Category: Selling Music

Get Your Music on iTunes and Spotify: Digital Distribution with ONErpm

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

When it comes to digitally distributing your music, there are options galore. From the heavyweights like CD Baby and The Orchard, to smaller companies like Mondotunes, you have options, and can pick the distribution company that is exactly right for you.

In this article we are going to take a look at ONErpm. ONEprm is a digital distribution service based in Brooklyn, NY, with offices in Brazil, and a new office opening in Nashville. They are an iTunes preferred partner, as well as one of the largest multi-channel networks on YouTube. They have quite a few options for independent musicians and labels that distribute through them, and we’re going to give you the run down of their most notable features.  Lets look at what your options are if you choose ONEprm as your digital distributor.

Pricing

ONEprm has 2 main pricing options. But a great feature of ONErpm is their free distribution service.

  • Premium Package-a one time fee of $40 per album, or $15 per single. With the Premium Package, they also take a 15% cut of royalties.
  • Arena Package– an annual fee of $30 per album, or $15 per single. You get to keep 100% of your royalties (besides Youtube, but we’ll get into that later).
  • Free Option– ONErpm also has a free distribution tier. This option will distribute your music to Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and more. If you choose the free option, you can still opt-in to other  stores, you just have to pay a small fee per store. Adding an album to iTunes is only $5, and since ONErpm is a preferred partner, your music could go live in less than 48 hours. This is a really cool option for a single that you only want to release in limited formats, or if you are using streaming services as a marketing tool instead of a distributor.

ONErpm Pricing

All major retailers are included in ONErpm’s digital distribution, although you will have to pay extra for ringtone stores and services like Shazam.

ONErpm Stores
Digital Distribution Options on ONErpm

ONErpm’s services will cover all your basic digital distribution needs, but ONErpm stands out with a few features that aren’t offered on other digital distribution platforms.

YouTube Certified

One of the major advantages of digitally distributing with ONErpm is their relationship with YouTube. Right now, YouTube is the number one music streaming service in the world, and their music infrastructure is only set to grow. ONErpm is a YouTube certified company, and they have one of the largest multi-channel networks in the world. A multi-channel network, or MCN, is simply a company that works with channel owners to effectively monetize their channel, provide digital rights management, funding, and audience management.

When you distribute your music through ONErpm, you have the option to distribute to YouTube. This doesn’t mean that your music automatically get uploaded onto a YouTube channel, it simply means that ONErpm  enters your music into YouTube’s ContentID. When your music is identified in YouTube’s system, you can manage how your music is being used. This means that when people use your songs in their videos, or even re-upload a video that you created, you can locate those videos, and either issue a take-down notice, or file a claim to receive revenue on that video.

ONErpm’s unique connection to YouTube can also help you get extra revenue from your own videos, since ONErpm works directly with advertisers to negotiate a higher ad rate for their channels. They will also help you optimize your YouTube channel for monetization.

ONErpm Youtube

Being a part of ONErpm’s MCN is free and open to any YouTube creator, even if you aren’t a musician, or don’t choose to distribute your music through ONErpm. A nice bonus if you live in the NYC area is that ONErpm has a video production studio that you have free access to as a member of their MCN.

A downside to ONErpm’s YouTube services is that ONErpm takes a 30% cut of all revenue generated from YouTube. However,  it may be worth it to let ONErpm handle your YouTube revenue if the money you gain from their higher ad prices equals out the 30% you pay them for managing your account.

If YouTube is an important part of your music, and you’re interested in joining an MCN, ONErpm might be the best distributing option for you. Neither Tunecore or CD Baby offer YouTube ContentID tracking, and they don’t have an MCN.

Marketing Resources

ONErpm also has several marketing options for artists. Their basic package includes social media management, verified profiles on streaming services, and email marketing. You can also upgrade to their specialized marketing services.

ONErpm Marketing

Much like CD Baby, fans can also go directly to your profile on ONErpm’s website and download music there. ONErpm has several pricing tiers, and lets you choose which one best fits you. In addition to setting your own prices for your downloads, you have the option to give away a free download in exchange for an email address. You can then download those emails and export them into whatever program you use to send email newsletters.

ONErpm also provides a free Facebook app that lets fans download music directly from your Facebook page. You can use this app to sell singles, full albums, or give away a download in exchange for an email. You can make this app the landing page for your band’s Facebook profile, and use “fan-gating” to ask users to like your page before they have the option to download your music.

ONErpm also gives you analytics, and monthly sales reports. You get paid through Paypal, and can withdraw funds whenever you like.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 2.23.46 PM

Your Choice

ONErpm’s digital distribution has some great benefits, and they offer a great deal of flexibility to artists in terms of services and price points. This personalization helps makes them a good choice for indie artists.

ONErpm might be the right distributor for you if:

  • You are interested in flexible pricing options, or free distribution to streaming services
  • You would like to sell your music directly on Facebook
  • You are interested in joining a YouTube MCN, and want someone to help you monetize your YouTube account.
  • You want your distributor to give you marketing support.

As you are looking for a digital distributor, keep your individual needs in mind. With so many companies offering similar services, make sure you find the company that best fits your needs as an artist.

Have you used ONErpm? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!


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How Much Does Pandora Pay Artists?

How Much Does Pandora Pay Artists?

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

It’s probably much less than you think. And if Pandora has its way, that paycheck is about to get even smaller.

Last week, Pandora was given approval to purchase KXMZ-FM, a terrestrial radio station in Rapid City, South Dakota. They are now under a 90-day trial period before the purchase becomes final. Currently, Pandora has millions of online subscribers who create customized stations based on their own music preferences, so their purchase of a small station in a city of 60,000 people may seem like a move backwards, but it’s a strategic move by Pandora to make more money.

Unfortunately, Pandora’s move to line their pockets means a significant pay cut for the artists and songwriters who make Pandora’s business possible.

How Artists Are Paid

The ways that radio and streaming services pay artists are a complicated mess of numbers and percentages, but it all boils down to this: terrestrial radio stations pay a lower rate than internet stations to play the same songs over the internet.

With Pandora’s current rate system, if you are the writer and performer of the song, you will make about $1.30 if your song is played 1000 times. Unless you are Katy Perry or Drake, you probably won’t even make enough money to buy yourself lunch. It would take years for the average independent musician to simply break even on the costs of producing and distributing their music with the payments that are currently made for streaming music.

With their purchase of KXMZ, Pandora will be eligible for the lower rate currently available for terrestrial radio stations. This means they will be paying about a half-million dollars less in royalties to songwriters every year. Pandora’s purchase of KXMZ is great news for Pandora’s stockholders, but no matter which way you look at it, it’s bad news for the artists, performers, and musicians who make business possible for Pandora.

What This Means For Musicians and the Music Industry

In the larger view of Pandora’s profits, the reduced royalty rate is a drop in the bucket. But even a drop makes a ripple in the bigger scheme of what is currently going on in the music industry. Pandora claims that they value the artists who make their company function, but according to the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Producers (ASCAP), their purchase of KXMZ is “a transparent ploy squarely aimed at paying songwriters even less for online music streams.”

It’s worth noting that Pandora is not the first company to take advantage of this lower rate. iHeartRadio works in the same way that Pandora does, but iHeartRadio is owned by Clear Channel, an industry giant in terrestrial radio. Because of this, iHeartRadio can take advantage of the lower streaming rates. Pandora’s purchase of an FM station levels the playing field between these two competitors, and it’s likely that other internet radio and streaming services will follow in Pandora’s footsteps.

Moreover, the government is looking at decisions like this as it revises copyright laws.

We are in a crossroads in the industry. The payment system for creators is broken, and no one is completely sure when it’s going to be fixed. Though you may think Pandora’s decisions won’t affect you, a company as large as Pandora actively working to compensate creators less is something that everyone in the music industry should be concerned about. And while this change may not have a huge effect on your individual paychecks, the implications of this decision are enormous.

What You Should—and Can—Do

So if you’ve realized that you’re not going to make a million dollars on Pandora, or even enough money to pay your rent, what do you do? Should you just take your music off all streaming platforms and cut your losses?

I think there is a better way. By simply changing your perspective on streaming services, there are ways that independent musicians can make platforms like Pandora work for them.

