How To Sell Music Online
Selling music online (and offline) is something I have become very familiar with. First and foremost, I am an active musician myself (working under the name The Horizon of a Dream) and have sold some records in my time. Currently, I am working on a new album of music; to be released hopefully within a few months. The next major step after having your music finished and polished is determining how to market your music. Learning how to sell music online is rather simple, with the first steps requiring you to find places that are either free or very inexpensive for hosting your music for sale. In this "how to sell music online" article I will be highlighting a variety of sites and services that allow you to get exposure for your music, and more importantly allow you to sell your music online.
Determine what websites you want to sell on
Before you are able to really start marketing and selling your music online, it is important to decide just how many places on the internet you want to be selling music from. Typically people think "the more the merrier," which can hold true to some degree. However, it should also be pointed out that selling music online, especially on major websites like Amazon or Wal-Mart, will require you to pay a fee of some sort just to have your music hosted on that site. If you expect many album sales, these fees are typically miniscule in the long run. However, these fees may seem high or even daunting to pay if you are a new artist looking to sell your music online.
I personally recommend that if you are just starting to sell your music on the internet that you begin with a variety of websites that allow you to do this for free. While you will not have access to a huge customer database (like one you could get if you were on Amazon), the ability to make sales is still very possible on the right websites.
Bandcamp and Amazon
While there are many places on the internet where you can sell your music, two of my favorites are Bandcamp and Amazon. Bandcamp is a consistently growing niche market of musicians, as well as listeners looking for deals and good music. Bandcamp allows you to sell your music at any price point (or even for free). They also have a special feature that allows buyers to "name their price," which adds some more depth to how you sell your music online. I personally use Bandcamp and absolutely love the minimalistic approach to their web design, and all the statistics you can see makes it very useful and interesting. I have also sold records on there as well!
Amazon is a great place online to sell your music. The only downside is that typically you will have to pay to have your music hosted there. You can easily use your imagination with regards to figuring out how great Amazon is for a musician looking to sell music online, but the two primary reasons I love it are as follows. First, you can sell music in both physical and MP3 form for the same price. This allows buyers to decide how they want your music. Second, the huge database of potential buyers; as well as the trusted name that is Amazon just makes selling music on their website a no brainer.
Marketing Your Music
Learning how to sell music online also includes the need to market and advertise your music. This can be done in many ways, from social marketing to playing live performances. In this respect, you should really be using your imagination. Marketing can be fun, but very challenging as well. Getting customers and feedback on your music is important for moving forward. If you create good music and target it towards the right niche of people, making sales of your music online (and offline) should be very easy!
Sign Up with a Music Distributor
If you are in a band that is on a record label, you will probably not need to worry too much about getting your music "out there." Your management likely does this for you already. However, if you are an independent artist (like myself), finding a good music distributor is important. Two that cater specifically to independent musicians are CDBaby and Tunecore. You may have heard of these before, but they are vital for getting your music on the online market very quickly. CDBaby is a distributor some of my musician friends use, and for good reason. For a low price of around $50 dollars they distribute your music to a variety of services, including iTunes and Amazon. This is perhaps the simplest way to learn how to sell your music online.
Other Websites for Making Sales and Marketing
While I have highlighted some of my favorite websites for marketing and selling music online, there are no doubt many others that are great in helping you get heard online. These include the following sites: PureVolume, ReverbNation, SoundCloud, Myspace, Last.FM, and many more. These sites cater to niche segments of the population. For example, PureVolume is great for indie rock musicians (and not very good for people who are into styles of music like black metal or Americana). SoundCloud does not allow you to sell your music, but you can make it freely downloadable and many other musicians go on that site. As you can see, there are certainly pros and cons to joining these additional websites; but on the whole they can be very useful if (and only if) you update them and maintain them.
I hope this article teaching you how to sell music online has been very informative. If you have any questions, feel free to ask as I am very familiar with selling music on the internet! I'd also love to hear your music as well, so feel free to leave a link to your site too.