In today’s day and age, selling anything, including your own music, is entirely possible as long as you have the motivation to do so. It won’t be as easy as listing your tracks and waiting for your sales to come in.
If only it were that easy.
The platforms are out there to sell your music online successfully, but a lot of times, you may not know which platforms are worth your time.
So, in today’s post, I wanted to talk about the many websites you can use if you’re an aspiring artist who wants to sell their music online. Like a lot of the posts I have created in the past, such as where to sell your art and how to get paid to write poetry, some will may be better than others, but since I don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s hard to recommend a certain company.
For now, I will list the many ways you can make money selling music, the fees involved and how large the customer base truly is. And it will be up to you to decide which one works for your music style.
How to Sell Music Online Successfully
Fiverr, an extremely popular freelancing website, allows you to sell just about anything, yes, including music.
While you could upload your own tunes and sell them as is, it could be more of a platform to consider if you’re willing to create new songs for people who request them.
For example, glancing at the marketplace right now, here are a few of the listings I saw while I was writing this review:
As you can see, these are only three of the 8,000 listings that deal with music. One guy will put your lyrics to music, whereas another will mix your music. There’s a bit of everything really.
While the number of listings may scare you away, keep in mind that Fiverr does have millions of buyers, with many looking for the services you could be offering. Try to find your niche, work hard and the customers will roll in as long as you have great reviews.
If going this route, however, do keep in mind that you probably will have to create something unique each time and won’t be ideal if you want to just ship people your music tracks only.
To learn how to succeed on this platform, I do recommend the very popular book, The Fiverr Master Class. It’s only a few bucks and will teach the secrets of the power sellers to help you domination online.
- Website: Fiverr
TuneCore is a pinch different than most of the websites I list online here as they will take your music files and distribute to more than 150 digital stores in more than 200+ countries. This is going to be much easier than uploading to 100+ digital music stores individually.
Once your music is uploaded, you can view daily sales trends and also keep every cent earned from sales and streams.
This is truly a one-stop shop, but as you probably guessed, it does come at a price, but it’s not as much as you think.
According to the official website, a single distribution account will cost $9.99 per year, whereas an album account will cost $29.99 for the first year. There are more options that work like this, all of which I will list below.
For more information as to how it works, I highly encourage you to follow the link below to learn how you can make your music available everywhere.
- Website: TuneCore
Ditto Music works just like TuneCore, allowing you to upload your music to more than 160+ online music stores, such as Spotify, Itunes and so many more, all with the click of a button.
You retain 100% of the rights and royalties, but like TuneCore, you will need to pay an annual fee, all of which starts at $19 a year depending on what kind of plan you’re looking for. There are no hidden costs unless you choose additional extras.
I encourage you to at least follow the link below to find out more information and see if it’s something worth joining.
Aside from easy uploading, you can also track your sales and earning across multiple platforms, all delivered to your dashboard.
- Website: Ditto Music
As yet another option that works similarly to Ditto Music and TuneCore, ReverbNation allows you to distribute your music on all major platforms such as Spotify, Google and more.
To start, they ask that you tell them about your release, upload your cover art and then add your songs. From there, they will then distribute your music.
Depending on your preferences, single packages start at $9.95 per year, while a premium membership, which includes a website, domain and more, can cost $19.95 a month.
Again, visit the link below for more information.
- Website: ReverbNation
If you like the idea of a distribution network but don’t like the idea of paying a monthly/annual fee, then this is where RouteNote can come into the picture.
Now, with RouteNote, they do offer a free plan, however, they do collect a 15% commission fee on all of the revenue they collect. So, if you feel it’s worth it to you to give up a slice of the pie, unlike the others mentioned prior, then this could be one to consider.
It could be one to consider to at least get started on the many popular music platforms, especially if you don’t have a budget.
Aside from the free account, they do have a premium account as well that doesn’t take any commission.
As of this review, RouteNote works with more than 28 of the biggest digital platforms, doing all of the submissions for you.
- Website: RouteNote
Don’t forget about YouTube, a very popular platform that can help get your music discovered. That’s where Justin Bieber was discovered after all.
While you won’t make money selling digital files directly on YouTube, per se, you can send people to your website or directly to the music you have for sale. Plus, as you grow your audience, you can even make money from your YouTube ads.
YouTube is a very competitive space, but if you have a niche and know how to properly market yourself, it doesn’t hurt to at least try and upload a few videos to see how they do.
- Website: YouTube
CD Baby has been around quite a while. In fact, they were one of the earlier innovators when CDs used to the go-to for music lovers.
However, as you probably already know by now, music has greatly changed, with more and more people purchasing digital music files and even streaming instead of purchasing a physical CD. While people still buy CDs, this is where you could consider CDBaby.com as they offer this option and others.
