HOW TO SELL MUSIC ONLINE IN 2024
Find below the best music marketing ideas and tips for artists, singers and bands in 2024. The best and most effective promotional strategies, tips and ideas to sell your music to the world.
Written by Mau, a Senior Digital Marketing Specialist and training facilitator at eDigital.
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HOW TO SELL MUSIC ONLINE SUCCESSFULLY IN 2024
Music moves and shapes culture, communities, and people of all ages and backgrounds. Forget racial protests, music is the antidote for real human connection and music artists have immense power and opportunity to not only entertain and get people together but also make a living from it.
Imagine this: Tyler Colon tried podcasting, modelling, and acting. But in 2019, after singing in his car for six months for an hour and a half every single day, he released “Stuck In The Middle” song on TikTok under his stage name, Tai Verdes. At the time, he was working at a Verizon store. Before he knew it, he was receiving calls from record labels. He then got a record deal, made a debut album, and he has already completed a 22-city tour across the U.S.A.
What’s more, TikTok users are responding to his song with their own videos, using features built into the app design. They might lip-sync it, make up a dance for it, try to sing it or play it with a crazy variety of instruments you have never imagined possible.
And if people like your song, woman! get ready!
They will go nuts and hashtag it everywhere.
This is the case with Gayle’s “ABCDEFU” song with 2+ billion hashtags on TikTok. Creating one of the most hashtagged songs in TikTok history, even far more than her artistic name hashtag #gayle.
SELLING YOUR MUSIC ONLINE IN 2024 – TOP IDEAS AND TIPS FOR ARTISTS, SINGERS AND BANDS
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HOW TO MARKET MUSIC TO THE WORLD
You created your song or a set of songs; now it’s time to launch them to the world. Getting your music on streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music typically happens in one of two ways:
- Label artists: Your label will handle the music delivery on your behalf to take care of your distribution needs.
- Independent artists: You will need a direct partnership with a streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music. They have preferred distributors with the tools and resources to get you started.
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THE ROLE OF A MUSIC DISTRIBUTOR IN PROMOTING YOUR MUSIC AND MANAGING COPYRIGHTS AND REVENUE
Distributors facilitate an efficient exchange of content, data, and payments between streaming services, download stores, and the millions of musicians who use those services to promote their music to fans.
Distributors make it easier for musicians to navigate some complex issues of the music industry, so they can focus their energy on producing amazing songs.
- Licensing and distribution
- Music metadata delivery
- Recorded royalties payment and collection
- Advocate on your behalf with streaming services to address a problem and ensure your content always looks and sounds great.
Some distributors offer services such as:
- publishing and performance rights management
- promotional services
- lyrics delivery
- metadata translation
- music videos and/or concert film delivery
If you think these additional considerations will be important for your growth as a music artist, be sure to find the right music distributor for your needs.
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SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR MUSIC
Social media is the favourite place to discover and follow artists and learn about upcoming concerts and shows.
While live music events connect people in the physical world, much of the experience surrounding the show happens digitally. According to a 2020 Facebook and Kantar research report, the vast majority (85%) of US gig participants discover these music events online, and 63% say they like to find out more about upcoming music gigs that they might be interested in attending via social media.
Almost half (49%) of US concertgoers discover shows on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp, making Facebook platforms* the top source of digital discovery.
Most popular channels to find upcoming music concerts:
- social media (49%)
- ticketing websites (31%)
- search engines (31%)
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More live music fans turn to social media because they can connect with fellow fans as well as their favourite artists and stay informed about the latest music artist news and tours.
Amongst those who discover concerts on social media, 59% say that content from friends and family is how they typically hear about shows they might want to attend. Additionally, more than half (53%) of US music listeners follow artists on Facebook or Instagram to learn about upcoming live performances, and more than a third (35%) do so to feel like part of the musician’s community.
