Nobody will buy anything if they don’t believe in the price. This is especially true in the gradually expanding world of digital music, and independent bands and major labels alike have experimented for years trying to find a decent price point in order to sell a lot of mp3s. Nobody’s really sure what an mp3 should cost–after all, it’s digital information, not a tangible product. Often the actual distribution costs almost nothing.
Here’s a guide for bands and solo artists that are looking into digital music distribution, to help price songs fairly and get more mp3 and album sales as a result.
1. Don’t charge more than 99 cents per song. That’s the price of an mp3 from most of the major digital music retailers, and nobody’s going to pay more. You should also make sure that your album pricing is similar; if your CD only has 5 songs, don’t sell the digital version for $10, but rather price it around the 99 cent per song price point (so charge around $5). At this point in the digital music revolution, the pricing per track is pretty standardized, which is good news–it takes a lot of the decision making out of pricing. Major companies like iTunes won’t even let you choose a different price, but services like SnoCap will.
2. Don’t charge less than 50 cents per song. People don’t want to buy something that’s too cheap. It sounds weird, but it’s the truth–you’ll sell more copies of a song priced at 99 cents than if you’d priced the same song at thirty cents. You can still undercut your competition a little–89 cents is fair, and may increase your sales, and depending on the length of the track, etc., 50 cents is sometimes acceptable. Try to keep the general price of your individual mp3s around a buck each, though.
3. Use a service that doesn’t charge much to get the mp3 hosted. This is, of course, common sense, but you don’t want to simply go with the first digital music sales service that you find. Shop around, and make sure that you’re getting a good deal. Some services like Tunecore give you 100% of the profits of your songs, but charge more for initial setup than a hosting website like CD Baby. Think about the number of sales you expect realistically, and try to make the best decision possible for your band or solo project. You can afford to experiment with pricing more if you’re making the biggest profit possible from each sale.
What price does your band sell its mp3s for? Do you have any tips on album pricing? Post in our comments section below.