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« MusicThinkTank.com Weekly Recap: How To Make Your Music Career Highly Profitable & More | Main | How To Make Your Music Career Highly Profitable And Sustainable »
Thursday
Sep132012

How To Sell Your Music On iTunes - The Important Facts Some Leave Out

Hey guys, this is a follow up to my guide on how to sell your music on iTunes and Amazon MP3. In that guide I looked firstly at the process of digitally distributing your music online, and secondly at what you need to do once your music is on there. This second point I don’t think I looked at in enough detail however, so want to talk more about it today.

 

While getting your songs and albums on to these big online stores is a good feeling in itself, if you want to actually makes sales of your music, getting your music on iTunes is only a small part of what you need to do. Let me explain.

What iTunes And Other Online Music Stores Don’t Do

While getting your music on one of the world’s biggest online music stores is definitely something you will want to do, there is something many musicians fail to realize:

 

iTunes is a platform to sell your music, NOT a marketing tool.

 

What I mean by this, is it will serve one purpose: Provide a way for people to buy your music. What it does not generally do however, is help expose your music so more people will buy it.

 

While they do have their own charts and the odd promotion that can help give artists exposure, they don’t do anything for the average person who sells their music on this platform. Unfortunately, if you’re just starting out and aren’t selling a bucket load of songs already, you will fall into this category.

 

As with selling on any other platform, if you really want to make sales, you first need to get people aware and interested in your music. If you don’t do this, it won’t matter where you’re selling your digital downloads. It could be on iTunes, your own website, or some other corner of the internet; YOU WON’T MAKE SALES!

 

Unless you’re willing to promote your music and sales page to people, there’s no point putting your music up to sell in the first place. With that in mind, let’s look at how to get more exposure on iTunes.

How To Get More Exposure On iTunes

One of the best ways to get more targeted people visiting and interested in your iTunes sales page, is to link to it from your own website. This can either be within your shop page, or a link in your sidebar. If you haven’t already got a website, you can check out our step by step guide to building a website here.

 

You should make it clear that it’s a link to your iTunes or shop page, so people that go on to click through know exactly what to expect. While you could trick people and just say ‘click here’, a lot of people that do click won’t be interested in buying from you. They may even get frustrated with your unclear navigation and leave your site.

 

Once your link is on your website, the next step is to promote your music and yourself as a brand. This will be in the form of gigs, Youtube videos, and any other methods you can think of or that are already working for you.

 

Any time you can, direct these people that hear about you to your website. You can do this at gigs by mentioning a free gift people can get by visiting your site (Mention this a couple of times during the gig and also at the end so all the details stays in their heads). You can also do this via your Youtube videos by adding a clickable link within the video, and also within the video’s description.

 

You will get people coming back to your site, and learning about you as an artist. Some people will go on to click on your iTunes and shop page, others won’t. Those that do though, will often be more likely to buy than if you were to send them directly to iTunes at the beginning. This is because they haven’t been sent cold to your sales page, and all this time they’ve been learning more about you.

 

They may have heard about you at a gig, went on your website and liked what they’ve seen, then intentionally went on your iTunes page knowing there will be something there to buy. By this point, you know they are interested in what you offer, and will likely buy a song if what they see on your iTunes page is of interest to them.

 

Those that don’t click over to your iTunes page however, may still do something else that will benefit you. They may sign up to your mailing list which will allow you to keep in contact and continue to ‘sell’ the idea of yourself to them, or they may look at enough of your pages to gain some interest in you. This could lead to repeat visits to your website, and the opportunity to sell them songs or merchandise in the future.

 

If however they went straight to your iTunes page and they didn’t want to buy, you wouldn’t have the opportunity to get them on your list or to get them more knowledgeable about you as an artist. This will mean you retain less of your potential fans in the long run.

 

While you may get fewer people landing on your iTunes page in the first place, those that do will be of a much higher quality and much closer to the buying stage. Because of this, you will most likely make more sales instead of people landing on it and bouncing straight off again. This is ideally what you want.

Conclusion

Getting your music on iTunes isn’t a magic formula that will allow you to sell more songs. It’s a platform to sell your music on like any other, although admittedly one that people trust and often use with their ‘i’ related devices.

 

It’s important to get your music on iTunes, but if you want to sell those songs, you need to promote that page yourself.

 

Want to learn more about promoting your music both online and offline? Then join over 200 others and check out my online music business course now.

Reader Comments (14)

You can sell your music on itunes with ADEDistribution at http://www.aded.us

At least they build EZ share buttons to make it a lot easier to sell your music by promoting it across the various social networks

September 15 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Corman

Hello Bruce from Music Think Tank, I do follow most of you blog post, I read to involve myself with the process of reading anything containing Music and how the business has changed, and what has to be done now, catches my eyes. I am a new artist from Brooklyn, what a time to get involved in music. Music has always been my dream and passion, however, I take notes both written and mental, still it is so hard to understand and with much determination to get to do the right thing, seem as endless to infinity. I know the music business is at a junction when change is evolving, and an artist could be driven in different directions. Self determination, is what an artist must have, so let me say where I am, no sales two years since uploading tracts. I have music streaming on Jango, with over one hundred "Fans, but without any one leaving their Emails, Band Camp on tracts, and I am on iTunes and not to mention links every where on Social Net works where I could put them. Not even speaking of the monies paid at every juke joint nothing yet to show. The music is in the stores, the price is right, where is the beef?

