The way we find music has changed dramatically over the last couple of years.
Online streaming is the new radio. It’s now a huge, prestigious thing to be one of the top streamed artists on Spotify.
It was a big deal that Ed Sheeran beat out Drake as the most played artist on the platform in 2017.
Don’t get me wrong, FM and Sirius radio are still alive and kicking. I don’t think they’re going anywhere anytime soon.
But if you’re not investing time and effort into succeeding on Spotify and other streaming services, you’re hurting your chances.
So with that in mind, here are four things you can do today to get more plays on Spotify.
As DIY musicians, it’s important you and I keep up with what’s going on in the industry.
So as we welcome the new year, here are three important things happening in the music industry in 2018.
iTunes Is Removing Digital Music Downloads
As of 2016, iTunes started phasing out digital music downloads. And the plan is to finalize the whole process by 2019.
According to Digital Music News, there will be a “complete termination by 2019, shortly after the 2018 Christmas season.” And this is happening “as music downloads continue to collapse.”
You can use this guide to get you started: How To Sell Your Music Online (A Guide For Beginners).
Things Will Get Better For Songwriters
In a landmark deal, the songwriting industry and music streaming companies partnered to cut a deal with the federal government, reports The Tennessean.
Without getting too much into the legal jargon, here’s what the new deal means: streaming companies will now be able to easily license songs, while songwriters and publishers should see an increase in their own digital rates.
Here’s a little more detail on what the deal will lead to:
- “Songwriters and publishers could be identified more accurately and paid more promptly,” thanks to a soon-to-be mechanical digital rights organization run by music publishers and funded by streaming companies
- Boosted royalty rates for songwriters, thanks to rate courts being able to look at sound recording royalty rates as a factor when they set rates for songwriters and publishers
- More boosted royalty rates for songwriters, thanks to us being able to present as evidence for more royalties the sync licensing deals (our music in TV/film) we get.
- ASCAP and BMI can take their rate-setting disputes to any of the federal judges for the Southern District of New York, instead of being assigned to one federal judge
The DIY Music Train Will Keep Chugging — Hop On
Now is one of the best times to be a DIY musician.
Anyone can record music in their bedroom and make it sound professional (check out the Audio Recording category for more on that). It’s so easy and affordable to distribute your music worldwide.
If you’ve been on the fence about pursuing music as your passion, as your source of income, now is the best time to jump off that fence on the right side.
A young musician who started making electronic music emailed me with some questions about selling music online.
And after replying to him, I realized the info could help other DIY musicians new to the music sales game.
So below are the different ways you can sell and stream your music online.
What To Expect From This Guide
This guide is by no means an exhaustive list of every place you can sell music.
I’ll do a quick review with pros and cons of different websites I’ve used or have heard good things about.
This is a guide for beginners, after all.
The idea here is to get exposure for your music on the biggest music streaming/selling platforms out there.
So let’s take a look at a few options for selling and streaming your music online.
It’s simple — create an account for free, upload your songs, start selling directly to your fans, and collect up to 85% of sales (BC takes 15% from all digital music sales, 10% from merch sales — see here).
Plus, they’ve designed simple and cool customizable artist pages, and the embeddable players look great.
- Free to sign up and list your music
- Fair revenue share pricing
- Good looking design
- No compensation for song streams
I use CD Baby to get my music on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and a bunch of other digital music stores. The cost options are Free, Standard for $49, or Pro for $89 (see image above), then they take 9% commission from digital sales.
Plus, they have additional services, like song mastering, sync licensing, and they’ll even make physical CDs for you.
- Distribution to nearly every digital store
- One-time distribution fee
- They’ll make physical CDs or vinyl for you
- Mastering services
- To distribute your music, you need to buy a UPC (Universal Product Code) — an additional $5 for a single or $20 for an album
Tunecore and CD Baby essentially do the same thing — distribute your music to almost every digital music store. They also will press physical CDs for you, among other similar services. But there’s one big difference — the way Tunecore works is they charge an annual fee for each release.
So, for example, if I distribute three albums for $30 each, I’m paying $90 a year to keep them listed. If I don’t have $90 worth of digital sales per year, I’m losing money. However, to balance this, they don’t take any sales commission.
Years ago, I worked with Tunecore to distribute my music, but sadly I wasn’t selling enough music back then to break even. So I switched to CD Baby and have been with them ever since.
But it depends on your situation — Tunecore might be a great fit for you.
- Distribution to nearly every digital store
- You keep 100% of your sales commission
- They’ll make physical CDs for you
- Mastering services
- Annual fee per album and per single
Music licensing — allowing someone like a filmmaker to use your song in their video in exchange for a fee — can be a nice money-maker. You can earn anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars per song used, and you can often license the same song multiple times.
Want More Info?
If you’d like a super in-depth review of some of these websites and many others, I’d recommend checking out Ari Herstand’s review over on aristake.com. He did so much work on it. It’s a lot of info, but worth the read.
Also, you should pick up Herstand’s super helpful book How To Make It in the New Music Business. It’s thick like the Bible — it’s the DIY musician’s bible.
Hope this post helps!
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