Indie Musicians and iTunes – What You Should Know

How to sell music on iTunesThe recent changes and rumors surrounding Apple and the iTunes store have artists wondering more than ever how to sell music on iTunes, and what will happen once your music is on iTunes. iTunes is the biggest online music retailer in the world, and how it works affects you as an artist. This is what you need to know.

New changes to the store?

In January of this year, iTunes began removing thousands of songs and started using a new algorithm. The algorithm is a computer equation that decides which artists get featured, and the new one was a change from the past when (human) editors were more involved in the decisions. The algorithm was based on how fast songs were selling, which would obviously favor label-backed artists. This led to backlash from indie artists and executives, and these changes were reversed just a few months later.

Indie genre page on iTunes

After all the negative press they received early in the year, iTunes decided to make an entire genre page for indie music. This is great for indie musicians, because they had previously been sorted into categories alongside mainstream artists (often being thrown into the ‘Alternative’ section) and were not easy to find. Now there is an Indie Artist Spotlight, an ‘essential albums’ section, the latest and most popular indie tracks, and subsections like indie rock and indie electric.

Will I make money off iTunes?

iTunes keeps 30% of the profits your music makes, and charges 35 dollars a year to keep an album listed. You will also have to pay whatever royalties you owe to your record company or fees to your distributor.

Selling your music on iTunes might leave you with a smaller profit than you would make selling only physical CDs or selling your music to an online host that takes a smaller percentage of fees. However, many people buy music exclusively from iTunes, which means a lot of new fans will begin their search for you there. They might buy your music if they find it – but if they don’t, they might stop looking. This is why learning how to sell music on iTunes is important for every indie artist.

How to make the most of iTunes

  • Plan ahead
    • Getting pre-orders and generating buzz for your new music will help you sell more and possibly get on the featured page.
  • Make sure all your information is correct
    • This seems simple enough, but too many artists don’t check for typos and end up having their music listed somewhere they didn’t want it to be.
  • Record an album
    • While making an album is going to be a lot of work, there is more room on iTunes for album placement than singles.
  • Get people to buy your music from a variety of sources
    • You may need iTunes, but fans should also be able to buy your albums in stores, from your shows, or from other online distributors when they look for it.

Learning how to sell music on iTunes may seem intimidating, but SongCast will help you by distributing your music to many different platforms. Follow our blog to learn more about the latest trends in the indie music scene, and get advice on making it in the music industry.

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