Fans also turn to Facebook platforms to share their concert experiences with others, both during and after performances. Amongst weekly platform users, 54% of concertgoers post pictures or videos from concerts on Facebook, and nearly one in three watches Instagram Stories about live music.
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THE BEST WAYS AND CHANNELS TO SELL MUSIC ONLINE
1. SELL YOUR MUSIC AS AN NFT
OpenSea.io, Royal.io and Sound.xyz websites let musicians create NFTs and other digital objects musicians can sell. Think of the NFT as scarce digital album art that also gives you other perks, like behind-the-scenes access in Discord or other kinds of membership features. Music NFT’s on Sound.xyz are selling for around $10k. Musicians keep most of the profit.
NFTs are a new way for creative people to go directly to their audience and bypass those algorithmic advertising-driven feeds (Spotify, etc). Thus far, the results are really promising, and we are going to see a lot of new ways in which musicians monetise.
2. SELL YOUR MUSIC ON TIKTOK
There are three opportunities to sell your music on TikTok.
TITOK’S SOUNDON. Sell your music to TikTok’s partners (TikTok and Resso) and global streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Deezer, Joox, Pandora, and Spotify. You can choose which stores you’d like to sell your music to. Get 100% royalty for Bytedance platforms (TikTok and Resso) and receive 100% royalty for off-Bytedance platforms during the first year, and 90% in the years after. No hidden transaction fee or subscription fee will be charged. By distributing with SoundOn, you get to retain all rights and royalties, meaning you’ll own your masters and receive 100% royalties from all DSPs. By signing with SoundOn, you get to release music to TikTok and CapCut worldwide, and Resso in Brazil, Indonesia, and India. You can also opt into distributing to global platforms to make your music available to all major digital streaming services worldwide.
TIKTOK’S ELEVATE PROGRAM. TikTok’s Elevate is an emerging artists’ program to solidify its position as the “destination for music discovery”. The Elevate program will identify the next wave of emerging stars, providing them with meaningful support both in-app and out in the world to build careers beyond a single trending hit. Elevate’s first six participants have already been selected: CHINCHILLA, Sam Barber, Omar Courtz, Isabel La Rosa, Kali, and LU KALA will share new content and updates on upcoming music releases and offer viewers an intimate look at the evolution of their music careers. That content will be available on TikTok and through the platform’s @musicontiktok accounts, while live performances will be filmed in the artists’ hometowns as part of a TikTok original series. The first edition of Elevate won’t wrap until October 2023, but TikTok is already planning to include both signed and unsigned artists in future cohorts. In the meantime, musicians can promote their latest tracks via the app’s “new release” feature—and hope that TikTok will take notice in time for the launch of its burgeoning TikTok Music streaming service.
TIKTOK MUSIC. TikTok Music is a new kind of music service that combines the power of music discovery on TikTok with a music streaming service offering millions of tracks from thousands of artists. TikTok Music is now (Jully 2023) in beta testing in Australia, Mexico and Singapore almost two weeks after TikTok debuted the music streaming service in Brazil and Indonesia. TikTok Music lets you listen to full versions of viral TikTok songs, access lyrics in real-time, create collaborative playlists with friends, discover personalised music recommendations, import your music library and find songs via a lyrics search feature. TikTok Music features a Shazam-like functionality and also lets you download songs for offline listening. Plus, the service includes social features: users can express themselves through comments and connect with other music fans.
TikTok is already a popular tool for discovering music and can lead to songs rising in popularity after they’re used in viral videos and trends. By offering users a way to listen to and discover music, the company is directly competing with the likes of Spotify, Apple and Amazon.
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3. SELL YOUR MUSIC THROUGH YOUTUBE
YouTube Music is the world’s largest and most comprehensive music platform with 70+ million official tracks and 2+ billion people using YouTube to listen to music each month.
