One question I get asked a lot – “How can I protect a music file and sell from my website?”. Well, it’s not really hard to sell music from your website. And if you have the right tool in place you should be able to do it very easily. Currently, I’m using the WP eStore plugin for selling digital goods (It’s a popular e-commerce software for selling online and I’m a big fan of it).
So, here is what you need to start selling music/mp3 online:
- A website running on WordPress (It’s a content management system. WordPress makes everything so much easier that you don’t have to hire someone to look after your website anymore. Nowadays I can’t imagine running a site without it)
- A web server to host your site content. I usually prefer a cheap shared hosting package like Bluehost (now $3.95/month with a special 50% discount + you get a free domain & free SSL). It should do the job unless you are getting a massive amount of traffic (At that point you can always upgrade). Also, most web hosting companies now offer a one-click WordPress install option.
- WP eStore Plugin (a software that runs on WordPress)
- Compact Audio Player plugin (a software that allows you to play music/mp3)
Once your web server is ready and WordPress has been successfully installed you will receive a URL like the following:
It will allow you to login to the administrator area of your site from which you can control/manage your website.
You can learn more about managing your WordPress blog here.
From your dashboard navigate to Plugins->Add New to install a new WordPress plugin. Switch to Upload tab. Select the .zip plugin file on your computer and click the Install Now button. Once the plugin is installed activate it.
You can follow the same method to install the Compact Audio Player plugin.
To create a new mp3 music file simply go to Add/Edit Products under WP eStore plugin menu.
Specify a name and price for your mp3 music file.
Click the Additional Product Details menu which will allow you to enter a description for your mp3 music file. This field can also be used to display a demo of your music. That way a user can play the audio music before purchasing the full copy. I recommend that you upload a shorter version of your music file (probably 10 seconds) for demo purpose.
To embed a demo for your mp3 music file you will need to enter a shortcode like the following:
This shortcode comes from the Compact Audio Player plugin.
In addition to the description, you can also specify a thumbnail image for your mp3 music file. It will be used as the cover photo on the front-end of your website.
Now click the Digital Content Details section. This is where you specify the actual download path to your mp3 music file. When someone purchases your music eStore plugin will automatically send an email containing the download link. Please make sure that the Downloadable option is also enabled. That makes it so the actual file path is not revealed to the user downloading it. It also ensures the security of your digital music files (since nobody knows where the music file is actually located).
That’s about it. There is a Save Product button at the bottom of the page which you can click to finish adding your music file.
You can check all the music files you have previously configured from the Manage Products menu.
Now it’s time to finally display the music file on the front end of your website so users can actually purchase. To do this create a new post/page and enter the following shortcodes:
[wp_eStore_fancy1 id=1] [wp_eStore_cart_when_not_empty]
One of them creates a purchase button (Add to Cart) for music file with ID 1 (As you can see the music file you created earlier has a product ID 1). The other one just shows the shopping cart when there are items in the cart.
Finally, click the Publish button and your page should look like the following:
When a user visits this page they can play the demo music as well as purchase it by clicking the Add to Cart button.
When a music file is added to the shopping cart a user can easily checkout by clicking the Checkout button.
Now that everything is set up your website is ready to start selling music to your customers. If you like the tutorial, don’t forget to check out this stuff required for selling music online: