Thanks to constant tech innovations, there are now a million ways for the independent artist to distribute music digitally. We’ve looked at services like Tunecore and CDBaby that will get your music to many of the major players in digital music sales. And now there are a bunch of ways for the artist to sell music directly from their websites, and enables fans to do the same, with little to no start-up costs. Awesome.
There’s a good introductory article on this topic by David Rose at Know The Music Biz’s Blog. He did a quick survey of his top 10 bands and found that many of them still don’t allow fans to buy mp3’s directly from their websites, myspace profiles, etc. His point being that this just makes it one step harder for people to become your fans. Sure they can go to iTunes, but you might lose some potential listeners that don’t want to bother loading iTunes, etc.
I’ve checked these out and listed below are some initial thoughts on each one, based on my own requirements as a musician with very limited resources and not a huge fanbase. Most artists aren’t really going to sell that many downloads, no matter how good the music is. So getting free technology is key to making direct music sales worthwhile.
Musicane is in beta, and their user interface could use some improvements. But the site’s simple and reasonably elegant layout is nice, as is the design of the embeddable mp3 store. They seem to have some big-name artists using Musicane, which may or may not mean something. Musicane takes 30% of sales, and you keep 70%. Paypal enabled.
- Musicane’s service is free to use
- You upload your tracks, copy the “Musicane” code and embed it in any web page you want.
- You can designate a commission percentage, and enable your listeners to embed your music on their webpages. This is a cool way to get them to participate in your success and maybe make some spare change in the process.
I spent a while creating a Musicane for my new EP, Bbelief, and the process took much longer than it should, based on some site bugs and user interface gaps…But I think it’s promising…
Don’t judge a book by its cover, but I usually do anyways. The layout and design of this tool just turns me off. They say that their embeddable mp3 seller can be skinned completely to match your custom site, but the custom Hookas I looked at still suffered from a generally tacky design. They made all the music sites look amateurish. And the company name, “Indie911,” seems geared towards hobbyists and tools.
Hooka does, however offer 80% of the sales revenue, taking only 20% for themselves.
Unlike the tools above, Easybe is not web-based software that just outputs a code for you to use. Easybe lets you run the whole operation yourself, and is essentially a php-based software solution that you implement and manage yourself. It has advanced features like email list management and tracking, and enables unlimited operations, theoretically.
Easybe requires $68 upfront for artists, and $168 for labels. Since I’m an indie artist and may not even sell $68 worth of music anytime soon from my website, this is not an option for me. If I start doing high volume sales, this would be cool, because it offers better marketing tools and, beyond the upfront fee, you keep all revenue for yourself. Nice. So if you sell thousands of tracks and don’t like sharing the pie, this could work for you.
Nimbit is kind of a hybrid of the above, because it offers both free and paid versions of the service, with some sophisticated and large volume tools to sell not only mp3 downloads, but merchandise and tickets.
- The free service enables you to embed your mp3s for sale on any webpages, and your fans can too.
- The company will even skin your Nimbit seller for you, for about $100.
- Nimbit can also get your tracks into iTunes, Rhapsody, and several other popular online distributors.
Nimbit’s service centers around the OMT, or Online Merch Table, where an artist can sell anything they wish. For the FREE service, you can sell digital downloads, and are limited to the default skin for your OMT. But the user interface is much more robust / thorough than Musicane’s, and seems much further along than Musicane. They offer a wider array of services, too. While I don’t love the look of the OMT (I wish it were smaller and not so high-tech looking), it works and seems to work well. I embedded it on my Bbelief page. When I installed the OMT app on my Facebook page yesterday, it said that there were 9 total users of that app. So, clearly these apps have not reached widespread use…
Nimbit mails checks to you, which seems old fashioned. It would be better if they had some Paypal and ACH transfers…
Are You Using Any of these MP3 webstores on Your Sites? Let Us Know in the Comments Section…