How To Sell Your Music Online: A Guide For Beginners

How to sell your music online

A young musician who started making electronic music emailed me with some questions about selling music online.

And after replying to him, I realized the info could help other DIY musicians new to the music sales game.

So below are the different ways you can sell and stream your music online.

Intro

This guide is by no means an exhaustive list of every place you can sell music. I’ll do a quick review with pros and cons of different websites I’ve used or have heard good things about.

This is a guide for beginners, after all.

Just so you’re aware, people nowadays are buying music less and streaming it more, and streaming revenues are pretty terrible (I received $0.80 for a few hundred streams of my music).

The idea here is to get exposure for your music on the biggest music streaming/selling platforms out there.

So let’s take a look at a few options for selling and streaming your music online.

Bandcamp

Sell music online
A screenshot of my Bandcamp page

Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Bandcamp, as a musician and a consumer.

It’s simple — create an account for free, upload your songs, start selling directly to your fans, and collect up to 85% of sales (BC takes 15% from all digital music sales, 10% from merch sales — see here).

Plus, they’ve designed simple and cool customizable artist pages, and the embeddable players look great.

Pros

  • Free to sign up and list your music
  • Fair revenue share pricing
  • Good looking design

Con

  • No compensation for song streams

CD Baby

CD Baby

I use CD Baby to get my music on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and a bunch of other digital music stores. The cost options are Free, Standard for $49, or Pro for $89 (see image above), then they take 9% commission from digital sales.

Plus, they have additional services, like song mastering, sync licensing, and they’ll even make physical CDs for you.

Pros

  • Distribution to nearly every digital store
  • One-time distribution fee
  • They’ll make physical CDs or vinyl for you
  • Mastering services

Con

  • To distribute your music, you need to buy a UPC (Universal Product Code) — an additional $5 for a single or $20 for an album

Tunecore

Tunecore

Tunecore and CD Baby essentially do the same thing — distribute your music to almost every digital music store. They also will press physical CDs for you, among other similar services. But there’s one big difference — the way Tunecore works is they charge an annual fee for each release.

So, for example, if I distribute three albums for $30 each, I’m paying $90 a year to keep them listed. If I don’t have $90 worth of digital sales per year, I’m losing money. However, to balance this, they don’t take any sales commission.

Years ago, I worked with Tunecore to distribute my music, but sadly I wasn’t selling enough music back then to break even. So I switched to CD Baby and have been with them ever since.

But it depends on your situation — Tunecore might be a great fit for you.

Pros

  • Distribution to nearly every digital store
  • You keep 100% of your sales commission
  • They’ll make physical CDs for you
  • Mastering services

Con

  • Annual fee per album and per single

Music Licensing

Audiosocket and Musicbed

Music licensing — allowing someone like a filmmaker to use your song in their video in exchange for a fee — can be a nice money-maker. You can earn anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars per song used, and you can often license the same song multiple times.

Musicbed and Audiosocket seem like great starting places for musicians who want to get into this industry, especially electronic musicians and composers.

Want more information?

 

If you’d like a super in-depth review of some of these websites and many others, I’d recommend checking out Ari Herstand’s review over on aristake.com. He did so much work on it. It’s a lot of info, but worth the read.

Hope this post helps!


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