Instead of thinking about Pandora and Spotify as distribution services, think of them as marketing tools. Listeners use streaming services to discover new music, and you don’t want to cut yourself off from those potential fans. Put a couple of your best songs up—not your entire catalogue—and use it as a way for people to discover your music. Once your music has piqued their interest, they will likely search the internet to see what else you have available.

What Else You Can Do

You’re game for using streaming and online internet to market to new audiences… but how can you turn a casual streamer into a devoted fan? You have to engage them (on your turf) with good content.

Your website is the only place online where you have complete control over what a potential fan sees. Use that control!

Design a website that reflects your music and your brand and makes it easy for your fans to be connected with you. Keep it updated with relevant news and content. Offer a free single in exchange for their email address. Show them how they can become a patron of your music. (Haven’t heard of patronage? Sign up here for more info!) Above all, do not rely on social media and third-party retailers to keep in touch with your fans.

The music industry is changing. Pandora’s purchase of a terrestrial radio station is just a small battle in the grand scheme of an entire industry that is in the process of completely renewing itself. Independent musicians are the future of that industry. Now, more than ever, you have the opportunity to take control over your career. And that is good news.




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Understanding Music Copyright—Live Performances, Recordings, and Sales

Understanding Music Copyright—
Live Performances, Recordings, and Sales

By David Frazee - Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

written by: David Frazee

I know how important copyright is, and I know that it can also be completely confusing and overwhelming… so I’m breaking it down and going through it, bit by bit.

This is the second article in the Copyright series. If you missed the first article, please take a moment to go back and read it before continuing this one.


Performing Live

Let’s say you’ve got your first big gig coming up, and you need a set list to fill 90 minutes. You have a bunch of original content, but you also know that the cover song can really bring in a new crowd. There are a few songs you have in mind, but you’re worried about copyrights. How do you protect your songs, and how do you avoid trouble for doing cover songs?

If you have not given all of your public performance rights to someone else, you have the right to perform your own songs in public. However, because you are performing your songs in public, you should ensure that you have done everything you need to secure your rights to the song (such as filing with the copyright office).

If someone is asking to perform one of your songs, you may be wondering if there is a benefit to granting another artist performance rights. In short, yes. The benefits include the royalties you receive for the use of your musical composition and, of course, exposure of your music to more potential fans. If you have signed some of your musical composition rights to a publishing company, the publisher may have a right to some of your royalties.

If you want to perform a song someone else created, you will need a “public performance license.” There are two ways to obtain this license.

First, you could go to the copyright owner. Likely, the artist’s publishing company administers the licensing for the song, so you will need to find out who the publisher is and contact them to obtain performance rights. Contracts for performance rights negotiated directly with the publisher can vary in a number of ways, but it will be a non-exclusive right (meaning you do not own the song) and, unless agreed to otherwise, you will need to negotiate this right for every song and every performance.

The second, and easier, way is for the venue to go through a Performance Rights Organization (PRO). PROs work with restaurants, concert halls, nightclubs, hotels, and other venues to grant performance licenses. There are three main PROs that copyright owners use to track and issue licenses for performance rights: Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI); the American Society of Composers Authors (ASCAP); and Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC). Nearly 100% of recorded artists are registered with one of these organizations. Venues typically (but not always) receive a non-exclusive “blanket license,” which will allow performing artists to use any of the PRO’s songs. It is likely that the venue you are performing at has already obtained the proper license from the PRO and is responsible for making sure the royalties are paid. So, look online for which PRO administers the performance rights to the song you want to cover, and ask your venue if they have the rights from that PRO.

Lastly, and this is important: obtaining the rights to perform the music does not allow you to record your live performance of that song!

Creating Recordings

Speaking of recording… Let’s say you’ve been gigging a while and have developed a loyal fan base—so loyal that they keep asking if you have music they can buy and listen to when you aren’t playing gigs. (Awesome!)

Pumped, you start pulling together your best songs for a recording session. You’ve got eight or nine solid originals, but there are two cover songs you do that get the crowd up and dancing, every single time. You’d love to record those, too. Can you?

As far as songs you’ve created, you have the right to sing, record, and distribute your songs freely (unless, of course, you have given your rights away).

