Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

What will generate money for artists?

This article was contributed by Steven Cravis, a long time LicenseQuote publishing client who has learned from first-hand experience how to promote both his retail and commercial music licensing sales.

CD Baby offers SoundCloud partnership feature

Recently CDbaby announced it’s partnership and automatic send of CDbaby music to Soundcloud. All it takes is for each CDbaby musician interested in this feature to log in to CDbaby and opt into having all, or most of their music appearing on Soundcloud.

The only problem is: They are available as full length streaming tracks. By this I mean, if it is a 4 minute song, the full 4 minutes will be displayed as a streaming track to any listener. The reason I call this a ‘problem’ is that full length streaming in the digital age is similar to giving away the file.

I’ve had fans of my music write politely to tell me they could ‘grab’ mp3s from the streaming audio on my web site. Since then, I’ve replaced them with either short audio clips, or audio watermarked tracks.The only scenario I can see this being useful for is if your doing your own direct licensing deal for someone’s film, or tv, or other media project, and you want specifically them to be able to listen through the tracks streaming online, but not everyone else. In this case, CDbaby has an interesting option, checkmark ‘Private’.

CD Baby’s own wording

See Cdbaby’s own wording:
SoundCloud Private Tracks

When you upload a track to SoundCloud, you have two options for how you want to share it with other users:

a) Public sharing means that anyone can listen to your track.

b) Private sharing is exclusive and means you have complete control over who has access to your tracks and who doesn’t.”

Private vs. retail sales purpose

But if you’re not using this for private purposes, I don’t think it’s going to help your music income if you publicly give away your full length streams of all the tracks that you also are attempting to sell elsewhere. People can just listen to the whole song online without buying it. Plus, at least in services like Spotify, Rhapsody and Pandora, the full stream plays generate money for the artists who own the content. But I don’t see anywhere that Soundcloud will pay anything for all the streams that will occur on a Soundcloud or CDbaby/Soundcloud account.

What will generate money for artists?

So, what will generate money for artists? It’s very simple. Make sure that:

1. Your music displayed on sites (which you could upload directly to Soundcloud and many other sites) is either 30, 60 or 90 second clips of audio, or is watermarked audio. ONLY stream full tracks of audio that you intentionally give away. For example:

2. Your music is iOS compatible. This means that it has code, such as Soundcloud or Bandcamp embedding code which works/displays well on Apple mobile devices; iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch. All Flash-only music players appear as a blank, functionless rectangle. Millions of people are using these devices to view web sites and check out music. It will take a while for all musicians, including myself, to transition our sites to this HTML5 code which is compatible with Apple devices.

3. Put iTunes and Amazonmp3 and/or your own shopping cart mp3 buy links close on the web page to your HTML5 music player.

4. View these music marketing tutorial videos in full screen high definition regarding increasing selling on iTunes, Amazonmp3 and Gumroad:
Thanks Steven Cravis for contributing this well researched article complete with your advice, suggestions and link to related tutorial resources!

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