Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How to Sell your Music on iTunes, Amazon, Napster, Spotify and Others

Start Selling Your Music
Back in the age of Compact Disks (CDs), it was every musician’s dream to get their music on the local store racks and get as many people as possible to buy their disks because it was the best way to sell music after cassette tapes.  The times have changed and people are acquiring digital content online.  Every musician strives to get his or her music online, to get them on music retail and distribution services like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Napster and others.  Getting your music listed for sale in these sites is not as difficult as it used to be, and I am going to show you how you can get it done.
Step 1: Do you qualify to work with Apple directly?
Apple, and most other online music retailers today do not deal with musicians directly for the obvious reason that there are millions of musicians and other artists who would love to have their creative works listed on these sites.  However, you should check the iTunes’ application to determine if meet the requirements that could qualify you to deal with Apple directly.  These requirements are pretty hard and are meant for the very established musicians.  To get your music directly on iTunes, you would have to:
  • Have a catalog with at least 20 albums.
  • Have JAN, UPC and EANs for all the product you wish to distribute.
  • Have ISRCs for all tracks you wish to distribute.

Step 2: Will you have to use a middleman?
If you don’t meet the requirements to deal with Apple and other music distributors directly, your next move will be to find and sign up with an aggregator who provides submission services to get your tracks on most online music retail stores.  Apple has a list of approved aggregators you can choose from (see the list here) but you don’t have to go with that as there are many companies today that act as middlemen to get your content online.  Some of the most popular services today are TuneCore, CDBaby, Song Cast, Nimbit, ReverbNation, The Orchard and Route Note.
Step 3: Choose an aggregator
There are many aggregators who act as the middlemen in getting your content to the largest music marketplace in the history of the industry – the internet.  These aggregators promise all kinds of bells and whistles but each offers different benefits.  While comparing the different aggregators, put your needs first.  Make a list of the services you expect to receive and find the aggregators that offer them.  Most musicians look for companies that submit music to over 10 distribution sites besides making hard copies of your music on CD and DVD available locally.  Pay close attention to other factors as well such as fees, after sales services and bonuses before settling on one aggregator to get your talent online.
Step 4: Get your music ready with a dazzling cover art
Before you upload your music, you want to make sure that people can actually see and listen to it and the best way to achieve this is to appeal to their visual sense.  Music lovers can tell a lot about the quality and type of music just from the mixtape cover design and same thing goes for selling singles or whatever on online sites you need to have attention grabbing graphics.  Even when you plan to sell your music digitally, it is wise to ensure your music is properly visually represented with the right artwork, logos and color schemes.  You will have to upload high quality original square images at least 1,000 x 1000 pixels images in JPEG (.jpg) format and further prepare the audio by converting your music to 16 bit WAV format at 44.1 kHz stereo sound.  You can do all this using the iTunes PC or Mac software available on Apple’s homepage.
Step 5: Understand what benefits there are to selling your music
Before you take the next step, first do some research to understand what benefits will come your way on successful upload of your content and be familiar with the intrigues and challenges of selling online.  To be an effective musician, you must be an effective entrepreneur.  iTunes and all the popular music distribution services are focused on serving you, it is imperative that you read their ToS and subscribe to their newsletters to be appraised in time of any changes that have a direct impact on you and your music.
These are the most important steps to follow to get your music online.  An aggregator is a very important entity in the whole process, you should ensure that you choose the right company to get your content found and to pay you when you make a sale.  Once you settle on one company, visit their web page and you will get more detailed information and how to register to hand over the rest of the process to the professionals.

Other resources:                                                                                                                                                                      Mixtape Covers

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