Sky Pilot
Digital Commerce

A-Z on getting digital with D2C sales in the music industry

D2C extends the music industry further, faster, at a time when traditional approaches to the music industry are stalling.

The music industry is one of the few with a secure future. Of course, it has evolved from albums through its bumpy, awkward path of eight tracks, cassettes, and CDs. But it’s a survivor, no matter what the form. The pandemic upended the entire situation for musicians. Concerts, gigs, and merchandise provided the best ROI. When touring stopped, so did the revenue stream. Like other industries, it has had to pivot.

That’s where the growth of direct-to-customer (D2C) sales has come into play. It offers a venue to connect and sell, when traditional ones closed their doors.

At first glance, the transition wasn’t easy. Many musicians might have been hesitant to become marketers and retailers of their brands. After all, making music was their thing, not website analytics. However, it was vital. Like the format, the industry had to grow and adapt to the trends and technology to find other ways to make their business profitable.

Read The future of digital products in an evolving e-commerce world.

The evolution of digital music revenue

Similar and varying challenges exist when you compare e-books to digital music. The former had (and still has) a physical association with print that has hindered its growth. It’s a different story with the latter, particularly if you compare figures from 2017 to 2021. Digital, in its various forms, far outpaces the physical product in total revenue.

In 2017, streaming accounted for 65% of total music revenue. It jumped to 85% in 2021. Compare that to physical products that have gone from 17% to 11% in the same period. Interestingly, the digital sphere has also changed. In 2008, ringtones, singles, and album downloadable files reigned. Ringtones virtually disappeared by 2013. Subscription and streaming hit the scene in 2013 and have driven revenue since.

It’s worth noting that what can only be called a revolution with single downloads occurred from 2004 through 2021. Following a peak of nearly $1.4 billion in sales in 2012, this segment tanked in 2021. Understanding this history is essential for deciding how to market and sell digital downloads. It’s also critical for managing live streams and the potential revenue of merchandise bundles.

Benefits of digital products

One of the most rewarding benefits of digital products for musicians is the passive income stream. Recording a song that you will then sell online is more profitable using this business model than physical products. Your inventory is unlimited with the open sign always on in your online store. That can drive impulse sales and repeat business. It’s also an opportunity for physical products.

Think of it as a chance to connect with your fans in a new and exciting way.

Part of the brand for a label is building a relationship with your followers. An online platform is an ideal vehicle for building an email newsletter list, which can, in turn, become live stream ticket sales. The restrictions on touring don’t mean that you can’t still perform. The best part is that you’re not limited to one venue and a seating capacity when you sell a digital product.

Using digital products to grow

Marketing is necessary, no matter what kind of product you’re selling. Fortunately, the groundwork is well-established for you to sell downloads online. The pandemic hasn’t hampered retail music sales but has fueled them to the tune of $14.99 billion in 2021. Sky Pilot makes the segue into the digital marketplace easy, even if you’re new to ecommerce.

Shopify has the presence and name recognition as the third largest online retailer. It is user-friendly to get your store up and running fast. You can customize it to fit your brand and build its recognition to encourage consumer loyalty. Those same benefits apply to the user end of a website to sell digital products. Remember that buyers want a pleasant and simple shopping experience.

Music isn’t different from many industries. It’s a loud and noisy world out there that can make it hard to be heard through the din. It also takes time to get established and build your revenue stream. Sky Pilot’s subscription model makes it less painful for the new artist just getting a start in the business. It complements the low overhead of running an online store.

Grow with Sky Pilot

Customization with Shopify digital downloads is also possible with the many apps that you can use to build the perfect site for your band. Sky Pilot makes quick work to sell videos on Shopify. You can organize all your files in your digital library to make the process seamless. Best of all, buyers can download the files immediately for excellent customer satisfaction.

The Sky Pilot app also has your back. You can track orders and review user activity on your site to optimize your shop and marketing efforts. These tools can improve how you engage with your fans to drive sales even further. It’s worth mentioning that buyers want a personalized experience. Being able to download in Shopify gives them just that. It helps foster a deeper connection between you.

Final thoughts

Choosing to sell digital files with Sky Pilot offers musicians an excellent way to increase their revenue stream with D2C sales. It’s the wave of the future, as the stats have shown. It gives sellers more control over their brand and can provide a safety net if a changing marketplace or economy forces a shift in your business model. Sky Pilot is your best backup artist to keep the tunes playing.

Get ready for the opportunities that D2C sales have to offer. See the new face of music up close and personal. Start your free 14-day trial today.

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