If you’re a music producer, recording artist, or composer then you know that one of the best ways to get your music “out there” is to sell it online! There’s only one problem…

…it’s not that easy, and the options that seem easy don’t really work by themselves.

For instance, it’s incredibly easy to go ahead and set up a DistroKid account (it’s highly recommended, actually – you can get started here). However, setting up your music for automatic distribution through an aggregate service like DistroKid and doing nothing else to grow your fanbase will simply be wasted time and money.

If you want to make money as a musician and sell your music online, there are a number of incredibly important tasks that you’ll need to do.

Set Up Your Artist Website

There are a number of ways that you can set up an artist website; the cheapest, easiest, and simplest way is by signing up for a hosting account with companies like Dreamhost’s Remixer™ plan. You can choose to install WordPress, or even use their pre-made Remixer™ templates!

If that’s a bit complicated, you can always go for a more convenient option like Squarespace or Wix – however, be warned that these are eventually more expensive because of their convenience…they also lack a lot of control unlike building a custom WordPress site.

Develop Your Target Fanbase

Depending on your genre, the people who actually listen to your music will vary widely. There are many people who listen to a variety of music, but the majority of music listeners have a specific group of genres that they prefer.

For instance, if you’re a metal singer then your fans have a specific type of demographic profile. Here’s an example:

16-35 years old. Wear black clothes, many times band t-shirts. Are mid-to-lower class, used to poverty. Have emotional issues from childhood traumas, get angry very easily. May be involved with illegal substances. Tumultuous personal lives. Live all over the United States and Germany, usually small towns and villages.

Now, obviously this is a gross exaggeration of what a fan profile might look like, and this can vary with age, geography, among other factors. There are many exceptions to every rule, and many variations to every profile.

What you have to find in your target audience are the things that would bring those people together. What are their commonalities? What makes them alike and generates stereotypes about them? These are the things that will help you find your fanbase and market your music to them.

Write Music To Fit Fan Profiles

Once you’ve been able to establish the right fan profile, you’ll be ready to begin marketing your music to your fans.

Using the example of metal rock, after looking at your fan profile you’ll be able to determine how your music should be shaped around different facets of your fans’ lives. Remember, fans listen to lyrics because they resonate with them in one way or another. They purchase your merchandise because they like your music, and they attend your concerts because they like your brand.

It makes sense to them.

If you want to sell your music online, you’re going to want to find out where your fans “hang out” on a daily basis. Social media platforms like Facebook are pretty obvious, but don’t knock traditional forums and websites such as Reddit and Quora; there are many who choose to converse on there!

Your lyrics should reflect the people, places, things and events that circle your fans’ lives. If they are impoverished, many in the U.S. choose to listen to hip-hop music because they can relate to “the struggle”. If your genre is dance hall music, then your fans are most likely able to attend music festivals, afford to go to clubs, and have lots of friends they go to school with.

Remember that emotion is a huge and important selling point when writing your lyrics. Emotions sell!

Cover Art

Selling your music online means that your fans expect high-quality graphics to accompany their libraries and playlists. If you don’t design unique, eye-capturing illustrations of what can none other be described as your “visual brand”, then it may be hard for your fans to recognize a new album if it’s not widely advertised.

One of the best – and free – websites to use for designing your cover art is a website called Canva. It’s designed to be easy to use with hundreds of free stock photos and graphic elements.

However, if you want something truly original, it may be best to either design your covert art yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.

Selling your music online requires more than just setting it up on a DistroKid account. You need to know a few important points to help get your music out to your target audience!

Paul Cassarly
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