Selling your music online is one thing, but being a success online with your music is about more than just selling downloads. The internet offers many opportunities for you to be SEEN, HEARD, and PAID…
Today more than ever the internet is a valuable tool for artists and independent labels to market and promote themselves. More and more artists have taken charge of their careers and set themselves up online with fan pages, video channels, and any number of websites that might provide a way to get their music heard. Yet, very few are seeing any actual financial return for the time and money they are investing. The key to making money online from your music is no longer just for major labels and major marketing budgets.
See the Big Picture
Artists, musicians, and labels have to see the full potential of the internet. Many view the web as one big shopping mall but it is much more than that. For creators of intellectual/artistic content, be it music, games, books, photos, etc. the world-wide web offers the chance for multiple streams of revenue. Provided they join the right organizations and connect the (META) dots properly artists stand to get paid in these three ways before they make their first digital sale:
Publisher/Writer Performance Fees
Most independent artists write and record their own material. If you belong to a performance rights organization for songwriters and publishers (BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, PRS,etc.) then licensing fees are collected from radio, television, satellite and internet sites that are playing your music. Internet radio stations that are properly licensed usually have a badge or licensing information posted somewhere on their site. Digital releases should be encoded with the proper ISRCand UPC numbers so that writers and publishers get their money.
Artist/Producer/Musician Performance Fees
Producers, musicians, and artists receive performance fees from all internet and satellite performances of their songs. SoundExchange is the free organization that collects and distributes these fees. In many countries around the world terrestrial radio and television stations also pay performance fees of this sort. SoundExchange continues to fight for this in the United States. Hopefully your digital distributor has deals in place with some of the many online blogs, radio stations, and streaming sites that pay these fees.
Does your YouTube channel or artist website attract a lot of regular visitors and viewers? If you are maintaining your personal site and tracking visits with Google analytics you may qualify to partner with Google’s AdSense program. This allows Google to place advertisements on your web pages and share some of the advertising revenue with you. YouTube offers the same program (not surprising since they are owned by Google) for popular video channels. Of course, you do not have to depend on these sites alone. You can also sell your own advertising space directly to other small companies looking for ways to promote their business.
The good news is that the same tools and systems that you are already using to promote your music can put money in your pocket if you put a little more effort into how you coordinate your promo plans. The better news is that by doing so practically guarantees an increase in your actual sales due to your increased social media and online presence!