How to Sell Music Online
In the modern, digital music era, music producers and recording artists today are always looking for effective ways how to sell music online.
Today, there are more opportunities to sell music than at any other time in music history. Gone are the days of pressing master recordings and painstakingly distributing vinyl and tapes to record shops across the country.
What’s the best way to get your music into the hands of those willing to pay for it? For starters, choose whether you want to sell your music through distributors or directly.
Online music stores are a big opportunity. Yet, there are over one hundred legitimate music websites to choose from.
Here are Supreme Tracks’ Top 10 ways to sell your music online.
Music Distribution Platforms:
- CD Baby
- Ditto Music
Digital Music Stores:
10.Your own website
Now, let’s more in-depth how each one of them works.
Music distribution platforms
1. CD Baby
CD Baby is the most well known place for music producers to independently distribute and sell music. Their online interface makes it easy for recording artists to set up an online shop. In addition, you can opt in to get your music distributed to iTunes, Amazon Marketplace, and Amazon MP3.
They give musicians the opportunity to sell music directly from their Facebook Fan Pages. Moreover, they provide tips to help you license your music on YouTube.
Buyers who land on their online store can easily search through catalogs to find new artists and genres of music. With no annual fee, you only pay once upfront to upload your single or album. When your album sells either digitally or physically, CD Baby takes a small commission: 9% for digital sales and $4 for every album hard copy.
Tunecore is currently CD Baby’s biggest competition.
While both online stores allow you to do the same thing, there are differences in terms of fees and commission. The biggest difference is that you get to keep 100% of your earnings! However, Tunecore requires a yearly fee PLUS an additional fee to distribute your record to new stores.
So if there’s a popular online store that pops up next year, you’ll have to pay an additional fee to have Tunecore distribute your recordings to them. If you’re only looking for a publishing service and not distribution, Tunecore allows you to sign up for these services separately. In that case CD Baby requires you to sign up for both distribution and publishing.
DistroKid is the one online music store where you pay a very low annual fee and can upload unlimited songs. So if you’re ultra creative and produce tons of songs, this is definitely the way to go.
They are relatively quick to distribute your music to iTunes and take ZERO COMMISSION. The biggest downfall is they only distribute to four major online music stores: iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and Google Play.
This pales in comparison to Tunecore’s access to over 74 of the most popular music stores worldwide and CD Baby’s preferred partner status with iTunes.
DistroKid is the new kid on the block of selling online music, which shows in their limited offering. But the seal of approval from the founders of both CD Baby and Tunecore (who don’t work for either of those companies anymore) shows there is plenty of room for positive growth.
Rumblefish is best for those music producers who not only produce their own albums, but also want to license their music for use in film, TV, or other creative projects that need a great soundtrack. With the advent of homemade movies, digital programming, and websites like YouTube and Vimeo, people are looking for the perfect canopy of music to add to their films, video games, advertisements, and TV shows.
Rumblefish makes it easy on creatives to get ahold of original music quickly.
There’s no upfront cost with Rumblefish, and when you’re music is licensed for use, Rumblefish does a 50/50 split of the licensing fee with you. You retain 100% ownership rights and receive 100% of your back-end performance royalties.
5. Ditto Music
Ditto Music is another great independent music distributor, created for the independent solo artist or band.
If you choose Ditto Music to promote and sell your music online, you definitely won’t make a mistake. They are very professional, yet pretty easy to collaborate with. After signing up for a pricing plan (starts from €19/ year) just add all the essential info and upload your music. Ditto Music will provide you with ISRC codes that are a form of digital fingerprint so you can track your sales.
The platform lets you add sales-boosting tools (like iTunes pre-release) to it, which is certainly something you should take advantage of.
Ditto Music offers services to help you distribute your single tracks, albums, and EPs to digital music stores, such as Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, and many others. After setting the prices, you just need to sit back and watch your music appear on the world’s music stores.
When it comes to Ditto Music’s reputation, this music distributor has several awards for their customer service and is very well-regarded within the community.
Octiive (previously known as Mondo Tunes) is a provider of popular label resources for all types of musicians or independent artists. It was founded by Mershad Javan, an indie artist, who was struggling to promote and sell his music as well.
