The modern musician can reach out to the entire world. He shares videos via YouTube, the new global television network. Facebook and Twitter - today's equivalent of huge malls where everyone hangs out - keeps him informed.
As musicians, it's good to know how to sell your creative output to the world. Previously, you had to release your music via vinyl records, cassettes or CDs; now digital downloads allow fans to buy your music instantaneously.
It's a different era now. Instead of watching MTV, most fans find their artists via their YouTube channels. Instead of going to a CD store, most people click on Google.
The question is: When your fans look for your music, will they find you?
Here are four basic considerations for musicians looking to distribute their music worldwide.
1. Digital only or CDs too?
Do you want to sell physical CDs or just focus on digital distribution? If it's CDs, would you like to mail the CDs yourself or would you prefer to use a fulfillment service provider?
There are two popular options to sell your CDs online: CDBaby.com and Bandcamp.com. I've used both services over the years and have learnt firsthand how they work.
In a nutshell, CDBaby does fulfilment whereas Bandcamp only handles the payment. If you opt for Bandcamp, either you or a fulfilment partner will have to mail the CDs to your customer. Some artists such as North London musician-composer Matt Stevens was one of the first people I noticed actively promoting the act of personally shipping his CDs. In addition to mailing the CDs himself, he would announce it via Twitter prior to shipping. This created awareness for his fans. I'm sure at times this would have increased sales from customers who enjoyed his personal touch.
The physical copies of my first album, Acoustic Gestures, were sold on CDBaby.com. Currently, I've been focusing on online digital sales instead. My physical CDs are sold mostly at live shows and local retail outlets.