Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Selling music has always been a part of musicians’ income and an obvious way to make money with your music. These days, it’s even more crucial for an independent musician to take advantage of every possible selling opportunity, which is why you need to sell music online to grow your music career.
Thankfully, it has never been easier to reach a global audience, connect with fans, and monetize your music.
Choosing the right platform
When it comes to selling your music online, choosing the right platform is key. There are many music distribution services available that will help you reach major digital stores and streaming platforms, so let’s explore the features, pricing, and reach of some of the most popular ones.
With over two decades of experience, CD Baby has built a solid reputation as a trusted and reliable platform for independent musicians. CD Baby offers a comprehensive suite of services designed to support artists at every stage of their music career, robust distribution, sync licensing, and global music promotion. Plus, it offers weekly payouts and has low commissions: you keep 91 percent of all earnings. Disc Makers makes it easy to sign up with CD Baby and make your music available all over the world.
TuneCore provides a comprehensive suite of services for indie artists, including music distribution, publishing administration, and YouTube monetization. With TuneCore, you can distribute your music to a wide range of digital platforms, such as Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and more. TuneCore offers flexible pricing plans based on the number of songs or albums you want to distribute.
Known for its user-friendly interface and affordable pricing structure, DistroKid allows you to distribute unlimited songs and albums for a yearly fee, which makes it an excellent choice for prolific artists who release music frequently. DistroKid also provides useful features like customizable release dates, instant Spotify for Artists verification, and the option to split earnings with collaborators.
SoundCloud isn’t just a streaming platform, it is also a distributor. We have a whole article about the benefits of distributing your music through SoundCloud for Artists, but the short version is, only SoundCloud will distribute your music on SoundCloud itself. This is especially important if you produce electronic, dance, or hip hop music. The good news is you can distribute your music on SoundCloud and also work with Distrokid, CD Baby, or TuneCore.
Maximizing the use of a music streaming platform
Music streaming platforms have revolutionized the way people consume music, and as an artist, it’s essential to take advantage of this revolution. In addition to getting your music on popular platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, there are several ways you can increase your visibility and engagement.
Getting your music featured on curated playlists can dramatically boost your exposure and increase streaming numbers. Find playlists that play your style of music and reach out to the curators with a personalized pitch. In your pitch, send them an EPK that highlights the unique aspects of your music and why it would resonate with their audience. Additionally, talk to your fans and encourage them to add your songs to their personal playlists, as this will generate algorithmic recommendations and increase discoverability.
For example, let’s say you’re an indie folk artist. You could research popular indie folk playlists on Spotify, such as “Indie Folk Chill” or “Acoustic Coffeehouse,” and reach out to the curators. Share a brief bio, describe the mood and style of your music, and request consideration for playlist inclusion.
Furthermore, consider creating your own playlist featuring your music along with songs from other artists you admire or have collaborated with. This collaborative playlist approach can help foster connections with fellow musicians and create a sense of community. By cross promoting each other’s music, you’ll expand your reach and introduce your audience to new artists they might enjoy.
Sell music on your website
If you don’t already have a website, now’s the time to get one. Be sure to sign up with a hosting service that allows you to sell merch, CDs, and vinyl from your website. Check out companies like ReverbNation and Bandzoogle.
Engaging with fans through social media
Social media plays an all-important role in building a buzz and talking to your fans. Your social media pages are also where you’re going to establish your brand and image. Keep posts and images and videos in line with your identity. Design professional and visually appealing artwork that represents your brand effectively.
Craft an engaging artist bio and electronic press kit to help you make a lasting impression. These tools provide industry professionals and potential collaborators with valuable information about your music and career.
Implement SEO techniques for both your website and your social media pages to make sure they rank higher in relevant searches. Showcase music samples, video content, and engaging visuals to captivate visitors and keep them interested in your music.
Engage with your fans on social media platforms by regularly posting updates, interacting with comments, and hosting live streaming events. Building a strong online presence helps you connect with your audience on a deeper level and encourages them to support your music.
Collaborate with other musicians and influencers
Collaborating with other musicians and influencers can significantly widen your reach and introduce your music to new audiences. Join local or online music communities to network with fellow artists and find opportunities. Seek out influencers whose values align with yours and your audience and reach out to them for potential partnerships or promotional activities.
Make and sell CDs online
Of course, digital music is not the only thing you can sell online. Through sites like Bandcamp you can sell your professional CDs and vinyl LPs to those fans looking for the best audio experience they can get.
Choosing a digital distributor for your music: Part 1
Digital music distribution Q&A: Pricing, payment, support, and more
SoundCloud vs Spotify: Which is better for indie musicians?
The Musician’s Guide to an Electronic Press Kit (EPK)
Sell your CDs online: Stake a tent at Bandcamp