Major label distribution has some other players that contribute to sales. One stops are middlemen who buy records from labels and then make them available to local record stores that prefer the convenience of one stop shopping. Rack jobbers are middleman that buy records from labels and then stock them in the racks that they operate within retail stores. Chain stores such as Wal-Mart buy records from labels and then place them in their stores. Record clubs buy from labels and then resell to their members at discount prices.
Independent distribution can put records in stores, although to a lesser extent. Some independent distributors have huge territories, while others are much more regional. Independent distributors generally distribute the product of smaller labels. Occasionally, they will distribute an unsigned artist's record if they can be convinced that there is potential for substantial airplay and sales (the artist will probably have to generate some sales first).
As the reader can now see, without distribution, the public would never have an opportunity to buy a record. Further, an artist fortunate enough to obtain a deal which has major distribution in place stands the best chance of achieving economic prosperity in the music business.
Ben McLane Esq