To record your song, you may have to give up some rights. Often, record label contracts will contain a clause that prevents you from recording other versions of your songs without the original label’s permission. The contract might also have you give up some or all of the sound recording rights to that final product. Read all contracts carefully, with a lawyer, before signing! While you may need to give up some or all of your sound recording rights, you should still own the rights to the underlying music.

If another artist wants to record your original songs, granting them recording rights can bring you exposure for your songs as well as royalties.

To legally record your version of songs someone else created, you need to obtain reproduction rights from the copyright owner. Specifically, you need a “mechanical license,” which gives you the rights to reproduce and distribute others’ songs on your own album.

You can obtain this license from the copyright owner through negotiations. Since it’s a complicated and time consuming process to track everyone who wants to use your songs, most copyright owners use the Harry Fox Agency to manage their mechanical licenses. This is a good place to start if you want to obtain a mechanical license.

All copyright owners are given the rights to “first use” of their songs, meaning they get the opportunity to release the first public version of the song. After the song has been published, anyone can obtain a “compulsory license” by providing notice to the copyright owner and following a specific process. This allows you to still legally record the song, even if you’re having trouble obtaining a mechanical license from the creator or original artist.

Please note that a mechanical license does not give you the right to post your version of the song on YouTube. We will get to this later.

Selling Copies

You’ve gotten your songs back from the recording studio—fully mastered and ready for release. You want to order physical albums to sell, since they have good profit margins and some of your fans like buying merch at shows (they’ve asked, repeatedly, if you have any CDs). You’re also interested in selling digital versions of the album and individual songs—including those cover songs.

Manufacturing and selling songs you’ve created incorporates your reproduction (copying) and distribution (selling) rights in both sound recording and the underlying music and lyrics. If you use a record label, you may have to give away some or all of your sound recording rights. In doing so, you likely give them the right to distribute and reproduce copies.

Also, by publishing your music to the public, others can now obtain a compulsory license to reproduce your music now. The benefit is of course the money you received in exchange for these rights.

Now, let’s talk about legally manufacturing and selling songs someone else created. As discussed above, you need a mechanical license to create and sell your new songs without infringing the copyright of the songs you covered. If you are working directly with the copyright owner, make sure you obtain the right to “distribute” the cover song; otherwise, you may have the right to use the musical composition in a new recording but cannot do anything with that recording.

As discussed previously, the easier method of selling your cover songs is to obtain a “compulsory license” by providing notice to the copyright owner and following the specific process laid out in statutes.

There is something else to consider: digital versus physical copies. These are two very different mediums, and the music industry rightfully makes a distinction. You can obtain the right to sell permanent copies in either medium by obtaining a mechanical license or a compulsory license, but having the right to one medium does not mean you have the right to the other. The Harry Fox Agency has two different forms; make sure you have obtained the right license!

There’s one more thing worth noting on mechanical licenses: they are for a set number of specific sales (for example: 1,000 CDs, or 10,000 downloads) and will need to be renewed for additional copies.

Next in the Copyright series: Streaming, Creating Music Videos, and Licensing Music. Be sure to check back and find out more!


Disclaimer: The above article is not legal advice; is it not intended to, nor can it, replace professional legal advice in any way. It is only intended to provide a short guide to basic legal terms and practices in the music industry. In your own interest, consult with a copyright attorney before entering into any contractual agreement or taking any action against copyright infringement.




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Talent Isn’t Enough To Make It In The Music Business

By Cliff Goldmacher - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Written by: Cliff Goldmacher

I’d like to begin this article by saying that I’m not a cynic. On the contrary, I’m a big believer that if your dream is to have success with your music, then, in time, you will find that success.

However, I am a realist.  There are rarely shortcuts in our line of work, and being a gifted songwriter or performer simply isn’t enough, in my experience, to guarantee success. It takes a combination of factors—including patience, perseverance, and, most importantly, an undeniable work ethic—to rise above the masses of musicians hoping to get their songs out in the world.

Here are four reasons that talent isn’t enough to make it:

1. There are lots of talented people

If I’ve learned anything after living in Nashville and New York City over the past almost twenty years, it’s that, at a certain point, talent is the least common denominator. In the big music cities, the pool of gifted songwriters and performers is deeper and wider than we can possibly imagine. This is a good thing; it gives us ample opportunities to learn from each other and improve. But the flip side of this is that talent is only a starting point; it’s all of the other things you do that will separate you from the pack.