The team at Octiive claims that they serve more marketplaces and streaming partners than anyone else (more than 600!). There is certainly a wide choice of their partners you can leverage: Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, Google Play Music, Tidal, Beatport and much more.
Their platform claims to “provides a one-stop source for indie artists and labels to build their careers and reach new fans across the globe”.
By signing up for an account you can join an international community where you can showcase your music and get connected to ones that will recognize all its value.
There are several pricing plans to opt for, so you can find one that is the best for your career. Depending on the one you choose, you get to keep 100% of your royalties, or a bit less (don’t worry, still you get to keep the majority of them!).
Another benefit of Octiive’s platform is that it offers custom press releases and help with promotion, in general.
Digital Music Stores
Bandcamp is a service where you can share and earn money from your music just by signing up for a free account.
You can upload your music and customize your player and several other features, set your own fees and currencies and keep complete control over your customer information.
Since the artists’ account is free, the company takes a 15% cut of the sales you make, yet it drops to 10% when your sales reach $5000. These figures may seem unreachable, but you would be surprised with the fact that fans have paid $425 million to their favorite Bandcamp artists.
Apart from digital downloads, you can offer the purchase of vinyl or CDs.
Although Bandcamp supports artists with some SEO boost there are several (easy) steps to take in order to promote your music on this platform:
Pick your main music genre/sub-genres so your work can show up in the Bandcamp Discover platform.
Pick a city from the Bandcamp Discover options to promote your music in order to maximize the search-get discovered opportunity.
Make sure the artwork you choose represents your music…but also that it looks well on all devices.
Bandcamp’s team is proud that several very successful artists and labels started selling their music on this platform – Amanda Palmer is just one of them. Moreover, Bandcamp’s reputation grew several indie game developers published their game soundtracks (Minecraft, Sanctum, Machinarium, Terraria, Plants vs. Zombies, Limbo etc.)
Soundcloud is an online audio distribution platform and streaming service that has grown to up to 175 million monthly users worldwide! The platform was recognized by several investors and media platforms (one of them is Twitter!) and gain popularity through the success of many artists it supported.
Artists can choose between free and paid memberships, yet both are supported for desktop and mobile devices. SoundCloud’s key feature is the possibility to access uploaded files through a URL or a widget, that allows sound files to be embedded on social media platforms.
SoundCloud’s revenue-sharing platform (Premier), gives artists the ability to make money off of the platform. Premier participants receive a share of the sales made from ads or subscriptions
Apart from the ability to share your work with millions of daily active listeners, you can also promote your music via private links (that’s why the above mentioned social media friendly URLs are important). The platform enables comments, so you can communicate with your (potential) fans. So, even if you don’t monetize your music directly from Soundcloud, you can certainly grow your audience and fan base.
9. Your own website
Having your own website requires some investment and effort, yet the benefits are numerous. After all, today presenting your business online is considered as a “must”. Despite the above mentioned platforms give you the opportunity to express your creativity, a website that is owned by you gives you complete control over the content your audience sees, reads and listens to.
Furthermore, a website gives you a chance not only to sell your music directly, but to collect data about your audience as well. Get a bit informed on email marketing and you’ll see all the benefits it can bring you when it comes to long-term success of your career. The right engagement of your audience can result in having an army of fans!
Use the data you collected to get informed where your fans are from, their habits, age etc. ask for their feedback and improve your work. Utilize the above mentioned email marketing to keep them in the loop with your all upcoming activities, shows, performances, releases and much more.
Aside from all the benefits that a personal website offers, in order to maximize its potential, you need to put some effort in creating and promoting it. First of all, you need to make sure that the user experience is catchy enough, yet intuitive and simple. Make sure that your online presence is a good representative of your music. Don’t hesitate to seek for professional help.
Where to go from here?
Selling your music online is not only dependent on where you choose to sell your album. To make the most money with your music, it’s obvious you’ll want to create the best music tracks you can.
Supreme Tracks, premier online recording studio, can help. Through online collaboration, we specialize in helping independent artists to arrange, record and mix and master broadcast-ready songs that instantly capture hearts and minds of the listeners.