How To Sell Your Music On iTunes

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on May 25, 2011

How Do You Sell Your Own Music On iTunes?

How Do You Sell Your Own Music On iTunes?

To think that once upon a time the dream of every musician was to have his own CD on the racks of record stores all over the country… now, his aim is to have it featured on iTunes. Yet, how many stop to think of what would it take to make it happen before doing anything? How many understand how it really works? I hope the text below answers that, and gives anybody something of a direction when thinking about selling his own music through iTunes.

The first thing to realize is that you are not going to work directly with Apple – the requirements for doing that rule most people out (IE, you must have 20 albums in your catalog – that is more than bands like The Who put out in their actual time together). No, what you are going to do is to work with Apple through an aggregator such as TuneCore or CDBaby. These are companies that work with Apple in order to ensure that the content which is featured on iTunes meet its actual quality standards, and they also take care of marketing/promotional duties.

In the case of the two that have just been mentioned (TuneCore and CDBaby – they are easily the two most popular aggregators around), you retain the rights to your music, and you also retain more than 90 % of the royalties for every sale (TuneCore actually lets you retain 100 % of every transaction). Aggregators also let you sell your music on other stores and services such as Amazon MP3, Spotify, MySpace Music, Zune, Rhapsody, Nokia, Amazon On Demand and (in the vast majority of cases) you are also allowed to market your music physically, and have it sold on record stores.

Most aggregators also make you pay a cancellation fee if you decide to take your music off. For example, TuneCore charges you $ 20 for taking your album down before six months have elapsed.

Once you have picked an aggregator, it’s time to upload your songs and the art that goes with these. Upload songs as WAV files, and set them at a 44.1 kHz sample rate, 16 bit sample size with the channel set to stereo. And as far as the cover art is concerned, upload square JPG images (1,000 by 1,000 pixels will do fine). The aggregator you have chosen will pair the music with the artwork, and after a short period of time (it changes from aggregator to aggregator – it can take as much as 72 hours) your music will go live for people to buy.

As you can see, this is nowhere as hard as it was to print CDs on your own, and convince record store managers to stock them. It is all a matter of picking the right aggregator. And be on the lookout for special promotions – currently, CDBaby offers 50% off of its album submission fee to artists who  pick the service over its competitors.

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