2. Talent is Something that you’re given, but it’s up to you to develop it

There’s a reason talent is also referred to as a “gift.” The spark that makes us creative and intuitively wired is something that we don’t choose; we just get it. But just because you’ve got a gift doesn’t mean that you don’t need to develop it or spend time understanding it. That part is actually work, but what happens when you do this work is that you will develop the ability to turn something that was unpredictable into something you can do consistently in order to make a living.

3. You’re running a business

Being a talented songwriter or performer without taking the time to understand the music business is the equivalent of a company that makes a great product that no one will ever hear about because they have no marketing department. In other words, writing the songs is just the tip of the iceberg. You need to remember that, like any business, you’ve got to learn the landscape, know who the major players, are and set specific goals along the way in order to get to the next level. I’m not saying this is easy, but I am saying it’s essential.

4. work ethic is everything

The dangerous myth about the music business is that it’s an exciting, creative world where people make beautiful music, go to parties, and wake up one day to their song playing on the radio. The gritty, unglamorous truth is that just like any business. There are mundane, yet necessary, things you have to do day in and day out in order to get your music out in the world.

There is some glamor and excitement in the music world, but there’s a lot of uninspired work that needs to happen as well. Make sure you’re prepared to do that stuff, too. Having a solid work ethic and a willingness to get up every day and work towards your goal will eventually get you there. It’s not always clear along the way how these little things help, but believe me when I tell you that they do add up and, in the end, make all the difference.

Talent is a wonderful thing and should never be taken for granted. I’m here to remind you to enjoy your gift for the amazing thing that it is. However, I’m also suggesting that this talent is only one part of a bigger set of conditions that need to be met in order for you to successfully get your songs out in the world and make a living doing it.





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SongCast: Selling Your Music

Selling Your Music: SongCast

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

With digital music retailers often requiring the use of music distributors or music aggregators, these third party companies are becoming an almost-necessary element in an independent musician’s sales strategy. With many distributors to choose from, selecting the best option for you has never been easier (or harder, depending on how you look at it). In this article, we’ll cover SongCast, one of the digital music distribution options available.

What SongCast Offers

For starters, see if you recognize any of these music retailers: iTunes, Google Play, AmazonMP3, Rhapsody, Spotify, MediaNet, Emusic. SongCast partners with all of them. The service provides access to sales reports for each retail platform, including iTunes Daily Trending Data, to let you to see where your music is selling best.

With its Music Page feature, SongCast offers integration with social media. You can feature your music on your Facebook profile, add purchase buttons, build a mailing list, and post a calendar of upcoming shows.

SongCast’s Indie Artist Radio Network puts your music on multiple networks, including iTunes Radio. The Indie Radio App (for Facebook) allows subscribers to discover new artists, share their favorite tracks with friends, create playlists, and message the artist directly. Participating artists can see who is listening to them and where, which songs are being tagged on lists, and so much more. This service is in addition to the distribution service, and it costs $7.99 per track per month.

Making Money From SongCast

As a SongCast artist, you retain 100 percent of all royalties on digital music, as well as 35 percent on CDs sold through Amazon Disc-On-Demand.

SongCast’s Costs

SongCast charges monthly membership dues of $5.99. To add product for distribution, members pay a single up-front fee of either $9.99 per single or $19.99 per album.

Signing Up For SongCast

Signing up is easy, although a little preparation is required. SongCast will ask you for your album’s title and the titles of all the tracks on it. It will then prompt you to upload album cover art in the form of a 1400 x 1400 pixel JPG, PNG, or GIF file. Uploading the music is next. SongCast takes care of file conversion for you. With many retailers requiring different formats, this conversion service is a huge time-saver.

SongCast’s Customer Support

Customer/user support is solid. If you can’t find your answer in any one of the pages of tutorials, FAQ, or their knowledgebase, you can file a support ticket through the site. There’s even a separate address for inquiries you might have before creating an account.

So, the verdict? SongCast offers a hassle-free music distribution venue that won’t break the bank. Without worries, you can feel freer than ever to share with the world.




