Selling Music: To Stream or Not to Stream?

MP3 file downloading

Megastar Taylor Swift made waves at the end of 2014 by pulling her entire catalog from streaming services. For Swift, the gamble paid off. She sold more copies of her end-of-year album than any other recording artist in years, but the case may not be so simple for independent artists looking to sell music online.

Gathering the Right Tools to Start Selling Music

Established, successful stars have the luxury of brand recognition and an existing fanbase. These artists are better positioned to sell music without the exposure generated by streaming sites, but this isn’t the case for most independent acts. To start selling music reliably, you’ll have to generate some interest in your project. Often, free streaming sites are the best way to get exposure.

To sell music, you’ll need more than just a fan base. You’ll need a way to distribute your product, and a way to collect money when you make a sale. You can invest in a high-end sales website, but you’ll need a significant amount of capital to do so, not to mention the time required to maintain a self-contained site. The vast majority of the time, the best solution is to work with a high-quality ecommerce platform like, which combines all of the most vital needs and streamlines operations to allow you more independence. Because these systems are also a far less expensive alternative, they’re both more accessible and more efficient for bands with limited start-up capital. By combining secure file hosting, automated content delivery and easy payment processing through trusted systems like PayPal and Google Wallet, a great ecommerce platform removes all of the guess work, not to mention most of the ongoing maintenance responsibilities which can make managing online sales a challenge.

Does Streaming Help You Sell Songs?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is fairly ambiguous. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for music industry success, and your experience with music streaming sites may be vastly different than a similarly positioned peer. One thing that is undeniable, though, is that a streaming site does have the potential to grant your project more exposure and to help you build a fan base. In order to make streaming a viable part of your business plan, though, you will have to make sure you have a reliable sales system in place. With the right tools and services, you can start selling songs, rather than giving all of your content away and hoping for a call from a major label.


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