Selling your music online is easier today than ever before. With a myriad of websites, social media and outlets for you to choose from, putting music for sale online is as easy as selling an item on eBay. That’s not going to be the problem. The problem is the same as any business — getting the customers to buy what you’re selling. Today we will discuss some of the methods and strategies involved in selling music online and hope this advice can give you that extra push to monetize off of your hard work and creativity.
How to start selling music online
First you have to have some good songs together. Not just the songs you like most, but the ones your friends and family like the most. You may have a favorite and it may be a powerful and emotional performance, but if you’re the only one who likes it, you may want to keep it on the shelf for now. If you don’t have too many songs, consider starting an EP (about 5 tracks we’d recommend). You will also want to make sure that your songs are all recorded onto different formats and ready to go at a moment’s notice. You never know who wants to hear your music, and if you don’t have it in a format they can use, they might move on to the next artist. If you have a home recording studio already, then this will be the cheapest way to go.
Have a budget number in mind for how much you want to spend on this whole process, then prepare yourself because you’re going to blow right through that number. Selling your music online is not just about making money, it’s an investment as well. Certainly you’ve heard the term “it costs money to make money” before, and it’s a true statement. You may need to search online to find a local recording studio if you don’t have one at home. If you have a friend who has a home recording studio set up in their basement or something that will work too. Renting a studio isn’t cheap. It can cost anywhere from $40 to $100 an hour. At those rates, you may only want to record one or just a few of your strongest most popular songs.
Create a sound music selling strategy
Creating a sound strategy is going to be a must. Plan out how this will work best for you. Do you want to start with small shows and weddings? Do you want to just make a single and distribute it? Do you want to make a complete album first and release the songs all together? Your strategy can determine how quickly things can accelerate, or if they will at all. Consider making your own website. This road has several advantages not the least of which is the ability to set the price and keep all of the profits. While a custom website could cost you upwards of $5,000 to $10,000 right off the bat, a simple template that you customize yourself can cost as little as $300 to $1,000. Not a bad investment when you consider that some companies pay as much as $10,000 per month to advertise on some larger websites. Another thing to consider is that as your website grows in popularity, you might attract other artists who want to piggy-back on your website’s popularity to sell their music online too. Of course they can, for a small fee. What this also means is that you can start collecting email addresses for promotions you want to run.
Now, not everyone wants to receive emails from music websites constantly bombarding their inbox, but as your stable of musicians and artists grows, you can promote them in your emails too. See where this is going yet? Not only will you be a musician, but a business owner too. A website is a powerful tool to enable you to promote your own music and help others along the way. This road will also allow you the precious capital needed to possibly build a real studio where you can record your own albums whenever you want and then charge others to use it too. Once again, it’s not a bad investment for $300 to $1000. Running a website is not an easy task, and it will take a great deal of effort and patience on your part on top of writing and recording your music too. However, you wouldn’t be in the music business at all if you weren’t prepared to hustle for what you want. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
The website is a great idea if in the longer term you want to eventually become a mogul, but if you’re just looking to sell your music online then digital stores might be a good direction to go in. With tons of stores out there you can spread your music out to tons of places, ensuring you get the most ears on your music as possible. Some sites will make you jump through hoops to get to the point where you can sell your music, and the majority will charge a fee for every song you sell. There are some distribution sites out there, who have carved out a niche. They offer a service where they use their partnership with streaming apps and website as well as online digital music stores to properly format and distribute your music for a fee.
These networks use their influence to sell on some of the more popular sites for digital music, which really clears out some of the obstacles between you and the people you want to sell to. A word of caution though, streaming your music on a service is a great way to get your music out, but if you plan on making money on this venture it might be best to wait until you have a few albums and a fan base first. Otherwise you may end up spending more than you bring in.
Utilize social media
Now this may seem like a no-brainer, putting music for sale online can get tricky and very involved. Make sure you have accounts on all the most popular sites (which you should have already). If you have a music video, that would be even better because you can now bring YouTube into the equation, and establish your own YouTube channel to direct potential fans to. We won’t go into how YouTube can help you here, mostly because we could talk about it for hours and it won’t cover the primary objective of this discussion. Just know that if you have the means to make a music video or you already have one, YouTube is a useful tool to promote yourself with. With millions of potential fans around the world, an official channel is definitely a good idea. Obviously, you could just have the album artwork showing and play the song in the background, but since YouTube is for videos you might have a hard time attracting fans to a 3 minute long commercial of your face not moving. Even the original PlayStation had a visualizer to keep people occupied.
When your album is ready or even your single, place it everywhere at the same time. Try to build a buzz beforehand if at all possible. Have your friends and family log onto these sites and apps and rave about your music. There should be no shame in your game. After all, you want these songs to become popular, and everyone enjoys getting in on the ground floor. With so many sites and apps for music today, the more ears you can get to listen the more opportunities there are for paying fans. Remember, selling music online is a fickle business. Even if you don’t hit it out of the park on your first try in your home country, that doesn’t mean they won’t go crazy for you in another (K-Pop, David Hasselhoff, etc.).
Concluding music selling tips
Finally, selling music online is all about how hard you’re willing to work to make your dreams come true. Just like any endeavor, it takes proper planning, family and friends, timing and a little bit of luck to be successful. Be aggressive and take chances, this could turn into your career and everyone you are competing against will take the chances you may not be willing to in order to get ahead. While the success of a website is more of a long term goal, go ahead and get it started as soon as you can. The ability to funnel potential fans to your website is a big deal. Also, it makes it easier to add links on your site to your social media offerings. Your music is what’s going to drive everything, so it might be best to wait until you have a good solid backlog of songs and albums available before you start trying to sell them on the site. You can make it a special promotion for your hardcore fans, the ones who already like the music you have released on your social media sites. Something like offering a special price for those fans who have been with you from the start.
It will take a good strategy, planning, blood, sweat and tears. In the end though, it will all be worth it. Good luck!