I remember the days when you had to be hand selected to get your music into itunes and now literally anyone can pay to be distributed to the major digital sales platforms. It’s not special anymore. What I’m getting at is, what are the odds of someone finding your music on any of the major digital sites and making a random purchase to you, whom they never heard of? The odds are unlikely. Why do so many indie artists feel they need to sell on itunes etc.. for their music to be official? Doesn’t it make sense to say if you have a true fan, that they would want to buy directly from the artist? Yes it does. None of those major distributors are doing anything to promote your releases on their site, unless of course its paid, you are signed and the label is paying for promo slots, or you are popular enough to reach high sales rankings. In the event you are selling high units, the worst decision you can make is give the larger cut to a corporation that does nothing.
It makes no sense for an independent artist to sell any other way than direct. Trust me, I’ve been writing and releasing records for almost 20 yrs. and the one thing I’ve learned is that true fans are willing to give you their hard earned cash for your musical products over a share to corporate companies. You have no real way of tracking online sales through itunes, amazon, rhapsody etc. To this day I still sell more records and downloads through touring and mailing list interaction than any other way. directly through my dot com I offer direct digital sales and before I had this logical epiphany, I thought itunes was the way to go. I’m not saying avoid other outlets completely, as any residual sales are helpful, but unless these companies are doing something to promote my releases from the sales commission they take, why should you bother? The answer is, you shouldn’t.
Some suggestions to promote and sell your releases direct to fan are provided here:
millions and millions of people use paypal.com. If you are an independent artist, it’s wise to set up an account. Artists who are unaware about this, aren’t ready to distribute your work yet.
Bandcamp.com- allowers users to purchase digital and hard copies of your work in almost any format. slick easy to use and highly trackable data. Everything you need in simple form is here.
Reverbnation.com- Has viral and highly useful web marketing tools and widgets to increase revenue and manage your fans. Their interface is very detailed and not for beginners, but offers incredible incentives, like revenue sharing from their advertisers, special opportunities, industry advice, amazing web store with direct purchase interface.