[Music Monday] Selling Your Music On Foreign Shores
Expanding on the post that Widi Asmoro wrote responding to a previous post I wrote, he explained at length on how to prepare your music to be distributed through music aggregator Valleyarm to be sold at iTunes, Spotify, emusic, Amazon Mp3, and the Nokia Music Store. Going through Valleyarm will ensure your music will be distributed internationally, although I think only Nokia Music has official sales channels in Indonesia. But Valleyarm is not the only music aggregator company you can work with; there are many others to choose from.
Apple offers a list of music aggregators you can work with to get your content on iTunes, even divided by region. They also offer a frequently-asked questions list about submitting content to iTunes, which you should read before doing anything else, as some of the issues would apply to submitting content to other online music stores as well. I think the stand out issues are that 1) you’re required to have a US Tax ID, and 2) you’re required to have a UPC (Universal Product Code) and ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) number for your music as part of the music data. Both are tough administrative issues to deal with as if you’re not in the US, you won’t have a US Tax ID, and to get a UPC and ISRC number, you must register your song through an IFPI-appointed agency that is allowed to issue ISRCs. Outside of these agencies, IFPI members from music companies can also issue ISRC codes, and many of the music labels in Indonesia within ASIRI, the Recording Industry Association of Indonesia, are already IFPI members.
These music aggregators can help you take care of all these administrative headaches, for a price, and get your music into online music stores in various countries. Some are websites that also act as music community hubs like CDBaby and Reverbnation, some are pure music aggregator businesses like Tunecore, Virtual Label, Catapult and Songcast, and companies like Valleyarm, Merlin and The Orchard act more like distributor/music label as they also help with the marketing activities. Indonesia also once had their own digital music aggregator called Equinox DMD, although they haven’t been active for years.
Comparing all the different companies and online music stores that will benefit your music strategy may take a lot of time, but I assure you it’s in your best interest to do the research. I would recommend starting from the online music stores that you want to sell through first then work your way back to which partner to work with – iTunes Music Store has the largest global footprint and you should start there, then move on to Amazon MP3, and so on until you find the right music aggregator to work with. I cannot recommend you either one as I have yet to do it myself, but if you have experience with these music aggregators, do drop a comment below.
Ario worked in the digital music industry in Indonesia from 2003 to 2010, and recently worked in the movie and TV industry in Vietnam. Keep up with him on Twitter at @barijoe or his blog on http://barijoe.wordpress.com
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