You’ve been interested in making music, learning how to produce music, or even been making some of your own for a while, and you want to develop what you’ve been doing into some form of business.
In other words, you want to know how to sell your music online.
Well in this post we’ll take at some of the best ways to do that.
And while you’ll find that it won’t be a “get rich quick” scheme for you, with a some awareness and dedication, you’ll be turning your hobby or passion into something that bring some financial rewards, however great or small you may want that to be.
Other helpful articles:
- Music Production Courses Online
- Career Choices in Music Production
- Starting Your Own Music Publishing Company
- Where to Find A Music Producer Online
Everyone deserves turning the things that they enjoy doing into a means of earning. It doesn’t mean you have to become a full-time music producer or musician to make an income from selling your music on the internet, but it is worthwhile to find the business models that exist that you can establish for yourself.
Luckily, the internet is full of ways to sell, license, or offer your music for use that will bring you income passively over time.
I hope you’re excited about the opportunities involved for you. So let’s look at a few ways, and then discuss which is right for you.
How to Sell Your Music Online, and Make Money
Who Is This Info For?
This post is for people who are musicians, or producers, who have a love of making music, and want to know how they can make money from it.
Why Do You Need To Read This?
The music industry is going through a change, where the old model of major label production and release is being shifted to newer models. Artists and producers now are becoming more and more independent and self-reliant, thanks to some of the resources listed below.
In addition to that, there are various avenues opening up where you can express your talent or passion in novel ways — ways which would not have existed under the past paradigm.
One of the big trends that is causing a positive change in the industry is subscription services. That is, people are having access to an unlimited supply of music for a monthly subscription, and if your music is a part of that, you get to earn from your music being a part of that huge catalog.
Many platforms exist in which your music can be marketed to those who are seeking a supply of music, for which the services will pay the musicians and producer for their contribution to the online catalog. However, you first need to make your music available on one of these catalogs for the purpose of distribution and sale.
Many platforms exist in which your music can be marketed to those who are seeking, for which, the services will pay the musicians and producer for their contribution to their online catalog. However, you first need to make your music available on one of these catalogs for the purpose of distribution and sale.
Another thing is the use of music and sound in video and games. As YouTube is becoming more and more the standard place for more and more content creators to share their ideas, and therefore to earn, these people are looking for sounds and music to add to their content, which will drive income to you.
Understanding the opportunities which exist will place you in a better position where your music is concerned with potential buyers and users, whether they are individuals for listening and enjoyment, or media companies or content makers needing music for their content. The earlier you get yourself educated, the better.
What we’ll be covering in this post
We’ll talk about all the various models that exist that are known of, some of which I have used, so that you can make an income from your music.
These models are:
- Selling your music on the internet through online stores, streaming services, such as iTunes and Spotify.
- Earning from selling music to artists and producers
- Earning music from YouTube
- Earning from getting your music placed on TV shows and commercials
- Going solo – Selling your music through a website
1 – Sell Your Music online through iTunes, Amazon Music, and Other Online Stores
This is perhaps the first thing people think of when they think of “selling music online”. To do this, you’d need to find a distribution service online that will distribute your music to the various online stores, such as iTunes and Amazon Music.
For TuneCore and CD Baby, you receive 100% of your sales revenue (or royalties), with the ability to distribute your music easily and quickly to all the music online stores and streaming services. They both have options to share your music online and to receive more coverage.
With all the services, however, you keep all of your rights. You don’t have to get into complicated deals with a label over who owns what. You own your music, and you sell it through these services.
The major difference between CD Baby, TuneCore, and Octiive is that, with CD Baby, you have the option to design and create actual physical copies of your CDs. You can order them to you to distribute yourself, or you can sell them online through CD Baby. If physical CDs are important to you, then CD Baby is your option. With TuneCore you have the ability to utilize their in-house publishing administration (more on what music publishing is here). Finally, with Octiive, while you only receive 92% of the royalties, you do get the option to “pay-as-you-go” per album or single. This means you pay once, and your music will never come down from the stores, whereas with the other subscription based options, once you stop paying, or cancel your subscription, your music comes down, and it stops making money.
All options give you the option for not just earning money from online sales, but also from money earned if your music happens to be shared on other platforms, such as TV, Radio, and other services. This is a good all-around option for those who are simply interested in selling their music. A good option for singer-songwriters.
There are other alternatives as well besides these, but these options offer a good variation of what exists, and whichever model might be right for you.
Side-note: Read how to start a music publishing company, as you’ll find that, as a sing-songwriter producing and making commercial releases of your own music, you’ll want to make sure you’re collecting all your royalties.
2 – Sell Your Beats and Instrumentals Online
This is the option for those not looking to go the route of releasing music onto online stores through the options above. There may be reasons why you don’t want to sell through iTunes. Maybe your the type of producer who’s not as much a singer-songwriter, but a “composer”. That is to say, you’d rather your music be sold for its use value aside from entertainment value.
