As I’ve been watching the big record labels crumble and the music industry evolve, I’ve become more and more intrigued by the ease with which independent musicians (and big name artists like Radiohead and NIN) are taking matters into their own hands. Record music without the use of a professional studio? Easy. Promote your work on social networking and music discovery sites? No problem. The next question in my mind is: what are the best places to sell your music online? Thus, I’ve compiled a list of sites to do just that. I’m sure it is by no means complete, so feel free to let me know who I’ve missed. In no particular order:
CD Baby – I first heard of CD Baby years ago when my childhood friend and accomplished musician, Mike Stocksdale, let his friends know that his album was available for purchase through them. The “little online record store that sells albums by independent musicians” has been around for a decade and, according to New Music Ideas, has become “one of the biggest digital distributors on the planet.” As you can see on their about page, artists make $6-$12 per album and get paid weekly.
Amie Street – If you weren’t already familiar with Amie Street, you may have seen them mentioned in conjunction with the Eliot Spitzer scandal. Ashley Alexandra Dupré not only posted a few of her songs on her MySpace, but also adroitly thought to post them on Amie Street where “all songs start free and rise in price the more they are purchased.” Predictably, a bunch of people – being the victims of morbid curiosity that we silly humans are – bought the songs, which subsequently rose to the $.98 max. The company gives 70% of song sales back to the artists.
MixPal – Though I only recently discovered (and briefly blogged about) this service, it’s probably one of my favorites. The idea of being able to set your own price, keep most of the proceeds, be paid immediately though PayPal, and even place a MixLink on any other website makes their approach a very attractive one.
BlastMyMusic – Another site that is all about fans supporting the artists directly, BlastMyMusic lets you buy singles OR albums on the artist’s profile on the site or through the “Music Blaster” on the artist’s website(s). Yes, the Music Blaster is also a facebook app – one where “fans can earn 5% for each song they sell and at the same time help gain further exposure for their favorite bands” to boot! Though artists only get 65% of the profit using BlastMyMusic, the widgetized aspect is pretty sweet.
Stage.FM – Formerly known as Audiri and based on the old mp3.com model, Stage.FM allows you to search for music using a tag cloud and tends to emphasize free music. In a great concise review of the site, New Music Ideas notes that while still a bit buggy, the site is great because: “Stage.FM lets artists sell tracks through the site and keep 100% of the sale price. Artists can set the price for each track, from $0.20 to $1.60, or let visitors download it for free. Money from sales is transferred to the artist’s PayPal account every month. And the Stage.FM music player widget lets artists sell their tracks from their own domain and social networks too.” I also like the “find bands near you” feature.
There are far too many services out there to make a comprehensive list, but if your favorite is not listed above, feel free to leave a comment and name your preferred service – with a link to your profile of course!
Also, stay tuned for some revolutionary new ways to sell your music online (piecemeal, for example) through MixMatchMusic, coming soon to a computer near you.