Selling On iTunes, Spotify, Google, Etc. *UPDATE REQUESTED*


A while back (I think a year or so ago) AJ announced that selling your RF tracks here on iTunes and other places as “Personal Listening” was acceptable. Since then I’d like to know how that’s going. Are you doing it? If so, is it paying off? How do your sales there compare to what you’re doing here, etc.

Just looking for some input.


I was always curious about this, too. Especially after discovering that pinkzebra’s Larger Than Life youtube video has over one million views.That probably brings some decent iTunes sales.


I have made more money on iTunes than I’ve made on AudioJungle. The licenses get your song out there, and this is probably the best marketing there is. I had a song featured in a British YouTube video, and my subscribers, Spotify plays, and iTunes sales were showing prominence for about a week, then it suddenly stopped.
The hard thing is finding that one big break to put you on the map. If your song was put in the right project (movie, viral video, commercial), this can get your name out there for other producers to use, therefore increasing your AJ sales, which in turn increase your iTunes sales. To answer your question, they kind of support each other in a way.


I uploaded an orchestral music EP to Bandcamp and Play Market for a test a year ago. Got a few sales on Bandcamp and 1 sale on Google. Google also pays you your share from subscriptions when someone streams your music. It all depends on the music genre, your skill and promotion instruments, but in my case AJ brought significantly more money in a far shorter period of time compared to personal licensing making the whole attempt not worth it. Who buys music for personal listening these days anyway? It’s all about streaming and social networks. But, if you are famous enough you can get lucky, of course.

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Great info guys thank you. So it seems it may be worth it, but if you have dreams of selling big, just releasing your AJ/RF tracks won’t be enough to get the job done. Am I right?


You’re asking impossible questions as it depends so much on what music you’re selling.

Do people buy production music for listening purposes on iTunes? Yes, but it depends on what type of music. Epic cinematic music (like Two Steps From Hell) can sell well for listening but not many would buy a corporate collection to jam out to in their car…

You will have to try it. To get real fans you would probably need to brand yourself as an artist too, not a production music house/studio.


Have you done it?


Not with production music, but like I said, cinematic producers like Two Steps From Hell are very successful.


It’s actually going really well for me. Over the last year or so I’ve released 2 albums packed with corporate numbers, and people seem to be responding to it very positively. In fact my earnings from iTunes, Spotify and other streaming retailers has now pretty much become one of my main forms of income, dwarfing those earned via RF sites.

On the downside, I have a suspicion this may be cannibalising my RF license sales, with people searching for the tracks on iTunes, etc. or being exposed to the music in the first place via streaming ‘radio’ plays, purchasing it, then just using that music on their videos instead of seeking Licenses.

In just one year I’ve had close to 100000 sales of my ‘That Positive Feeling’ track (and still going strong) and my first album was even trending on Amazon’s Album sales for a while. During that time, I witnessed one of the biggest drops of (including that same track) within the licensing domain, including here on AJ.

I guess there’s a natural dichotomy with these things, and in hindsight I should have expected this kind of knock-on effect. My view is as long as I’m earning an income from my music - however that’s achieved - I’m happy! As Prestashop says however, it’s a lot to do with how it’s branded and marketed too, and having a good promotional tool such as YouTube always helps.

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Interesting. What company did you use to distribute your tracks across all these sites?


Thanks! I’m guessing you did your research, do you still find RN to be the best choice? Some of them register with ContentID right?


No RN don’t distribute the music to any retailers that have the music submitted to ContentID, unlike CD Baby, TuneCore, etc. This was exactly the reason I chose them, to avoid headaches down the line. There are others out there that don’t submit to CID, but RN are well entrenched in the music industry and have pretty good tools for keeping track of sales/streams, etc.


Do you suspect that the correlation between the two is that people have found a way to buy your RF track for .99 versus $19? The problem with that is they wouldn’t have a license to use the track via YouTube and a 3rd Party Content notice wouldn’t be easy to alleviate at that point right?

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Crazy sales Alumo :sunglasses: But you’re really a superstar when it comes to external marketing, everybody should take notice and learn!

I’d not worry too much about the cannibal effect. In the big perspective it’s more about catering to different markets. Someone shopping for your track on iTunes is not likely the typical AJ customer, and vice versa. Think of it like this, if your track is NOT on iTunes, the “iTunes” customer will probably just buy a similar track, right? We should be careful to think about our music as super-unique when there are millions of alternatives. In the end, being visible in many markets serve to increase likelihood of finding new customers. I believe that the customer in general has a specific idea of how to use the music and will select license (or no license) accordingly. What track is bought in the end is likely a function of this. Your mileage may vary.

My personal experience with iTunes and Spotify is rather humble, I sell 4 or 5 albums a week. I guess the cost for distribution is justifiable, but without any external marketing it’s not going to take off by its own. I’m more or less lost in the crowd there (as one would expect).


I think it’s just young users that recognise my music, some of which have become sort of background staples within the vlogging and gaming YouTube communities.

Most of these users are either too young to activate monetization on their accounts (ie. no need for a License to clear copyright claims) or just don’t have any interest in monetizing their videos, but want to use the same song a popular YouTuber is using.

The problem is that most of these younger, non professional users are in the mindset that simply putting a link to my YouTube channel and/or iTunes account avoids any sort of copyright scrutiny. Of course, I’m not going to contest these particular uses, because I get the AdRev revenue from these.


This is very true and something I’ve come to recognise over the past couple of years. When I first got into RF, I was trying the usual route most authors do and market myself as a production music composer. These days, I’m trying to position myself more as an artist, catering in music for a younger audience. This is all without alienating the more mature, professional user, where my music is also suitably used. It’s definitely quite a challenge to get that balance right.

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Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience with us once again, Alumo! If I understand correctly, you prefer to manage YouTube licensing yourself and that is the reason why you register music with AdRev and use RN for non-professional customers?

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No worries!

Yes that’s basically what I’m trying to aim for - I’ve begun to move away from the whole ‘upload and hope for the best’ side of things (which, to be fair has become a non financially viable, over saturated merry-go-round, without much room for business growth) and shifting my business over to a more personal and organic model, using my existing catalogue as my product.

This involves regularly speaking directly to YouTube users and professionals, selling Licenses to monetized users via my own portal, under my own conditions, and administering any claims by hand - as and when they come in. Everything else is caught in either the iTunes, streaming and AdRev fishing nets.

Incidentally, it’s worked out much better for me this way, and has given me the flexibility to branch out under different guises to work on material for more private libraries - which generally allow more creative freedom and don’t rely so heavily on corporate music and the like.


You’re a treasure trove of information Matt, thank you. I’ve pretty much decided to start creating a few albums and I think I’ll use TunedCore but I was trying to decide if using my RF tracks here was worth the time and cost of releasing them. I’m gathering by your response that the answer there is a loud and clear YES!