The internet has made it easier to make money with your music. It doesn’t matter if you’ve pressed hundreds of CDs or just recorded a live performance, it’s now possible to sell your music online at independent CD shops or, in the case MP3’s, Amazon, Rhapsody and E-Music. This is all without any assistance from major record companies Letsmix.
A number of independent companies are called ‘Aggregators for the big online music shops’. They basically group all independent artists’ music and deliver a complete bundle to them each week. They collect the revenue from the stores and then pass it on to you.
Some aggregators will send you a small percentage from each sale. This is to cover their costs for staff and time, as well as the cost of delivering your music. Some aggregators will charge a small upfront fee, while others allow you to keep the entire amount that the store pays artists. Keep in mind that although the online store takes a cut of the sale of your music you could end up making up to 60 cents per track on a 99-cent download. You can also make a profit much faster by selling MP3’s as they don’t require the upfront cost of pressing CD’s.
You may have CDs you have already pressed, but it can be expensive and difficult to create your own website. There are many businesses that have all the technology you need, so why not use their services? They will handle all the selling, while you collect the money!
CDBaby.com is one of the most popular online CD sellers. Since over 10 years, they have been selling music CDs online. Independent CD distributors such as CDBaby only require that you sign up for their service and then send them a few CDs, usually around five, which they will put on their website. You will be asked to provide some information about your CD and band to enable them to create a promotional page for you in their shop. This will increase your chances of selling more CDs. CDBaby charges $4 per CD. If you sell a CD at $9.99, you will get $5.99 per CD. This is much higher than if your CD was sold to major record labels.
CD Baby recently introduced a program where they will press your CD in small quantities. You only need to provide the audio file, artwork and release information. The pressing plant will then do the rest. They can even stock your CDBaby shop with the CD. Brilliant! One-stop CD distribution without ever leaving your house. The distributor site can be used to make it easier for your fans to purchase your CD at your gig. They sometimes offer additional promotional tools like swipe machines, etc.
You can purchase a barcode from your distributor for a small fee (CDBaby currently charges $20). This will allow you to count your sales towards your chart position if you have enough. This is a good idea, even if you don’t sell many CDs. The chart position will give you more exposure, and you can shout about your success.
Many independent online distributors will also place your music in physical distributor catalogs. This means that your music can be purchased from physical stores. CD Baby placed their CD’s in Chicago-based Super D Phoenix One Stop, which supplies large physical retailers like Target, Tower Records, and many others. Online distributors will usually have a list of stores where your music is available. This allows you to contact your fans and tell them that you can take your CD’s into your local record shop and ask for it. You can increase your earnings by utilizing the services of independent distributors. These services include ringtone sales and promotion online, synchronisation (your song in TV and Film), and many other.
There are new distribution models constantly emerging. Popcuts.com, a site that sells independent music to its fans, is a success. It offers a small percentage of any future sales and gives the buyer a small cut. This is a great way for your fans to purchase your tracks. They also get paid each time you sell one. It’s a win-win situation.