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Selling and Streaming Your Music with iTunes and iTunes Radio

iTunes and iTunes Radio: Selling and Streaming Your Music

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Making your band’s music available for purchase online—either in digital or physical form, through your website or on one of your various profiles—is an important step to take if you want to continue your music career.

If a fan really digs your sound, they will do whatever it takes to get your music—even if it means going to some odd site they’ve never heard of to access your music. However, casual listeners are another story; if they don’t find your music available on their preferred channels (like iTunes), they might not buy it at all. Being available on those preferred platforms can mean the difference between making a sale and losing a potential fan.

About iTunes

In case you haven’t heard of it (ha!), iTunes is the largest digital music store online. It set the standard for digital music distribution and is so far ahead of its competitors that “competitor” might be an overstatement. As iTunes is the most commonly looked-to place to purchase music, it should not be dismissed or regarded lightly.

In addition to music sales, iTunes also offers streaming music with iTunes Radio. We do not recommend listing all of your music on iTunes Radio, there are several issues with streaming music that make it difficult for indie musicians to succeed with these services. A sampling of your music might be a good idea. Check out our article on streaming music for more information. Users can create stations based on music they like or have downloaded, and iTunes fine tunes the stations based on future listening and download patterns. iTunes Radio also offers featured stations. Users can listen to iTunes Radio on their mobile device, computer, tablet, or Apple TV for free.

Putting Your Music on iTunes

There are two routes you can take to get your music listed on iTunes: you can work with an aggregator, or you can apply to list it yourself. A list of approved aggregators can be found here; there are pros about working with an aggregator, but there are also drawbacks (see below). If you want to avoid aggregators, you can apply to work directly with iTunes. The criteria, such as encoding houses and content requirements, are specific, so be sure you have everything lined up and ready to go before applying.

Profits

In terms of earning money from music sales, iTunes operates similar to other sites. For each song sold, you receive a percentage of the sale price. In theory, you should be making some profit from the streamed content; however, those details are not easily found on the iTunes website. You can make more money by selling your music on your own website, but iTunes offers a good place to go for fans who may not know where your site is, so do not ignore it. (For more information, see this article about iTunes on our site.)

Cost

There is no cost for listing your music on iTunes, although there may be fees assessed by the aggregator you choose. Instead, you pay iTunes by receiving a reduced portion of the sales price. When a song is sold, iTunes takes its percentage (usually around 25-30 percent). Then, the aggregator takes its percentage, and you get what’s left.

Ease of Use

While the math and forms and requirements for signing up yourself seem daunting, with a bit of research and reading they are very doable. Other than that, it takes patience; the process is not guaranteed to be quick.

Using an aggregator may or may not make the process easier.

Assistance

You can email Apple for help, and they have an extensive FAQ section. However, their phone tree is very complicated, and connecting with a person is difficult. Aggregators may or may not be easier to work with.

A Final Word

Choosing to put your music on iTunes is a big decision; it should not be made lightly or without thorough consideration. For additional information, please read our related article, Rethinking iTunes.




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Selling Your Music: MondoTunes

Selling Your Music: MondoTunes

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

If you’re new to online music distribution, you’ll sooner or later face the daunting task of having to choose the right music distributor. Because you have enough on your plate, here’s a basic rundown of one your options: MondoTunes.

What MondoTunes Offers

With claims of distribution to over 750 online stores, it’s certainly an impressive option. Their global distribution service uses Universal Music Group, the same company used by Rihanna, Lady Gaga, U2, and others. Additionally, MondoTunes has associations with Interscope Records, which helps major labels scout new talent. MondoTunes is the only distributor that provides an exclusive online marketing campaign for its artists. Licensing is also available.

Making Money From MondoTunes

As for profits, artists can expect to retain somewhere around 63 percent of sales. MondoTunes doesn’t take a dime, but their partners do. Nevertheless, that royalty rate still beats the ones offered by major labels.

Payments are issued monthly as long as net royalties are $50 or more. If royalties do not hit the $50 threshold, the amount is carried over to the following month. If these profit and payment policies seem a bit strict, it’s important to realize that the site is highly competitive.

