make sure you use this Distribber link for a discount. Think of Distribber as a distribution service company. They hold your hand through the process of getting your movie from your hard drive into iTunes.
Here are the current iTunes deliverables:
For a High Definition iTunes Delivery:
- Closed Captions
- File: Pro Res 422 HQ
- 1920 × 1080
- Native Frame Rate
- Film: 23.98
- Audio: Must have 8 channels of audio, or if not shot with 5.1 then you may submit in Stereo:
- 5.1 – L, R, C, LFE, Ls, Rs / PCM Little Endian / Each audio channel needs to be its own track Ch. 7 stereo left, Ch. 8 stereo right / PCM Little Endian / Each audio channel needs to be its own track
You can find out more about the Distribber service here.
Step 3 – Promote Your Movie (Build a List)
Getting your movie on iTunes does not guarantee sales. And unless you take time to plan out a marketing and distribution strategy that makes sense for your movie, your odds of a marketing miracle happening are diminished. So the first step of marketing your movie involves defining your hook.
After that, do a Google search for blogs and websites that cater to your target audience. From there, your next step is reach out to those 50 blogs and websites. Make an introduction. See if the website editors would be interested in reviewing your movie.
The bottom line is, if you’re wonder how to “How do I get my movie on iTunes?” you don’t have to wait for some middle-man to give you permission. If you’d like more detailed info on Distribber and other video on demand platforms, check out these film distribution resources.