Sell Music Online | Top 5 Methods to Consider

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Selling your music online is an obvious step for musicians and whether you’re looking for tips on how to sell online successfully, or intel on the steaming platforms you need to know about, our experts have you covered.

With so many online music stores and streaming services available, it’d be silly to not sell your music online. But with so many options – in what’s an already saturated marketplace – it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming.

So in this article, we’ll talk you through the various ways in which you can sell your music online; making sure that all of the time and talent you pour into your music is seen and appreciated, and – hopefully – making a little money along the way!

#1. Sell On Your Own Website

The great thing about having your own website, no matter what your brand or business aims, is that it offers you a slice of the internet that’s completely yours. Here, you can control the narrative around your music, and don’t need to rely on social media algorithms and trends to get your songs heard.

Selling your music on your own website will require you to create an online store where fans can buy your music directly from you. With so many different streaming and download sites available, many true music fans prefer to buy directly from the artist, safe in the knowledge that streaming giants aren’t taking a substantial cut from the price.

Plus, having your own website not only allows you to sell your music directly, but also enables you to create a wider online community and presence around your discography. Here, you can personally control what content and information you distribute to your fans – whether that’s music, messaging, or merchandise.

When it comes to building your own website, website builders for musicians make life easier. We recommend using Squarespace. The platform will allow you to upload your music, as well as other content such as blog posts and music videos. Plus, its music website templates – which allow you to base your site off a pre-existing design theme – are some of the industry’s finest.

It’s also simple to set up and easy to use, and the variety of pricing plans and help and support available makes it the ideal option for all budgets and abilities.

Squarespace homepage for building a band or musician website with a sign up button
Squarespace websites are responsive, and the builder's array of design templates and billing options make it a great solution for everyone.
Pros Cons
You have total control over every aspect of music creation and distribution. You’ll need to embark on an extensive marketing campaign to get your website in front of the right eyes.
Costs are low and you will keep all of your profits. You’ll need to keep your website up to date and optimize it for SEO.
The ability to build an online community around your music. Taking charge of everything yourself can be time-consuming.

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#2. Sell On Online Music Stores

Whilst having your own website allows you to swerve the middleman and go directly to your fans, it can be hard to drum up interest at the start. Relying on people just stumbling across your website will likely result in lackluster sales.

So, alongside having your own website, you’ll also need to consider other online music stores, too. Online music stores will help you to reach a much wider audience, and help ensure that your music is heard.

One of the best stores to use to sell your music online is Bandcamp. Bandcamp is an independent platform that allows you to sell your music to fans in various formats, including MP3 and WAV. You can also collect the data and email addresses of fans who buy your music, which can be useful when it comes to marketing new songs or providing updates about upcoming tours, shows, and releases.

Bandcamp New and Notable section
Bandcamp’s “New and Notable” section is a great place for up-and-coming artists to be found.

Bandcamp is a popular platform for music fans who are interested in finding new music and artists thanks to its focus on discovery.

The platform actively recommends music to users through its app, blog posts, and weekly podcast. However, Bandcamp does take a 15% cut of all sales you make through it, so it’s important to consider this when using the platform and pricing your music.

Pros Cons
A ready-made audience to purchase your music You’ll have to give the online store a cut of any money you make.
You can benefit from the stores wider marketing and promotional activity. Some online stores have specific requirements that you’ll need to be willing to align with.
Gives you more time to focus on creating your music. There’s a lot of competition on online music stores and you can easily get lost in the crowd.

#3. Sell On Music Download Sites

Music download sites allow users to select, pay for, and download music straight to their device, allowing them to listen to their chosen tunes whenever and wherever they want.

Usually, listeners will opt to buy and download music from sites that they know and trust – so major music retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube are always good places to start! iTunes, for example, is available in over 100 countries, and its ability to allow users to pay with a pre-saved account and card on file makes the process of downloading music easier.

Like most third parties, these major music download sites will take a cut of your income. However, this percentage is often counterbalanced by the large audience they can provide for your music.

iTunes homepage showing new releases
iTunes is one of the most popular and well-known places to sell music online.