Said to be the largest independent-only music store online, visited by millions, you can earn 90 cents for every 99 cent download sold, making it one of the most royalty friendly platforms online. Not only that, but your customers also have the option to purchase CDs and vinyl if you choose.
CD Baby also offers a digital distribution service, where they will get your music live on a variety of platforms, including iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, and more.
If you want to make money in royalties, distribute your music to the top music sites and get paid weekly, it’s one to consider.
- Website: CDBaby.com
bandcamp reminds me a lot like CDBaby in that it only focuses on independent artists. It’s also a great place to explore up and coming artists as well.
Signing up ins 100% free, but do keep in mind that the company will take a 15% cut on songs and 10% for merchandise sales.
Aside from being able to upload your songs and create an artist fan page, the company also includes real-time statistics, high-quality download formats, reporting to popular music charts and much more. Be sure to check out the artist page to see what would be included with your account.
Picture it more of a social media-like platform.
- Website: bandcamp
Your Own Website
While you can sell on the many websites I list here, one of the best ways to list is via your own website. Of course, you can still use the other methods mentioned, but a website is always a great idea for brand awareness, listing your tour dates, linking out to social media, etc.
Now, the great thing about starting your own website and running an e-commerce platform is that you won’t have to pay much commission, if any at all. This will depend on the methods you use.
Even if you don’t have the experience, consider opening an online store with Shopify or even using one of the many popular e-commerce plugins designed for WordPress.
Again, designing your own website is a fantastic idea and only takes a few minutes to learn. To get started, Amazon has plenty of very low-cost ($1~) books to get the ball rolling.
The Biggest Digital Online Music Stores
The websites I list above are designed if you’re looking for something aside from the typical iTunes, Google Play like websites.
As you can see, some you can use as an aggregator of sorts, while CDBaby.com, for example, allows you to sell both digital and CDs/vinyl. Again, since I don’t know your goals, it’s hard for me to recommend something.
All of the platforms I list below work in the same way.
Create an account, upload your music, and when your music sells, the platform takes a chunk of the sale. I’ll try to list what they take below.
The only difference between the many is that some platforms may have more buyers than others, whereas some platforms will charge more than another. It doesn’t hurt to list on these websites, but in all honesty, it’s best to consider TuneCore or Ditto Music to help you save a ton of time.
If you do choose to list individually, it can be done, but it will just take more work of course.
As of my review, here are some of the most popular platforms to sell your music online:
|Spotify||no fixed rate (depends on a variety of factors such as market share)|
|iTunes||artists usually receive around 70% of sales|
|Google Play||30% commission|
|Amazon Music||artists usually take around 60% home|
|Vevo||small fee per play|
|Shazam||more of a promotional tool|
|Deezer||no fixed rate (depends on a variety of factors such as the type of listener, etc)|
|Apple Music||pays out about $0.0064 per stream.|
There are more than these, of course, but I just feel these are the ones you should focus on as they tend to have the largest audience and are worth your time.
Again, you will have to create your own, upload your music and log into each dashboard to track your music stats.
The Process from Start to Finish
Now that you know where you can distribute and list your music, here are the basics of selling your music online, all in a quick summary. Of course, there’s so much more to promoting and making money from your music, but I just wanted to include this here as a way to get the ball rolling.
1. Record and perfect your songs. Generally, your local recording studios will be your best option, but the end game is to have a solid high-quality sound.
2. Make sure your audio files come in a variety of formats as each platform I mentioned above will only accept certain file types. DRM protected AAC is generally your best and most popular option. Refer to the platforms you’re using to see what they are looking for.
3. Upload your music individually through the most popular channels or save time by using a distribution channel. Consider CDBaby if you want to sell a physical copy of your CD.
4. Start promoting. Of course, this is easier said than done, but a lot of independent artists have had quite some luck with social media, performing locally and even sending music to a variety of radio stations. Again, I recommend these very highly-rated books on Amazon to learn how to successfully promote your music online. There are a million ways to promote. It’s just up to you to decide what works for you.
Thanks to the internet, there are a ton of places to upload your music.
Remember, uploading is the easy part, so don’t expect sales to start rolling in right away. While I have only dabbled in music in the past, I can only recommend these highly-rated Amazon books, for now, to teach you to how to get fans, even if people don’t know who you are.
As with making money with anything online, it’s going to take a lot of hustle, patience, and dedication. If you feel have these characteristics and take action, you’re already light years ahead of the rest.
If you feel you have the music to succeed, then, by all means, start looking at these platforms and start uploading your music to hopefully become the next artist that becomes a household name. Even if your time to shine never comes, you can at least say you tried.
For now, contemplate whether you want to use an aggregator or list individual. Again, it’s up to you as to what you can afford and what you have time for.
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