Selling digital music online: Platforms, tips, and strategies

Once upon a time, pursuing music was the stuff of pipe dreams. Moving to L.A. to hit it big, signing a record deal, and maybe—with lottery-ticket odds—striking it big as a pop star.

But is that necessary anymore? Today’s digital music environment has a major benefit for artists of any type: you can find distribution just about anywhere.

Do you make Norwegian death metal? If you have a willing customer in New Zealand, you can sell them your album with a click.

However, one challenge remains. You’ll still need to find where the music lovers are, even if there are over 82 million people paying for music streaming services. Here are some tips for cutting out the middleman and selling your music online:

How to sell music online

People used to move to the big city to land a record deal for one reason: there was nowhere else to go.

You couldn’t record and print your own vinyl album or CD, after all.

But music has changed. Only 9% of all music sold in 2022 came in the form of physical albums. These days, vinyl and CDs are collector’s items—with the bulk of music coming in streaming form:

Graph showing paid music streaming subscriptions over time

That means you can reach your dream—you just need to decide where your digital home will be. Here are a few common options:

  • Bandcamp
  • Soundcloud
  • Spotify
  • Airbit
  • BeatStars
  • YouTube
  • Your own website

Your key decision: to platform or not to platform?

If you sell music on your own website, you won’t have to pay exorbitant fees. But if you use a platform like Bandcamp (which charges 15% on your sales) or Soundcloud, you’ll get additional exposure and distribution. 

You can also try a hybrid approach: build on a platform with the ultimate goal of developing a following that’s 100% yours.

Build your online music presence

A musician doesn’t always need a full website. But if you’re worried about how big a bite the platforms can take out of your income, you could consider a third option, like using landing pages to sell your music online.

Doing so means you can also build an email list and communicate with your audience as you make new sales. New album to drop? Imagine how much more engagement it will get when you can send it to every fan who’s come your way.

In the case of AWeber, there’s even a feature called “auto newsletter.” This automatically triggers if you tie it to an RSS feed, and will instantly tell your audience about a new song release (no legwork required.)

Once you have the systems in place—and enough followers watching for new releases—you can distribute your own music and make sales with just a few clicks. 

No record company contract required.

Takeaways for selling music online in the digital age

Selling music online requires more than a few clicks of work, of course.

You’ll have to put the systems in place and attract a following if you want to make serious money.

But that doesn’t mean the process has to be complicated. Let’s look at some of the takeaways and tactics you can start incorporating right away:

1 – Add music to an existing landing page 

Whenever someone lands on your website, you want them to get a sample of the goods. 

This entices them to stick around. If they like what you have to offer, they’re more likely to sign up for updates. 

So add music to an existing landing page by using our tool at AWeber, and you’ll create a far more enticing web presence for potential fans.

2 – Consider selling music courses 

Going from zero followers to a famous, successful digital artist isn’t an easy journey. But it doesn’t mean you have to take a part-time job outside of the biz to supplement your income, either. 

You can sell online music courses to pay the bills while you’re recording your albums and singles—all while keeping your skills sharp.

And there’s more good news: you can use AWeber to sign people up for your newsletter. This means that as you build up a following for your useful music tips, you’re simultaneously building a potential audience for your next release.

3 – Connect your newsletter community to music-relevant apps 

Connecting the email service provider you use with music-relevant apps means you can easily link up your favorite high-exposure music platforms to capture potential fans (and possibly drive sales, too.) 

For example, the AWeber integration allows you to connect your newsletter to platforms like BeatStars, Gumroad, Sellfy, Evenium, or Airbit so you can easily get your music (and tickets to shows!) in front of newsletter subscribers. 

Making headway in the industry—without a contract

When you build your own digital presence, you don’t need a record contract to make money from music. The days of shipping CDs out or signing with music labels have had their heyday, but now artists own more of their original work.

Are you ready to start building an audience for your latest release, or begin earning money thanks to a passion for music? Start your own version of a record label by adding your music to an AWeber landing page, capture more of your audience, and start turning your music into your income.