Platforms such as iTunes also offer handy marketing features, such as the ability to offer pre-sales and instant gratification tracks. Music download sites allow users to instantly access your music, rather than having to rely on selling traditional physical copies, which are more expensive and labor intensive.

Pros Cons
Less work for you, the download website will market and promote your music. Competition is high on download sites.
A ready-made audience for your music. You’ll have to hand over a % of your earnings to your chosen download website.
Cheaper than producing and distributing your music yourself.

#4. Sell On Music Streaming Platforms

Music streaming subscriptions are growing fast. Streaming platforms are a great place for up-and-coming artists to gain momentum with fans who will then go on to buy their CDs, downloads, and merchandise in the future.

Whilst the amount that artists can make through streaming platforms is usually pretty small, the exposure they can offer new and up-and-coming artists is priceless.

Spotify is arguably the most popular streaming platform around, with over 356 million active monthly users. Just getting your music in front of a tiny percentage of that audience could transform your music career. Fellow streaming platform Apple Music may have been a little later to the party than Spotify, but – with over 60 million users – it’s quickly amassed an audience that you can’t afford to ignore.

Spotify dashboard showing Spotify playlists
Streaming your music on Spotify can be a great way of getting your music heard by a large audience.
Pros Cons
Easy to access for everyone, helping to boost sales and get your music in front of a wide audience. The streaming service will take a cut of any money you make.
Less work and cost requirements than producing and selling physical copies of your music. Streaming services that work on subscription models can mean you see almost no income, no matter how many times your music is streamed.
Most streaming platforms have marketing features you can make use of such as pre-sales and album showcases. There’s millions of songs streamed online, meaning you’ve got a lot of competition to get noticed.
You can access data surrounding listening habits and behavior.

#5. Use a Music Distributor

Using a music distributor makes getting your music in front of as many ears as possible considerably easier.

Distributors such as TuneCore or CD Baby will do all of the hard work for you. Upload your music to these sites, and they’ll distribute your tracks to all of the major download and streaming platforms worldwide, including iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify.

Using a music distributor not only makes your life easier, but also ensures that you’re covering all bases. Your music will feature on multiple platforms, too – ensuring potential listeners and fans can access it in their preferred way.

TuneCore homepage screenshot
TuneCore will distribute your music to all of the major streaming and download platforms worldwide.

There are various pros and cons to using a music distributor that you’ll need to balance out to decide if it’s the right option for you. Let’s take a look at TuneCore as an example:

Pros Cons
You keep all of the sales made There’s a fee to add new streaming or distribution outlets to your original order
In some instances, it offers money advances for future revenue projects. It’s purely focused on distribution, so you'll receive no marketing support
TuneCore provides physical distribution, as well as digital The costs of uploading, as well as initial sign-up fees and commission, mean it can wind up being expensive
Its administrative publishing arm will help you to track down songwriter royalties

Create a Marketing Plan

Once you’ve perfected your tracks and decided on the best way to sell your music online, you’ll need to start thinking about how you’ll drum up interest around your tunes. While platforms such as Spotify do provide some great marketing features, you’re still going to need your own marketing plan to get things off the ground.

Social Media

Social media is one of the very best ways to not only get your music out there, but also to build and communicate with your fan base, too.

Platforms such as Facebook, X, and Instagram can bring together lovers of your music, and enable you to share with them new releases, updates, and behind-the-scenes content that they can’t get anywhere else. Social media is also a great way to build your community, and keep them interested in between albums or shows.

For more tips on how to master your digital marketing strategy, head to our guide to the 11 digital marketing tips you need to know about.

Pre-Sales

Pre-sales can be a great way to help build a buzz ahead of releasing new music. By introducing limited pre-sales, you add exclusivity – which, in turn, will help increase demand. A pre-sale is also a great way of giving back to loyal followers by offering them the chance to hear and access your music before anyone else.

Events

Live gigs and events are crucial to the success of any musician. Once you’ve established and set up live events where you can showcase your talent, make sure to heavily promote them across social media and your wider digital marketing – it’ll help ensure the events sell out!