Some great insights for musicians and singers are:
- Watch time on TV screens of recorded live music performances on YouTube jumped more than 100% globally between July 2019 and July 2020. All over the world, people are finding ways to replace the experience of a live concert by getting together for live concerts right in their living rooms.
- YouTube Music allows bands and artists to tap into global audiences. K-pop has taken the world by storm, with artists like BTS and BLACKPINK topping the music charts and breaking records.
- Hip-Hop continues to dominate the top charts and show its universal appeal. In Q2 2020, hip-hop commanded a 48% share of all Billboard Hot 100 top 10 songs, ahead of pop music’s 30% take. First Nations 17-year-old rapper The Kid LAROI from Sydney, for one, has taken the world by storm. Last year his debut album opened at #3 on ARIA’s album chart and reached #8 on the USA’s Billboard 200 — the biggest result since Iggy Azalea. On YouTube, views of his music videos like without you have reached over 15 million.
- The best way to tap into the most popular music artists on YouTube is through the YouTube Top 100
- Marketers – who want to target Gen Z audiences – have realised music is a top passion for this segment. Marketers like to partner with popular music artists on YouTube. Musicians can earn money from brand partnerships such as creators like Addison Rae who creates videos featuring trends influenced by social media. For example, clothing company American Eagle leveraged the Top 100 ranking list to identify the most popular music artists and trending music moments to engage its audience. This strategy led to an increase in branded search and a lift in product interest, according to Youtube.
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In March 2023, YouTube Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen announced Analytics for Artists, a new product that will track viewership across multiple video formats. This means music artists on YouTube gain access to a snapshot of the size of an artist’s audience on YouTube. YouTube’s Analytics for Artists tracks the rising number of Shorts that include popular music. Musicians will be able to analyse their Shorts while keeping an eye on Shorts uploaded by fans who use their music.
In her announcement blog post, Cohen mentioned artists like Oliver Tree and Selena Gomez, who have promoted new music by uploading auxiliary videos on Shorts. One of the biggest short-form music success stories is Miley Cyrus. The American female pop music icon a the top of the charts for multiple consecutive weeks after her song ‘Flowers’ became a viral smash, appearing in more than 600k YouTube Shorts videos.
Do you own copyrights when uploading your music to YouTube?
Supposedly yes but the reality may tell you a different story. Grammy-winning composer Maria Schneider is alleging that YouTube had denied ‘ordinary’ copyright owners like her full access to Content ID, thereby exposing her works to repeat infringement. The now highly-publicized courtroom battle began in July 2020.
4. PROMOTE YOUR FIRST TRACK ON SPOTIFY
Do you have your first track ready or release upcoming on Spotify?
With Spotify Audio Ads, you can take your music marketing to the next level. If you are having trouble finding an audience for your music, Spotify Audio ads can help you by targeting your specific niche and playing your music in the form of thirty-second previews to thousands of users on Spotify.
5. CONSIDER APPLE MUSIC
Since Apple launched the iTunes Store in 2003, they have helped millions of music artists and songwriters make a living from music. Creators do not have to pay for features on Apple Music and payments vary by subscription plan and country or region but averaged $0.01 for Apple Music individual paid plans. This includes label and publisher royalties.
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6. SUBMIT YOUR SONG OR ALBUM TO SONGCAST
Independent music artists can use SongCast to distribute their music to Pandora Tidal, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play and more. SongCast offers a low monthly membership fee, as well as a one-time setup fee per single or album. All you need to do is register an account, fill out the information associated with your song/album, upload your cover artwork and the tracks you want on your album, and then submit. That’s it.
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7. SELL YOUR MUSIC TRACKS ON BANDCAMP
Music fans have paid artists $700+ million using Bandcamp. The Bandcamp app pays artists every time a track has been listened to. Key features include:
- Total artist Control and flexibility. Charge whatever price for your music and change it whenever you like. Sell for a fixed price, specify a minimum and let fans pay more if they want (and yes, they do pay more, a whopping 50% of the time) or give your music away in exchange for an email address. You retain complete control over your fan information.