How Much Does MondoTunes Cost?

There are no monthly or annual fees and no “per-store” listing fees. At $7.99 per single, $24.99 per EP, and $37.99 per album, Mondo’s pricing is pretty competitive.

Signing Up for MondoTunes

The site is fairly easy to navigate. On the home page, click the red “Join Us” button. Fill in a basic registration form (name, number, email, password) and prove you’re not a robot. You’ve created your account! The next step is uploading your final audio and artwork files. Under the option Distribution, click “Get Started”; select the services you want and how you want to get paid, then upload your artwork, song information, and content.

Getting Help with MondoTunes

MondoTunes’ customer support is also impressive. The company offers same-day email support as well as phone support, which is something of a rarity these days.

Music distribution shouldn’t be about choosing the lesser of two (or more) evils. It should be about finding a company that understands and meets your band’s needs. The fact that MondoTunes was put together by musicians can only help its case.

Have you worked with MondoTunes? How was your experience?




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CDs: Selling Your Music

Selling Your Music: CDs

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

When you first began playing music, you might not have spent much time focusing on selling merchandise. You were finding your niche, writing new songs, creating your set list, booking every show you could, building your fan base, and dreaming of recording. While those are all crucial elements to developing your band, at some point you need to consider merchandise.

Yes, you need to sell product, meaning both your music and other merchandise. Aside from trust funds, your day job, or crowdfunding, money from gigs and music/merchandise sales is what allows your band to move forward.

The question of what you should sell is a bit trickier to answer. Many bands today focus solely on digital distribution and downloads. While this might seem fine and dandy, it leaves out whole segments of your fans. You need a physical option, too.

Are CDs Still A Viable Option?

Despite changing technologies, CD sales are still a big thing. According to Nielsen Soundscan, sales of compact discs actually toppled the sale of downloaded albums in 2012. Musicians, especially small or local acts, consistently offer CDs for sale alongside shirts and pins. Perhaps CDs aren’t as dead as you thought.

Where To Sell Your CDs

One of your most profitable and immediate opportunities to sell CDs is at your live shows. Fans at shows are a captive audience; if they like what they just heard, they’re probably willing to support you. Selling CDs at gigs is the best way to hook new fans, cement longer-term fans, and keep people interested in what you’re doing.

You can also sell CDs online, either directly from your website or from a plethora of online distributors.

How To Market Your CDs

If you’re selling CDs at shows, think of your CDs as souvenirs: physical reminders of a wonderful experience.  Announce the product from the stage, and work the merch table yourself. Mingle with the fans, asking (humbly) if they have your CDs yet. Offer to sign the product. Bundle it with other merch, like t-shirts, to boost sales.

Generally speaking, though, you should market your CDs like collector items. Think about how some fans prize their record collections. Give your fans a similar experience. There’s a tangible element to CDs that downloaded albums fail to provide; your fans can hold it in their hand, read the liner notes, and stare at the pictures. They can keep it forever and needn’t worry about losing it to viruses or hard drive failures. Use this to your advantage by investing in great graphics, luxury packaging, and professionally created CDs. To drive up demand, you might release a limited or first edition that’s a higher quality or has a bonus track. Even with upgraded materials, CDs are relatively affordable to buy, and they offer a solid profit margin, too.

For the foreseeable future, selling CDs will continue to be a part of the music equation, and it’s a great way to help your band move forward. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Does your band still offer its music on CD? What marketing strategies have you found to help increase sales?




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Selling Your Music with Bandcamp

Selling Your Music: Bandcamp

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Coming up next on “Painfully Obvious Observations”: the digital age has transformed the music industry… It’s true, though. And, as the industry continues to transform, more and more artists are turning toward selling music online. One major destination for those artists is Bandcamp.

What Bandcamp Offers

Bandcamp makes it possible for artists to sell their music and other merchandise online. You’re able to control the pricing, sell digital and physical music, report sales to SoundScan, offer discount codes, sell on Facebook, gather fan/customer data, and much more.

Making Money From Bandcamp

Bandcamp is based around the philosophy that money should flow toward the artist. You set the prices on all of your merchandise, and the money goes directly to you (not third parties).