In that case, you fall into the category of a beatmaker or composer of instrumentals.
What do I mean by beatmaker? Usually, the term is designated for hip-hop and trap, but we also mean pop, alternative, house, etc. Essentially, a “beat” is any kind of musical instrumental for a vocalist to sing on. There are several vocalists who want music, but for some reason or the other, cannot or do not want to create the music themselves. Hence, they search online for beats to buy, and your music could be the one that is bought so that they can record themselves and then sell and distribute the final product online.
There are several options in this category for a beatmaker. The favorite options are Beatstars, AIRBIT, Beat Brokerz, and Rocbattle. Some more searching online would yield further results. Many people have found success this way. My personal favorite examples are Taz Taylor, Rhapsodist Beats, OGE Beats, and Shine Beats. If you make beats, you can copy their business model and begin earning.
If you notice something, they all have their own website which features their music and music store from the store options I mentioned above. Having a website helps to bring more success to your music.
As mentioned in the post on how to be a music producer it is important to understand the business side of things, and make sure you have that covered. The stores mentioned above will take care of your legal details, which protects your musical interests, and ensures you get paid for fair use of your creation.
3 – Make Money Online from YouTube with Your Music
If you sell your music on TuneCore or CD Baby, you automatically have options to monetize music from YouTube. The same is so for the beat selling services. However, you can also join Audiam.com, which monitors YouTube and other sites for use of your music.
There are many content makers on YouTube these days. Content makers want to add sounds to their videos to enhance their audiences’ experience. This is natural. YouTube content creators usually turn one out of a few options:
- They use the music that YouTube has offered for their use for free
- They use music from an artist that has released their music through a label, or through TuneCore or CDBaby, hence, ads are placed on their content which will draw money to the owners of the music
- They use public domain music
- They use royalty free music
The last option is what should interest you if options 1 or 2 mentioned above (releasing your music to streaming and online stores, or beats and instrumentals for singers and vocalists to buy) are not for you.
What royalty free means is that you will not be collecting any royalties from your music. Your income comes from the sales of the music, solely, within a limited use. That use is defined as either used in a certain number of videos, or for a certain project. This is called a commercial license.
The person that buys that license then has the right to earn from the use of your music on a project they are working on. This agreement means there is no conflict of interest between who gets what sort of money. This is a great way to go, especially if you become popular, and content makers, who don’t want to get a strike from YouTube or another monitoring platform, and want to freely utilize music in their content. Your music will always be sold, over time, because there will always be people in need of this kind of music. And the best thing is, you can continue to own the rights to your music.
4 – Earn Points from TV, Film, and Commercial Placements
You can earn income from getting their music onto TV, film, radio, and commercials. This is similar to what was mentioned previously, however, with this option you can collect royalties for their use through those mediums.
Currently, the only option I see that is available at this moment is Getty Music.
5 – Sell Your Music Through a Website
This option gives you the greatest potential for flexibility. However, you would need to make a few considerations. You’d have to take care of your own collection of royalties if you are intending to collect for use of your music in videos or other mediums. Joining a service such as Audiam will assist with that, a good option for singers and songwriters.
It makes sense also that you start a music publishing company to take care of your royalty collection. It’s pretty simple to start, once you follow the correct steps.
For producers, jingle writers, beat makers, and composers, you can consider the same option as above. If you plan on going the royalty-free route, then it’s not advised to join a collection agency such as Audiam, as this conflicts with your business model. Your website will simply be a store which sells multiple times over the license to use music you’ve made.
As mentioned above, if you consider yourself a musical artist, and you’re interested in sharing your unique talent, message, and flare, then the option to release your music through TuneCore or CD Baby, or a similar service, is the best option for you. Another option is through your own online store on your own website.
However, If you’re more interested in composition, and in earning income from the composition of your beats for use by others, your options are:
- to sell to other artists and producers through beat stores
- to sell multiple royalty-free licenses to content makers and media organizations
- to sell licenses that will earn you royalties for media placements, such as TV, radio, film, commercials, etc.
With this option, you may also create your own online store on your own website, as you have less competition to deal with if people can come directly to your site to find music, usually through a google search.
There are many ways to earn money from selling your music on the internet. Your creations do not need to be sitting on your hard drive with nowhere to go and for no use. Chances are, the music that you’ve been making or have made has the potential to earn you money for some time to come. And it just takes a few simple steps to sign up for a program, upload your music, and begin earning.
Naturally, of course, do not forget to share your work and achievements online, in social media, and on your website. Join forums, get involved. Share your passion with the world. You’ll find that learning how to make money selling music online is also an adventure that is just as fun as making the music itself!