Online music stores and streaming platforms like iTunes and Spotify are accessed by millions of music fans across the world, offering unsigned musicians the chance to get their tracks out to a global audience and start making money from their music.
Selling your songs online is undoubtedly a fantastic way to earn extra dough from doing something you love. But as an independent musician, without the backing of a major label, how do you release music on iTunes and Spotify as well as other major music platforms?
Getting started selling music online
It’s actually never been easier for unsigned artists to upload their music to the biggest online stores, take control of their own career and start collecting royalties every time someone streams or downloads their tracks. To get started, you’ll need to find a good music distribution company, also known as an aggregator.
A music aggregator will get your tracks into online stores like iTunes and Spotify, and collect your royalties on your behalf. You’ll then be able to withdraw the money you make from sales straight to your bank or PayPal account. However, there are a number of music distribution companies out there, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal before you sign up to a specific service.
Choosing the best music distribution company
What are the important things to look out for when choosing a music aggregator? First of all, make sure you’re getting a good deal on your royalty payments. Some distributors will take a sneaky slice of your royalty earnings, including CD Baby who take 9% of everything you earn. There are, however, aggregators like Ditto Music, whose artists keep 100% of their rights and royalties, and won’t take a penny of your earnings.
Another factor to consider is artist support. Will your aggregator look after you once you’ve signed up? Check to see if there is a support hotline or contact phone number on their website. If not, it could be a sign that the company likes to keep their clients at a distance, which is bad news if you have any problems with your release that needs solving quickly.
The best music distribution companies will give you total control over your music too. That includes the ability the accurately plan and schedule your release, as well as access tools used by major label artists, like iTunes Pre-Release and SMS Keywords, which can make a big difference to your total sales. You should also be able to track your sales and trending data through your aggregator once your music is live in the stores, offering a great way to see where your tracks are making the biggest impact.
Finally, make sure it’s clear how much your music distribution service is going to cost. Honest, upfront pricing is the best sign of a good music aggregator. You may find that smaller music distribution companies have cheaper prices than more established ones, but may also offer a less trustworthy or substandard service, so make sure you’re getting the most for your money.
Take the next step in your music career
Once your music is on iTunes, Spotify and other major online stores, you can simply sit back and watch as your royalties roll in. Selling music online as an independent musician may not make you rich overnight, but it’s always a great feeling to earn extra cash from your passion, and kick-start your music career by releasing tracks to the world’s most popular online stores.