How to Start an Online Digital Music Store

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How to Start an Online Digital Music Store
You can promote new artists by starting your own online music store. (music image by Markus Götze from

Over the years record companies have seen a sharp decline in CD sales because consumers are turning to the Internet to purchase their digital content. The Internet has allowed people to purchase their favourite songs as opposed to an entire CD when they have no intention of listening to all of the songs on the CD. Starting an online digital music store allows you to promote independent bands and up-and-coming music artists as well as making money off popular artists that already may be well known.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Choose a domain name for your digital music store. A domain name is the website address people will type into their web browser to reach your website. For example, is a domain name. A domain registrar may charge anywhere from a dollar to more than £9 a year to register your domain name.

  2. 2

    Select a web host for your online digital music store. A web host has multiple servers that house the content of your website and handles the traffic that visits your website. Depending on the number of digital songs you will be selling on your website, web hosting can be expensive since music takes up more memory than other content. Select a web host that offers an inexpensive web-hosting package, and, as your consumer base and digital store builds, the web host will inform you if you need to upgrade your account. Web hosts can charge as little as £1.90 to more than £65 a month for web hosting.

  3. 3

    Sketch out a diagram and write the content for your website. When subscribers visit your website they should be able to read a welcome message and directions about how your website functions. Determine the colours, fonts and style of your website. You can map out your website using pieces of blank paper, but use word-processing software to write out the content of your site so you can check for grammatical and spelling errors.

  4. 4

    Obtain a music license to legally distribute and pay royalties on music. Apply for licenses with ASCAP and BMI as the majority of music is monitored by these agencies. More music licensing firms have been created with the growth of the Internet, which has made selling digital content online more complex. Pay attention to each artist's music you want to sell to make sure you pay the proper royalties. Hire an entertainment attorney to assist you with drafting contracts and to look over any licensing approvals for your artist, which could simplify the set-up and save you money in the long run. Your attorney also will assist you with any taxes that may be required for selling the digital content online as well as negotiating with the artists' management team regarding royalties and payments.

  5. 5

    Obtain the digital content to sell at your music store. You can find people to upload their songs to sell by using social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and twitter. Place ads in craigslist and locate music artists on free radio sites such as

  6. 6

    Hire a freelance web designer to design your website. Sites such as,, and connect you with freelancers. Based on your budget, freelance web designers will bid on your project.

Tips and warnings

  • Be careful not to sell music where you do not have authorisation from either the artist or the record company.

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