Hello, my name is Sander from ePM online. I am managing the encoding and digital distribution of the music from the labels that signed a contract with us and would like to answer your question why we are 'necessary'.
The music industry has introduced the concept of 'going online' quite a while ago and made everybody believe that if you own a label it's just a matter of snapping your fingers to get your music online with all the big stores. We now know this is not true. Most stores (some exceptions noted) require you to submit your music in an encoded format (wma, aac, mp3, wav or aiff) and include extra information (also referred to as meta data in XML. If this dazzles you, you're not the first. Most store delivery specifications are very complicated and negotiating a contract with them to make sure your music stays your music takes alot of time. We try to ease things for labels by making a fair contract, encode and process all the meta data and pay out every three months.
If you are big enough to deal with this yourself please do so ! For all those smaller labels who have been refused by iTunes, Napster, Sony, Bleep and others because you were 'too small', we're happy to help you out !
I hope this answers your question. If you have any left, feel free to email me at sander (ad) epm-musiconline.com