Online Publications

Getting the right people talking about your music can have a major impact on your success.

Just one good music journalist giving you a good review can result in hundreds, if not thousands, of sales. Against that backdrop, work to determine your target journalists and publications – the ones you’d most like to feature your music – and get in touch with them.

Best new music showing on Pitchfork
Pitchfork is one of the most popular and successful online music publications in the US.

Send them demos or copies of your latest music, along with some background info about yourself. Remember, they’re likely to be inundated with other artists getting in touch, so try to think about what you can do to help you stand out from the crowd.

Engage Your Fans

The fact is, your fans have the power to make or break your music career. Without them, there is no success.

Engaging with your fans from the very start of your journey is essential. By getting people interested from the start, you’ll be able to build deeper connections and relationships… which will lead to those all important streams and downloads!

Keep your fans engaged throughout the process, even when you don’t have any new music for them to download, by sharing behind the scenes content and exclusive video snippets of upcoming releases.

Remember, your online community of fans will not only buy your music but convince other people to do so too. By sharing your music, they’ll be opening you up to a larger audience so be sure to encourage online shares and conversations.

Music Sales Follow-Up

If you want to sell music online, the key is finding and nurturing long-term customers. What does that mean?

Put simply, you need to keep your fans within your ecosystem so that they’ll keep downloading and streaming your music. Your music isn’t a one-time purchase, you’ll ideally want people to keep coming back to buy your latest songs and albums.

Keep communication open with fans once they’ve made their initial purchase via email marketing and social media, and encourage them to make future purchases by offering incentives such as special offers or unique content.

Make Money Selling Music Online

Why do you want to sell your music online? To get it heard? To grow a community of fans? To make money? The answer is probably all of the above.

One of the main benefits to selling your music online is that, when done correctly, it can make you some money.

The key to making money online is to be realistic with your pricing. Nobody is going to pay $50 to download one single.

Alongside setting a realistic price point, there are various things you can do to encourage sales such as:

  • Utilize your email mailing list and social media followers
  • Experiment with different pricing models such as pay-what-you-want
  • Offer bundles and discounts to encourage sales
  • Launch subscriptions for new releases to create a more regular stream of income
  • Offer exclusive content, such as a single or video, for a monthly fee

Selling Music Online: Summary

Choosing to sell your music online can be a decision that transforms your music from a hobby to a career – if you do it right! With so many music-selling and streaming platforms available, it can be hard to know where to start. But we’ve now provided you the knowledge you need to help make selling music online easier.

To recap, when looking to sell music online the different methods to consider are:

  1. Sell on your own website
  2. Sell on online music stores
  3. Sell on music download sites
  4. Sell on music streaming platforms
  5. Use a music distributor

Once you’ve decided your method(s), you’ll need a great marketing plan if you want to get your music in front of the right ears and make money.

Give these tips a try and let us know you get on. Your success will be music to our ears!

FAQs

With online music downloads and streams more popular than ever, selling your music online can be a profitable business. Setting a reasonable price point is key but, in 2024, focusing on online sales is much more profitable than creating and selling physical albums.
Definitely not! There are various different ways you can sell music online, from having your own website to using a streaming service. For the best chance of success, we recommend using multiple methods to get your music in front of a larger audience.
To sell anything online, you need a customer base. There’s a misconception that people no longer purchase music thanks to streaming platforms and the rise in illegal downloads. This isn’t strictly accurate, and with users looking for more ethical and independent options across every aspect of life, buying music online is still as popular as ever.
Written by:
Black and white headshot of Lucy Nixon smiling at the camera
I’ve been a content writer for Website Builder Expert since 2021. Through almost a decade in the digital marketing industry, I’ve built up knowledge on everything from growing ecommerce businesses to building websites. I love breaking down tricky topics into digestible and engaging content for readers. Breaking down the jargon and uncovering the best platforms, tools, and strategies, I’m a meticulous researcher who’s committed to providing our readers with tips and advice that’s tried and tested.

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