Back before the internet existed, the road to achieve notoriety in the music business was very hard for all those people who have ever had the dream of becoming musicians and making a living out of their art. You needed to get signed by a record label that would take the risk of investing in your talent to pay for your studio recording, your marketing and publicity and also make sure that you would get booked for gigs to travel the world to get more exposure.
Since the arrival of the internet there have been some huge changes in the way this industry works. Buying a CD from a record store is no longer something that people are doing so much and you can listen to virtually anything online for free. This has forced the industry and the artist to adapt in order to survive and it given birth to places such as iTunes, that allow artists to sell their music on the most popular mp3 online store around and we are going to guide you through the process of getting your music onto iTunes.
First of all you need to find out if you actually want to deal directly with iTunes. iTunes requires that you have 20 albums in your catalog at the very least. You also need to have your UPCs/EANs/JANs for everything that you are going to be distributing. These are barcodes that are used in different regions. Last but not least, you have to provide your international standard recording code (ISRC) for all of the audio tracks that you plan on selling. These are very difficult demands for most independent artists, but this is no reason to give up because you can still work sell your music with them by using what is known as an aggregator. This means that there are some companies that work with iTunes to help smooth out the process for you. Their requirements are usually quite simple and you keep all your rights, you usually get 100% of the royalties and sales reports for trends and streaming of your music for sampling.
There are two places that can be recommended in particular: one is called CDBaby and the other is TuneCore. They both offer very similar features for indie artists and signing up is very easy. CDBaby will charge you $59 for each album that you upload to the store. This is a one-time fee and if you only upload singles you have to pay $14.95 for each one. If you really want to take advantage of this kind of store we suggest that you upload an entire album and save money in the process. TuneCore charges you $9.99 a year per single and $49.99 a year. You retain your rights in both of them and you also get $91 percent of the iTunes generated sales.
When you decide on which aggregator you will use you should encode your files properly for the best results. There are usually options for mp3 and wav files and you will get detailed instructions on bit rates and sample sizes. There are no demands for the quality of the music to be professional either. There are thousands of indie artists who are making their music with small home studios that are nothing but a laptop and a decent sound card. Technology now makes it way easier if you really want to give the music business a shot.
The music business will continue to evolve with the internet and if you really want to get some sales going you need to learn about internet marketing and promoting just as much as you learn about the music business.
A real life example is a song that Jay Golden (a PGA golf professional) who made a song as a tribute to his friend Moe Norman, who is a professional golfer known for his miraculous ability to hit dead straight shots consistently. You can listen to a sample or download the song on the link below from iTunes:
I interviewed Jay Golden about his song and his responses to my questions are below:
What made you want to do a tribute song to Moe?
“I heard about MOE NORMAN for many years prior to meeting him and was intrigued by his ability and personality. When I met him, watched his clinics and spent time with him, it only added to my appreciation of his dedication to hit PURE GOLF SHOTS time after time.”
How did you find the process of getting the song published on iTunes?
“Having written many golf poems – including “EVERY GOLFERS DREAM” which was included in the best seller “CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE GOLFERS SOUL” – as well as many golf songs, I felt this was a ‘natural’. I sent Barry Morrow – who wrote the screen play for the movie “RAINMAN” starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman as well as a screen play about MOE NORMAN – a copy of MOE KNOWS and he liked it! The movie is currently on ‘hold’.
To answer your question more directly, I knew about iTunes and a good friend of mine with computer skills (a tour hopeful who I have coached, Stuart Drahota) formatted it to be placed on iTunes.”
In conclusion, producing and selling your own song is no longer a monopoly held by an elite few. Indie music producers now have the ability to market their talent. Who knows as to where it will take you? Just look at Justin Beiber’s success by appearing on YouTube. And songs like ‘Gamnam Style’
& ‘What Did The Fox Say?’ which are not technically brilliant songs, just took off and became popular worldwide.