“Great,” we hear you say, “but how on earth do they stay in business?” The answer to that question is that Bandcamp takes a small share of your sales: 15% on music, 10% on merchandise. It’s a pretty good deal, compared to the 75 percent (or more, if you’re not Usher) that you’d have to hand over to a major label. To sweeten the deal, Bandcamp will drop their revenue share to 10 percent once you reach $5,000 in sales.

What Does Bandcamp Cost?

If it’s sounding pretty good so far, it stays that way. Basic artist accounts are free. If you want to upgrade to the pro account (which lets you use a custom domain name, upload in batches, and so on), that’s only $10 a month. Not a bad deal.

As far as paying royalties, the Bandcamp method is a little different than other sites. Instead of subtracting their percentage from each sale, Bandcamp sends the profits directly to your PayPal account and keeps a running balance of what you owe them. When the amount owed is equal to or greater than a sale, they will absorb the sale and deduct that amount from your balance. For example, say you’re selling CDs at $10 each and Bandcamp is taking a 10% cut. The first sale goes all to you, and your balance is $1. The second sale goes all to you, and your balance is $2. The cycle continues. With the tenth sale, your balance is $10, which is the same amount as the sale. Instead of this sale going to your account, Bandcamp collects the money and reduces your balance.

Create a Bandcamp Account

Opening an account as easy as it gets. On the homepage, select “Artist Signup” at the top; on the next page, click the big green button that says “Sign Up Now.” Enter your email address and a password, choose your genre from a dropdown box, and create a few genre tags help people discover you. You’ll be assigned your very own URL and you’re off and running, with complete freedom to sell your music and whatever merchandise you can slap your logo on.

Getting Help With Bandcamp

The help section on the site is chock-full of in-depth tutorials that should keep you informed and answer your questions. On the off chance that it doesn’t, there is an email form on the site for contacting support. Customer support is not reachable by phone.

Bottom line is, if you’re looking for a good place to call your home for online music sales, Bandcamp pretty much does everything but write the songs. Hey, we never said it was perfect.

Have you tried Bandcamp? What did you like about the site? If you used another site, what made you choose that over Bandcamp?




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ReverbNation and Your Music: Streaming and More

ReverbNation and Your Music: Streaming and More

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

If you’re a musician and haven’t heard of ReverbNation, then you have some research to do. Here’s a quick breakdown of what they offer:

What ReverbNation Offers

Of course, ReverbNation allows you to upload your music to be discovered, streamed, and shared by fans. It also offers:

  • newsletter templates to email fans
  • the option to create mobile app for your band
  • the option to turn your profile into a website
  • the option to sell music, either on the site or externally through digital distribution
  • the option to create press kits
  • networking with other musicians, promoters, venues, labels, and industry professionals

Profit From Your ReverbNation Account

To make money from your ReverbNation account, take advantage of their Digital Distribution opportunity. This helps you sell your music on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, ect. You also can sell your music right off of their streaming player by providing a link.

Cost

ReverbNation offers three account levels with distinct pricing options.

  • Basic (free): provides a page for fans to stream & download music; provides you with access to their gig finder*.
  • Pro ($19.95/mo): offers the same but adds music distribution options.
  • Max ($41.67/mo): offers the same but with more music distribution options.

Other services are offered a la carte. The Site Builder ($89.95/yr), which turns your profile into a website, and Digital Distribution ($34.95/yr) options are both available outside of the account packages. Adding these features to the basic account could be a great decision.

Setting Up Your Account

Begin by going to www.reverbnation.com, and click the button titled “sign up for free”. Create your profile using the guided set up process; be sure to include your name, genre, city/state, and so on. After you’ve entered your details, you can upload your songs and music. When you have finished your profile, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade your account if you wish.

Assistance

ReverbNation is easy for you and your fans to navigate, and the instructions for building a profile page are very clear. Should any questions arise, turn to their help page for a solution. They also have a support team available to answer any specific questions via email.

ReverbNation is a great website with a lot to offer artists, and at a reasonable cost. Check it out!

* As we stated in another article, ReverbNation requires that you use their Press Kit Builder ($5.95 per month) to submit booking requests.

Have you or your band used ReverbNation? How did you use it? Was it a good resource?




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