How to Sell Music Online Successfully
Sell Music Online Successfully
To sell music online successfully and see results, the golden standard for musicians is iTunes. iTunes is a music marketplace that provides customers with the opportunity to buy independent and major record releases in the same space. However, while this might sound like the golden grail for artists interested in selling their songs online, there are some drawbacks.
1) iTunes requires a 30% cut of an artists’ sales
2) iTunes will not provide music creators with the customers’ info to follow-up and build an email list.
3) Since iTunes caters to Major Record Label distribution, it’s very difficult for New and Upcoming artists to be found.
Unless your name is Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift, it’s very difficult to be found on iTunes. This is because every apple subscriber buys their music based on the “Search Results” they type. Unfortunately, the main search field is driven by the artist’s name, followed by title of song and genre which severely limits the chances for artists who have not established a name for themselves to be discovered. However, even with these negative set-backs, selling music on iTunes is still considered a rite of passage for most Musicians. While we highly suggest going through an aggregator (Digital Distribution Service) to get your songs featured in the iTunes Marketplace, if you meet these guidelines below you can submit to them directly.
Submission Policy for iTunes
First, check iTunes’s application and see if you can work with the company directly. From here, follow the below guidelines to successfully submit your music to iTunes and start selling your songs online.
- A minimum of 20 albums in your catalog of music (Aside: We find this absurd considering many major record label artists haven’t recorded twenty albums in their lifetime! Obviously this is iTunes way of making sure they recoup on their investment. Unknown Artists are a risk to the platform and Apple is a business, not your friend. With twenty albums under your belt, they are making an assumption you have fans and know what you’re doing.
- Make sure to include the UPCs/EANs/JANs for all products you intend to distribute. View & Learn more here.
- ISRCs for all tracks required. An ISRC is a unique identifier that can be permanently encoded into a recording or music video. Think GPS for your music. The objective of an ISRC is to automatically identify recordings for PPL (Public Performance License) payments. Learn more here.)
Before You Sell Your Music Online Own Your Copyright/Masters
A) Make sure all of your music is copyrighted & you own the masters. You can now submit online your digital music directly to the Copyright Office here. This is extremely important when it comes to licensing your songs for TV/FILM. If you perform with a band, make sure you’ve done the paperwork and understand the pay-out percentages. More often than not, licensing companies are under extreme deadlines and they need your music fast. If they like a piece of music, but have to get permission from every band member before moving forward, they will pass on using your songs. It’s not personal, it’s just the way the business works. Have your paperwork in order when that call comes through.
2) Select the best PRO (Performance Rights Organization) for you. The most popular PRO’s are ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. Why belong to a PRO? So you can get paid from your music! If your songs are placed, you will be paid out royalties from the PRO you signed up with. To review and compare and contrast the Pros & Cons of each PRO listed above Click Here
Once you’ve taken care of the basic guidelines to sell music online, you are now ready to submit your music to digital distribution platforms. While you can submit your songs directly to iTunes and Pandora, we recommend working with a 3rd party aggregator, which will guarantee placement in a variety of musical settings, including but not limited to: Google Play Music, Apple Music, iTunes, Deezer, Spotify & Pandora
Sell Music Online with Digital Distribution
Here are the top 12 Digital Distribution Music Platforms currently being used. Click here for a thorough review of all platforms listed below by Ari’s Take.
Although Digital Distribution might help with exposure, without a professional website to help you build your brand, you won’t be taken seriously. To sell music online successfully make yourself look great with a highly optimized website & active facebook page.
Sell Music Online Directly from your Website
Here is a list of 5 website builders to make you look great and build your brand. We highly recommend either Squarespace, Wix or WordPress. Our reasoning is each of these platforms provides simple drag & drop. While we will go into a more pro & con analysis of these website builders in another blog, just know most price their models based on the “space” you will be using, along with hosting large audio files. To save yourself a lot of money from the evils of bandwidth & audio files like WAV, AIF, etc, we recommend finding another service who will host your music and provide everything you need to sell your songs directly from your website builder.
Sell Your Songs and Beats with your Own Audio Store
While there are many direct-to-fan music platforms out there including BandCamp, CD Baby, etc. These specific companies provide a service which helps their bottom-line. In other words, if your music is on CD Baby, anyone who visits your site will see CD Baby, same goes for BandCamp. Although these companies are helping you sell your music online, they are also building their brand by connecting with your fans. TunePort.com provides an audio store that takes care of all of your music selling needs and puts your name in the front-line, not a third party site. Most importantly, you get a store with your name on it to sell on your website and facebook page and build your brand. Click Here to check out a live demo of their store.
To wrap things up, to sell music online successfully make sure to copyright your material and select a PRO. From here, choose the distribution platform that suits your music needs. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, research the best distribution platform for you and get your music uploaded. We recommend either CDBaby or Distrokid. TuneCore seems to have become way too corporate and since the founders have been ousted, it’s not the same company it used to be. Once you settle on your perfect platform, make sure you get yourself a website to build your brand. Finally, get yourself a store from TunePort to embed on your facebook page and website to sell your songs directly to fans and create long-lasting relationships. Here’s to making it happen with your music career.
Did you like this article? Got questions on how to sell music online? Please email us at: AudioNewsCast@gmail.com
ANC January 22, 2018 at 7:28 am
Hey Anthony, thanks for your response. Submitting for TV/FILM is a process and it really helps to establish a relationship with the music supervisor on the TV/FILM project you’re interested in. We would suggest finding the name of the supervisor on the TV shows you like, listen to the music & see if it compliments your sound. From there, find the name in the credits and reach out! And our TunePort friends are launching a Royalty Free Music Marketplace soon & promoting it to content creators! Check them out! 🙂
Great article! Thanks for the pointers on the digital distribution platforms, I used TuneCore, but I am thinking of moving to CD Baby. How do I get my music submitted for TV/Film?