October 6 | Unregistered CommenterZilla Montoute

I think we need to change our way of thinking regarding where we look for revenue from our music. It's a new day, people have unlimited access to music now. They have cellphones with unlimited data plans that allow them to access the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They get Internet access anywhere they get cellphone coverage. If you're album is streaming online, be it on your website or a sites like Bandcamp or Soundcloud, there's no reason to buy. There's no NEED! People can just bookmark it and comeback to it whenever they want to hear it.

While unlimited access to music eliminates incentive to buy it also results in people listening more. What the artists community needs to do is adapt and begin to monetize the listening experience. I wrote a whole article on it and did a Youtube video about it. I hear a lot of fellow artists complain about Spotify but I see potential there. I see potential in Rdio and their affiliate program. I see potential in Youtube's revenue sharing partner program. Read my article "Free Music Streaming: Monetizing The Listening Experience" Let's start brainstorming on sustainable ways to generate income in accordance with the direction our industry is heading.

October 9 | Unregistered Commenteriamthegif

Itunes is a great website idea but it is true that it is not a marketing tool, it's just a market place.

October 11 | Unregistered CommenterDave simmonds

Thanks for this article, Shaun!

It's important for artists to remember that distribution in itself is not promotion. Promotion is a necessary part of making sales.

October 27 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Wiebe

Hi Shaun

Thanks for the article. One thing which is important to keep in mind when you are selling your music on iTunes is that the iTunes store is segmented into Country-specific storefronts.

Because an international customer can only purchase through their home store using a valid credit card with a billing address in that country, when you post a link on your web site or on your social media, it is best practice to redirect each customer to your product in the correct iTunes store using the correct product ID for them (and via the correct affiliate network), or risk them seeing an error message when they click through from your country specific link.

A point to remember: You lose 50% of your audience with every click that someone has to make when trying to buy something. It is in your interest to make it as easy as possible for the customer to purchase.

Great article! As a musician I know the struggles of not getting your music out there but also how to promote it. I tried some of the more popular online distributors and have had the most success with Mondo Tunes. Not only do they have the largest amount of retail partners but also have a marketing campaign you can sign up for. Mondo Tunes team helps you promote your music with press releases and more. I've found it very helpful!

October 16 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

As a digital distributor I am hardly objective here, but I do think that there are a few pitfalls worth pointing out. What the artist needs from a distributor is wide reaching, fast distribution and royalty collection of mechanical royalties with an understandable pricetag. Some of the bigger distributors are not always completely upfront about what they will end up charging. Offers of $9.99 are dangled and more often than not this turns out to be less than the complete picture.

Also as seasoned artists will know, collection societies like ASCAP/SESAC/TONO etc. will handle the copyright side of royalty collection for them extremely effectively and free of charge. In spite of this artists are bombarded with offers to collect performance and copyright monies for a fee by certain big distributors looking to get more money from the artist. This strikes me as slightly less than honest.

Finally the artist is offered "promotion" services for a fee. Anyone who has been in the music business for more than a week knows full well that promotion is complex and expensive, and as your article points out iTunes does not promote you, it sells you. Spotify can be used as a promo tool, but it takes hours of work. So my two cents for artists is; read up and ask questions before paying for services you may not need or that may not deliver as promised.

Cheers

David G
IndiGoBoom Digital
http://indigoboom.com/

December 10 | Unregistered CommenterDavid G

Very useful and encouraging. More posts of this kind will be much appreciated

May 25 | Unregistered CommenterNaturalny

Promoting your music seems as hard or more difficult than actually making the songs .That's what my experience has been like . If you have supportive fans, family that could at least RATE/WRITE REVIEWS on Itunes, that would help . For some reason, people dont want to take 5 minutes of thier time to do it . They act like you're asking them for money or something . And I agree that if your entire songs are on streaming sites, people probably won't buy them . Also, there's ways people can record your music streams . I feel like i can't win right now.

June 3 | Unregistered CommenterAmorales

As this it can be quite difficult getting your songs online. Using aggregates and partnership companies is the best way to get your song into iTunes, Google Play, Beats Music, Amazon MP3, Spotify, X Box Music etc contact them direct and inquire about doing so. This is who i use to get my tracks online: http://www.hyphonmusicgroup.com/digital-distribution/

June 10 | Unregistered CommenterRamon

My music is on itunes, amazonmp3, etc. There's no great way of marketing. I have business cards and people just don't want to go and download your music. I even have free downloads on one website and they don't want to go there. I've advertised my songs and album on all the social networks. Not much happening. I'm on a lot of music websites, I've advertised there. It isn't that my songs aren't good, it's just the way this music business is now. I'm not a performing artist and I don't have a band. I'm a lyricist and have had studios do amazing songs for my lyrics.

I haven't given up on using my business cards or advertising on online; one or which is radioariplay.com. However, the music business has to change a bit more for me to make money.
Also, people don't want to pay for downloads. They can get songs for free.
Pretty soon, itunes may be forced to just go away. Let them think of a way for us to make money for them as well as for us. Sylvia

June 23 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia

I can recommend AMAdea Music to everyone that want to sell his music on the digital stores. They offer free distribution without any set-up or annual fees and give 90% of the sales back to the artist. So it's only 10% of your sales that you are paying and you get everything else (barcode, isrc) for free. They do also offer custom selection of stores and great support. I'm really glad I found them.

September 19 | Unregistered CommenterTomas

I am considering using Itunes to sell my music but I wondered... I am the writer and I used studio vocalists to perform the song in the studio. How will that work? Do I list them as the artist but since they were paid for services they should not get any money from the sale.... I can't list myself as the artist since I did not perform the song.... is this a valid platform for writers who get their songs produced in the studio.

November 9 | Unregistered CommenterDebra Charles

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