This post was written more than two years ago. The content or information below may no longer be accurate.
Making money from music is the dream for any unsigned or independent artist. Once you’ve gone through the creative process of making a song, the next natural step would be to get it to as many ears as possible whilst ideally being able to make a living. The ever changing trends in technology have given musicians more avenues to distribute their music, other than the old methods of pushing to radio or trying to get signed.
Your Own Website
Creating your own website that you can sell your music on is a great way to have your own space on the internet that you have total control over. As well as no one taking a slice of your revenue, there are other benefits like being able to sell merch or using emails and fan data to build a database and communicate with your fans directly. Once you get over the initial challenge of building a fanbase this can be a very lucrative approach.
Sell Through Digital Stores
The fact that streaming sites has changed the music industry is well becoming old news with streaming now accounting for than half of UK music industry income. The rise of online consumption means the market is bursting with multiple digital stores for artists to distribute their music on, which conveniently already have a built in audience base.
Platforms like Google Play Music, Amazon Music, Spotify are now the most common option for artists to distribute their music. The trust these brands have built means listeners are more likely to stream/buy from these platforms.
However the main disadvantage is the often reported on issue of the cut the platforms take – up to 30%!
Bandcamp is a free online music platform designed to give artists control on how they sell their music. Artists can set their own prices, with Bandcamp taking a 15% revenue share, although this can drop to 10% if you make enough sales.
Bandcamp allows a high level of control, with artists even being able to give listeners the option to pay what they want and the ability to sell merch.
Although you can’t buy music from streaming platform Soundcloud, it can be a valuable platform for emerging artists. As one of the biggest music discovery sites on the Internet the site is great for building fanbases. The site also allows artists to add a ‘Buy Link’ button so listeners can be directed to external sites like iTunes where they can purchase tracks.
Sell Through Digital Distribution Websites
Digital Distribution Websites like Tunecore and Landr are digital music aggregators that allow you to distribute your music on multiple music streaming stores. The advantage is these platforms remove the red tape and sell your music to all the streaming stores on your behalf. Although you pay a flat fee per single/album you keep the revenue made, 100% of it infact!
Sell physical copies of your music online.
Sites like CDbaby allow you to sell physical copies of your music, giving you access to global distribution networks of thousands of record stores. This is great for artists in genres that may lend themselves more to physical sales than streaming sales. These sites normally also provide digital options too so there’s the option of bundling physical and digital releases. Again these platforms typically take a cut of your sales or a flat fee, depending on who you choose.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help kick-start your music career, why not come along to one of ACM’s Open Days.