Marketing and selling your music doesn’t come naturally to all artists, but setting up a store to sell your music, commission-free, is worthwhile for a few reasons. It helps to build your brand, and gives your fans a place to continually connect with you.
Plus, selling your music online can prove to be a great income stream once you invest some effort into it.
Here are 7 ways to sell more of your music (and make more money) online:
1. Sell music through your website
The best site to sell your music online is your own website. This is especially true for independent artists. In addition to establishing strong artist branding, your own music website shows that you’re a serious musician.
To increase music sales through your own website, set up a pre-order for your new release and talk about that in the days leading up to the launch date. You can also offer a pay-what-you-want pricing model, giving your fans the opportunity to support you with whatever contribution they prefer.
While selling music to make money may not be a huge income stream at first, the more effort you put into it, the better the results you’ll see. Selling your music commission-free through your website means that your fans' support goes straight to you (and not to distributors' fees!), so play up that angle when you promote your music.
2. Use a call-to-action
To amp up your efforts, choose a website template that features a prominent call-to-action. Use that to encourage your fans to play, pre-order, or purchase your latest music. This could be a new single, an EP, or an album. You can also sell related merch this way, promoting a new CD or vinyl release.
Be sure to plainly ask your visitors to buy your album, or EP, or single - and clearly lead them to your music page. This page doesn't necessarily have to feature new music. Focus on promoting and selling something specific, and change the action to something else once you’re ready to try a new strategy.
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3. Use Landing pages
If you’re serious about selling more music to make money online, Landing pages are a great tool for you to use. These help measure the success of your marketing campaigns. For best results, set up a Landing page with a specific target, such as an album pre-order. Make this the single focus of the page; there should be nothing else there to distract your audience. This approach increases the likelihood of them completing a purchase.
Once your pre-order campaign is over, measure your sales conversions to see if your promotional efforts were successful. You’ll be able to tell in the data how many users clicked through to your landing page, from where, and whether they completed a purchase.
This will help you determine where to focus your efforts in promotion, and whether you should develop a marketing budget the next time you set up a campaign, to help drive fans from a certain platform over to your website.
Even if you don’t have music coming out soon, sit down with a calendar and mark a few times throughout the year to focus on a music marketing campaign. You can make some money from your music this way, and also learn about your audience’s engagement to create a reliable marketing plan for your next release.
4. Offer creative options
If you’ve been working to establish a solid fanbase, you’ll want to offer some interesting options to help you make more money. If you’re not sure of the demographics of your true fans just yet, getting creative is a good way to see what your fans like.
Offer different merch options through your website, and consider bundling music and merch together for special offers. Take note of what gets purchased, and apply this information to your marketing efforts moving forward.
In addition to merch, be sure to offer plenty of music options for your fans. This could include sheet music, sample packs, and grouped singles. Drive fans to a dedicated music page that offers different file formats, and see what they purchase most.
Another option to consider is creating and selling download codes. These could be great to offer at a show where you’re playing your new single for the first time, for example.
5. Change your products regularly
Once you see what sells well, continue with that product strategy. Sample packs might work well for your fans. Or perhaps your fans are really interested in an album you made years ago and just re-released with merch that features the album artwork.
Be sure to create merchandise associated with your music (a T-shirt with your album cover, or a tote bag that showcases your lyrics) and rotate the products regularly. Keep seasonality in mind when you change up your products - offer a discount on a holiday album towards the end of the year, for example.
Product updates also give you something newsworthy to mention to your fans. Set up a release schedule that includes promotion on your social media channels and your email list. Timing is important; build hype and then follow up regularly to maintain momentum for your music sales.
6. Sell music in bundles
Music merch is a top seller, so take advantage of that by creating bundles that include your music. This could mean pairing a merch item with a digital download of an exclusive track, or an album or single.
Bundles that include multiple albums also offer additional value for your fans. You want to encourage them to buy your music as a meaningful way to support you, so be sure to put thought into your offering, and promote these items while you have the inventory in stock if selling physical formats (CD, vinyl).
Consider adding some surprising options that reflect your personality, or that reference your music. For example, pair branded hot sauce with an album, or offer custom guitar picks along with a new single release, or whatever you think your fans would really enjoy - the possibilities are endless!
7. Sell music in more than one place
Selling music through your website should be a central focus, but you should also consider all of the other places your fans might go to buy your music. Make a list of places you’d like to include your music for purchase. For example, you might want to place your music on Bandcamp, and add it to streaming platforms (Spotify, etc) as well, to be sure you’re taking advantage of the discovery potential those platforms provide.
Adding music videos to YouTube is good practice for broader discovery, too. Just be sure to add a link in the YouTube description that leads back to your website, where your music is available to download. Driving traffic there will help interested listeners engage further with your music. Encourage these fans to join your mailing list to get updates about your future releases - hopefully they’ll do this, and become deep fans.
Selling music online to make money is no easy task: it can require a lot of repetition, and continual adjustments to marketing efforts. But once you get started, you might be surprised to see how eager your fans are to support you, especially if you’re making purchases easy for them and offering great value for their money.
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