The old narrative of a “starving artist” has a new asterisk attached. With the advent of iTunes and other online music platforms, artists are in more control than they have ever been. Instead of pounding the pavement trying to make connections, musicians can now sell their music online directly to fans.
Forgoing the traditional record studio route also has some unintended benefits. Besides being rare, scoring a record deal comes with a whole lot of strings. Musicians that sign with record studios have all of their decisions made for them, from what songs to record, to what venues they will play. Independent musicians get to make all of those decisions.
Where to Sell?
If you are interested in going it alone, one of the best resources to selling your music online is a website called TuneCore.com. TuneCore is a digital music distributor that will help you get song(s) listed on all of the major music sites like iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, and iHeartRadio. They charge you $9.99 per song or $49.99 per album, but you get to keep all of the revenue generated through royalties. You also retain all the rights to your song(s) in case you decide you want to license the song or for some reason decide you no longer want to sell your music.
Once you’ve recorded the song and uploaded it, you’ll need to create artwork. One great website is Art4iTunes.com which will help you design your album cover for free.
The site is backed by some pretty big names like The Cure and The Nine Inch Nails which are encouraging their musically-talented fans to give it a try. The downside of going alone is that once your song is listed, it is up to you to market it and generate the sales. However, TuneCore does have a special page on iTunes dedicated to new artists and by using them as your distributor they will feature you on their page for free.
Another cool site I found was WeeklyIndie.com which kind of reminds me of a Groupon for musicians. Every week they pick 10 of their favorite songs submitted by independent musicians and send them out to their paid subscribers.
Weekly Indie will pay you a chunk of change for allow them to distribute your song, however the website notes that the process is very competitive. Every week there are thousands that enter, so you’ll want to make sure you are sending in your best stuff. This kind of distribution can really help to maximize exposure and can often be a launching pad to bigger and better things.
Good Luck Penny Hoarders!