How to Sell Music Online

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One question I get asked a lot – “How can I protect music files and sell from my website?”. Well, it’s not a very hard thing to do. And if you have the right tool you should be able to do it very easily. Currently I’m using 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).

Requirements

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 $2.95/month). 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 one-click WordPress install.
  • WP eStore Plugin (a software that runs on WordPress)
  • Compact Audio Player plugin (a software that allows you to play music/mp3)

Website Configuration

Once your web server is ready and WordPress has been successfully installed you will receive a URL like the following:

example.com/wp-admin

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.

Plugin Configuration

Installation

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.

Setup

To create a new mp3 music file simply go to Add/Edit Products under WP eStore plugin menu.

Screenshot showing how to create a new music file

Specify a name and price for your mp3 music file.

screenshot showing how to enter information for a 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:

[sc_embed_player fileurl="http://www.example.com/wp-content/uploads/music/demo/hey-porsche-nelly.mp3"]

This shortcode comes from Compact Audio Player plugin.

In addition to 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.

screenshot showing how to specify a description and thumbnail image for a mp3 music file

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 security of your digital music files (since nobody knows where the music file is actually located).

screenshot showing how to specify the download URL for a mp3 music file

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.

screenshot showing how to manage mp3 music files from your website

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 is more than 1 or more items in the cart.

screenshot showing how to create a Add to Cart button for a mp3 music file

Finally click the Publish button and your page should look like the following:

screenshot showing a demo of mp3 music file on the front end of a website

When a user visits this page they can play the demo music as well as purchase it by clicking the Add to Cart button.

screenshot showing how a user can add music to the shopping cart and checkout

When a music file is added to the shopping cart a user can easily checkout by clicking the Checkout button.

If you like the tutorial feel free to check out these:

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