8. SELL MUSIC SUBSCRIPTIONS ON PATREON/OFTV/CAMEO
You can use some of the best and most popular online platforms for musicians to bring new fans and monetise them. Patreon takes commission between 5-12%, OFTV takes 20% while Cameo takes 25%
One of our Digital Marketing specialists at eDigital can create, manage and optimise your digital marketing campaigns so you can reach the right audience for your music. Please contact us to find out more.
9. SELL YOUR SONGS ON ANGHAMI APP
The Anghami app recreates the record store or lounge experience, where users can share the music they loved with friends. Based in Abu Dhabi, the Anghami app is one of the most popular music apps in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It has 70 million registered users ( inc 1.4 million paying users) and nearly 60 million songs in its library in 2021. It’s also set to be the first Arab tech startup to go public on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange. Anghami’s evolution is a case study of how the global music industry is being slowly transformed from outside its core centres of New York, Los Angeles and London.
Anghami app offers 60+ million songs to music fans mainly in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Anghami estimates just 1% of songs in global music libraries are in Arabic but they account for over 50% of the songs streamed on Anghami every day.
Anghami is expanding the Arabic-language music repertoire by working with local labels and artists to help discover talent, with initiatives like Anghami Originals and Anghami Labs and also with the millions of diaspora around the world who are trying to reconnect with their roots through music.
Note: In the Middle East, music piracy is big, however, musicians can still find indie labels, including Rotana Records, the region’s biggest, and Sout El Hob Records in Egypt.
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BandLab, the Singapore-based app that lets users create and share music, announced today it has raised a $65 million Series B, at a post-money valuation of $315 million. The investment round was led by Vulcan Capital, with participation from Prosus, Caldecott Music Group and K3 Ventures.
The company says that over 40 million creators currently use BandLab. The app’s tools for creating music include a Mix Editor, royalty-free sounds, Mastering and SongStarter, or royalty-free compositions. Co-founder and CEO Meng Ru Kuok told TechCrunch that the new funding will be used on hiring, developing new features and “prioritizing new ways to benefit from the creator economy for artists and rights holders.”
BandLab is part of the digital division of Caldecott Music Group (CMG), which is also known for its acquisitions. It once owned half of Rolling Stone, which it exited in 2019, before acquiring stakes in NME and Uncut. NME and Uncut are now part of CMG’s media division, NME Networks. Most recently, BandLab acquired the musician discovery platform ReverbNation.
Several of ReverbNation’s features have already been integrated into BandLab, including Crowd Review, which lets musicians gauge how audiences feel about their music before it is released, and Promote Your Track, for developing ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and music websites.
When asked about the possibility of future acquisitions, Kuok said the company sees “some extremely interesting opportunities in the market,” but none that they can disclose right now.
10. GET MONEY FROM FANS USING TIPJAR
Tip Jar creator: BandLab does not take a single cent. With Tip Jar you can get money (tips) from fans and supporters. If you are not familiar with BandLab, check it out as it also offers great tools to create music online such as royalty-free loops and samples, online audio mastering and SongStarter, an AI-powered idea generator to inspire new music.
UNDERSTAND HOW GLOBAL AND LOCAL MUSIC APPS WORK
In the past, big labels spent much of their energy pushing Western hits onto emerging markets. Now the tide has shifted as there is a massive shift for local music apps promoting local musicians.
Payment challenges in developing markets where credit cards and international payment services may still not be widely available is still a challenge.
Boomplay, a music service that has been particularly successful in sub-Saharan Africa, has benefited from being the default service on Chinese-made Transsion phones, the most popular handsets in the region. Boomplay is a joint creation of Chinese tech players Transsion and NetEase.
The growth of digital music sales globally is the result of a confluence of factors, including the explosion of digitised local music, relatively cheap smartphones, and improved access to the internet.
