Back in the old days, making a record could be an incredibly expensive process, with only a handful of record studios across the country and the only real distrubution of your music being radio (some of which required payola). These days, a 14 year old kid with Pro Tools, an audio interface, microphone and a DSL connection to the internet can produce crisp recordings full of effects and market them directly to the world without the need for agents, marketing departments and distribution channels. While few bands online are getting “rich” there are thousands that have been able to take advantage of digital music to get some income to help sustain their music. Here is a list of some of the more popular services for selling your music online.
CDBaby is a one-stop distribution service to save musicians the hassle of uploading and managing various accounts on different music selling sites. By uploading your song or album it is quickly put into iTunes, Amazon’s MP3 store, Spotify, Google Play and others.
Cost: $49 per album, $9.95 per single + 9% commission fee on digital downloads/listens.
Tunecore is another one-stop distribution service that allows musicians to quickly have their music listed on the most popular sites. Similiar to CDBaby, it pushes the songs to iTunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3, as well as a host of other sites like Rhapsody and Xbox Live.
Cost: $49.99 per album, $14.99 per song and those fees are annual fees meaning you must renew every year. Unlike CDBaby, you get to keep 100% of the sales, so there is no 9% commission. If you expect to sale a high-volume of music, the 9% could add up, but if you plan on just selling a small amount over time, CDBaby may be better suited for you.
Bandcamp allows you to sell your music directly without paying any sort of service fee. By uploading a song or album, you can sale it directly on Bandcamp, through a Facebook application on your fan page. You can also create your own personalized page, take pre-orders and even list tour dates.
Cost: There is no service charge, you only pay when someone makes a purchase. They charge 15% on digital purchases and 10% on merchandise that you sale.
ReverbNation offers distribution similar to CDBaby including Amazon, Rhapsody, Spotify, Amazon MP3 and whole bunch of lesser known online retailers. They are a little slower on music distribution but contain several promotional tools to help promote your bands music. Comes with trending reports from iTunes.
Cost: $34.95 per album per year as well as other plans for further distribution and promotion.
These are just some of the more popular services that have been adopted have helped thousands of musicians bring in some income. What is right for you is going to depend on how much downloads you expect and how many years you expect to be selling those songs and albums.
If you currently sale music online, what service do you use?