Whether you’re an up and coming indie artist, or have a new album almost ready, releasing a single is a great way to create some momentum around your music. A single can not only get your fans excited, but can be pitched to press, radio, or playlists to build some buzz.
Along with this, you should sell a single from your official website. With your own website, you control the experience completely. There are no ads or distractions, you can cultivate a story that goes hand-in-hand with your music, and your fans will have a way to support your career directly.
Anyone who gets to your website is interested in finding out more about you - so make it a priority to pitch your single and the story behind it.
Here’s how to prepare, release and sell a single from your music website.
1. Start preparing in advance
In the era of social media and short attention spans, releasing music regularly is a good strategy to work on building a fanbase. With this in mind, you’ll want to start off by doing some prep work to sell your single well in advance.
The first thing to do is choose which song to release. This may be a standalone single, or a track you’ll use to promote an upcoming album. If you have been working on an album or EP, you can solicit feedback to determine your best single. Or, if you’ve been working on creating singles for release one at a time, you’ll already have a good idea of which song you’ll release.
Next, create a pre-release strategy for your single, sketching out a timeline for release, promotion, and follow-up. Choose a launch date that gives you some time to prepare, and work backwards from there.
Write out some ideas of the content you'll create to help promote your single. Visual options always work well: you can talk about your album artwork, or take new photos inspired by the music. You can also focus on the song itself in a few ways: talk about your inspiration, your writing process, plus how and where it was recorded. If you have the means to create video snippets, prepare those as well.
The next step will be to get assets ready for promotion. Create an EPK for your music on your website, containing everything you’ll need to pitch your single for press and reviews. Your EPK should include a polished copy of your single, a write-up about the music, imagery, plus a video if you have one.
Prior to selling your single, set up a pre-order as a way to drive fans back to your website, making you a bit of money while building hype in advance. You can also collect email addresses on your website, giving you the best chance of keeping in touch with your fans throughout the process.
In this preparation stage, you can also start promoting your new music. As you create your content, make sure you’re adding everything to your artist website so it’s all in one place. Then send some teasers out on your social media channels and email newsletter in advance of the drop date.
If you set up a pre-save campaign for your single, note this in a news item, or in a call-to-action on your Homepage to increase pre-saves from your fans.
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2. Releasing your single
Once your release date arrives, you’ll want to be sure that your website is ready. Putting your music in multiple places will give your fans more chances to listen to it, and buy it.
If you’ve decided to put your single on distribution platforms, make sure you list these clearly on your website once the song is out. While streams don’t tend to put a lot of money in your pocket, there’s some value in music discovery on those platforms. To put your single to work, just be sure that your true fans know how to support you by purchasing it directly.
To do this, create a Smart links page on your website that contains your new song with artwork, the prices, plus options to stream on different platforms. Adding a dedicated page that highlights your single is a great short-term promotion that will help you pull your fans' focus where you want it to be.
To release your single, use your email newsletter and social channels to announce the release, sending them to your Smart links page. You can also add a news item on your website’s Homepage, making sure to include your artist name and the single name.
3. Selling a single online
Think of your website as a tool you can use to funnel all of the attention you create on social and streaming platforms. It’s the place where you can turn interested listeners into true fans, and selling singles regularly is a great way to do just that.
Once released, capitalize on the hype you’ve created by driving fans to your website to sell your single. There are a few places you’ll sell your single on your website: a Smart links , your Homepage, and your Music page.
Your Smart links page should be already set up and optimized to promote and sell your single online. You can set the price there, giving the option to buy your single right away.
To sell your single from your Homepage, create a call-to-action noting that your single is out and encouraging fans to listen and buy. This call-to-action can direct attention to your Smart links page, or to your Music page. You could also add a music player with your single directly to the content of your Homepage, near the top.
On your Music page, go into more depth about the single. Add it to a dedicated music player with options to purchase here. Your single artwork should be displayed, your track should play fully, and you can add details about the song on this page.
To sell your single, set a fixed price, or, allow your fans to pay what they want - some fans may go for the minimum, but some may offer more as a show of support, especially if they know that all music sales through your website are commission-free.
When selling your music online, it can be easy to lose your overall focus and become too sales-y, always pushing the track. Try to be genuine. If you feel strongly about your music, promote it creatively, then sell it, in an authentic way so that it will resonate with your fans.
4. Re-promote your song
By the time you’ve prepared, released, and sold your single, you may be ready to move on. But you’ll want to re-promote your single to give it new life and a jump in streams or sales before you move on to promoting other new music.
This could include sharing bits of new press, thanking a publication for coverage, thanking your fans for listening, and buying. You could also drop the price, or set the track as pay-what-you-want for just a day to create an incentive to buy it. You could also add your single to a bundle - related merch or a digital file might be a great way to make more sales.
Re-promoting your song should improve its traction, so you can take a look at your EPK again to add any quotes, reviews, or streaming numbers achieved since release. This will help you not only promote the full album later on, but will also show momentum to anyone looking at your EPK in the future for write-ups or to book shows.
Make sure to update your website regularly so that you can promote and sell your single directly from a space that is all about you. When you go to re-promote your single, your website should be optimized to make you money.
Artist: Sam Ares
Selling a single from your music website can take a lot of time, energy, and effort. But as music creators, it gives your fans a way to support you directly, commission-free, while also building momentum for your career.
Plus, selling a single can be a great exercise for any DIY musician to go through. See what worked for you (and be honest about what didn’t), and recalibrate your music marketing efforts with each release. You can make money with your music through your website, and selling a single is a great place to start.
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