In India, reduced data costs quickly are enabling digital services to sign up many more music fans.
According to Midia, in developing markets, pricing subscription services is still a challenge as the average revenue per user (ARPU) in developing markets is three to five times smaller than in the U.S. and Europe.
Spotify, which is the global market leader, has rolled out in 99 countries in the last two years. The company’s head of new markets, Niklas Lundberg, says it has to take into account the “share of wallet” of local consumers before it sets prices in each market. Subscribers on Spotify India pay between $1.63 and $2.00 per month, compared with $9.99 in the U.S. or $13.77 in the U.K. Indian rival JioSaavn charges $1.35 for its pro service. Anghami charges $4.99 a month for its premium service in most of the region but just $2.49 in Egypt.
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MUSIC STREAMING VENDORS’ PARTNERSHIPS
Pandora’s parent company (SiriusXM) recently partnered with SoundCloud to launch a show on its Hip-Hop Nation channel. It’s no surprise that SiriusXM is joining forces with SoundCloud across its properties, as the company invested $75 million in SoundCloud last year. SiriusXM is looking to attract more younger listeners across its offerings with its various partnerships with SoundCloud. Additionally, SiriusXM recently launched a TikTok Radio channel, which features TikTok creators as channel hosts, in another push to capture a younger audience.
OTHER OPTIONS TO MONETISE YOUR MUSIC AND SONGS
- Amazon Music
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GET YOUR MUSIC FANS TO PAY FOR LIVE INSTAGRAM OR YOUTUBE BADGES
Launched in November 2021, Instagram live badges is a feature aimed at helping music artists make money on Instagram.
Badges are monetary tips that viewers can contribute during an Instagram Live broadcast. The concept of “badges” plays off a popular feature within Twitch and TikTok, which allows followers to “tip” a broadcaster during a live stream.
Music artists can generate income from their live Instagram or YouTube gigs as viewers can purchase a badge during a live video that will stand out in the comments and unlock additional features, including placement on a creator’s list of badge holders and access to a special heart.
Instagram live badges are a way for followers to show their support to you – while also becoming “VIP” members of your Instagram fan base.
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PARTICIPATE IN TIKTOK’S LIVE-STREAMED SINGING CONTESTS
Do you have what it takes?
#GimmeTheMic is TikTok’s official talent showcase across America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. You can participate by submitting your videos with the #GimmeTheMic hashtag. More info here.
Selling music online offers numerous advantages for artists, listeners, and the music industry as a whole. It expands global reach, provides multiple revenue streams, offers valuable data insights, and empowers independent musicians, contributing to a more accessible and thriving music landscape.
eDigital can help you conceptualise, plan, develop, run and optimise successful marketing campaigns that generate leads and sales for your brand.
The services we offer include:
- Strategic planning for social media and other digital marketing channels.
- Online advertising management and optimisation (Search, Display, social media ads and re-marketing).
- Marketing training: social media training and digital marketing training.
- SEO strategy and execution. Including content development (articles, stories, eye-catching and SEO-optimised visuals).
- Celebrity and influencer marketing campaign strategy.
- Brand development. Logo creation, brand personality development and design of marketing materials.
- Consumer contests/competitions/giveaways.
- Email marketing. Dip sequence design and deployment.
- Conversion rate optimisation. Also called “path to purchase” optimisation.
Contact us today and start boosting your leads and sales.
Final note: Want to reduce customer acquisition costs and dependency on paid media? eDigital‘s marketing strategy training will unmercifully review your marketing campaigns and help you build a marketing engine with channels and assets you own. The training will stir your team’s thinking, bring new ideas for new conversion paths and boost customer lifetime value.
THE BEST TIPS FOR SELLING MUSIC ONLINE
Mau is one of the most popular marketing consultants and facilitator of eDigital‘s best marketing strategy training and best social media training. Mau‘s popular Digital Marketing Plan and Social Media Plan templates are used by top marketers.