Let’s face it, musicians. At this point in time, you probably don’t have a manager, a label, a distributor, or a booking agent. It’s fine – you’ll get there. In the meantime, why not sell your music all on your own? Below, we have five great sites to sell your own music on.
If you are looking for a platform to sell both your music and your merch on, then BandCamp is most certainly the way to go. The site has existed for a while (founded September 2008), and it is designed around the concept of artists selling music directly to their fans.
The core feature is fairly simple: upload your music to the site, and sell it to the people. You set your price, and BandCamp just requires 15% of the total fees for digital sales (or 10% when you’ve reached $5000 in revenues).
As an added plus, all money flows directly to your PayPal account. That said, when someone pays $10 for your album, all the money goes to you, and at this point, you owe BandCamp – if it’s 10% – $1. However, BandCamp doesn’t need the money right there and then. The idea is that BandCamp only takes money when a sale comes along that’s less or equal to the balance you owe BandCamp. If the revenue share amount you owe is $10, then the next $10 sale goes to BandCamp, and then you’re in the clear.
BandCamp also allows you to sell merchandise through them, allowing the site to act like a Shopify or BigCartel type of site. Pricing plans function similarly to all digital sales, but BandCamp only takes out 10% for each transaction.
As a final note, there are some processing fees regarding PayPal, and you can read up a bit more on these and how to limit them by visiting BandCamp’s website.
ReverbNation primarily serves its purpose as an artist promotional platform rather than a merchandising device. That said, you do not technically sell your music through ReverbNation. Instead, it merely acts as a storefront, and all sales actually happen through the usual venues (like iTunes and Spotify). Furthermore, 100% of royalties go directly to you. Granted, a monthly subscription fee of at least $20 is required for distribution, but you can at least set your ReverbNation page up for free using the basic plan.
The primary benefit of using ReverbNation is that it gets your name out there. People regularly flock to the site to discover new music typically in their local area, and in turn, they can find you. You should post your music on the site so people can listen to it (for free), but while you’re at it, you should provide an option for the user to purchase each songs. We live in a time where music listeners everywhere tend to support the independent front, so chances are that you will see some revenue come through this site.
We’ve covered SoundCloud as a resource for royalty free music before, so you may already have a general understanding of what it is. In the past, we’ve primarily pushed it as a site to find music in the realm of Creative Commons or Royalty Free music, but did you know many artists use it as a means for income?
Like ReverbNation, you can post your music on SoundCloud for free, and yes, people can listen to it. However, the catch is that they can’t download it (if you so choose). Instead, a link can be included that sends them to a place that they can buy the new tunes.
Bear in mind that with SoundCloud’s responsive web design and ability to play music regardless of where you are browsing, listeners may prefer to tune in using SoundCloud itself. On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, people may be keen on the whole “support independent musicians” type of thing.
If you want more control over the format that your music is sold in, then you should take a look at CD Baby. Despite the name of the service, CD Baby doesn’t focus its efforts on just compact discs. For one, you can sell digital copies of your music. For another, the site allows for other unique ways to sell your music – like vinyl. (HIPSTUR’D.) In short, it’s all about distribution.
CD Baby’s payment system is a bit different than other sites. For each format you use, you pay a one-time fee, and then CD Baby does its best to place it everywhere possible. Stores, e-stores, and more could all potentially sell your goods, and the same goes for iTunes, Amazon, and more. After that, CD Baby keeps $4 per unit sold.
That said, CD Baby’s system is a bit harder to follow than others. Yes, there is great opportunity to have your materials placed in a variety of storefronts, but there’s also the risk of items not being sold. (That could be said for any business, though.)
Big on total independence? Then get away from sites designed for musicians, and make things all on your own.
Instead, you could sell digital files directly to consumers. With Sellify, doing that is incredibly easy, and the house only takes 5% of each sale. That said, the service even offers unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth, so honestly… Sellfy doesn’t look that bad.
Presentation isn’t entirely the name of the game with Sellfy – that is, you won’t get a sexy “storefront” as with BandCamp or ReverbNation. However, the site definitely provides the most independent of all the tools, and it’s also apparent that Sellfy takes the least amount of money out of each transaction. Furthermore, you don’t have to limit yourself to just music when it comes to Sellfy – you could sell album art, music videos, and more here.
iTunes & Amazon
Honestly, I didn’t want to write about iTunes or Amazon because they are just so obvious. Granted, how to use them may not be so obvious.
Right up front, I should say that Amazon does not accept musicians without a distributor, so you will have to go with a service like CD Baby that will handle everything for you. On the other hand, iTunes allows you to do everything on your own, but… there’s a catch. Right off the bat, you need at least 20 albums in your catalog. That said, you would be better to ride along with a service like CD Baby as well seeing that they can organize everything for you.
However you decide to distribute your music, MakeUseOf has got you covered! The above websites have tried and true services that will help you sell your music without being too overbearing as middlemen.
What other websites do you use to sell your own music on? Have any of the above sites helped you?
Image Credit: Steve Snodgrass
Explore more about: Indie Music.