It's Sean!

UK freelance journalist, author
and copywriter Sean McManus

Printed from © Sean McManus.
Home > Articles > Music journalism > Promoting your music

Promoting your music online

How to sell your music on iTunes and Amazon

Thumbnail pic of The Jokers Find out how independent artists including The Jokers, Howard Jones and Colin Vearncombe distribute their music to iTunes and Amazon (both MP3s and CDs) in this article by Sean McManus. Includes advice from the operators of digital distribution services on how you can make the most of the opportunities to sell your music online through these leading stores.

How Andrea Mann got her music into iTunes and Amazon MP3

Andrea Mann Sean McManus interviews jazz artist Andrea Mann about how she used CD Baby to distribute her music digitally online, and finds out how digital distribution can boost your profile as well as your sales. Her album was Rhapsody's Jazz Pick of the Week and she now comes up in Rolling Stone as a contemporary of Diana Krall. "It is simply expected now that you should be able to buy any album you like on iTunes," she says. Find out how she did it...

Viral marketing for musicians

Lily Allen thumbnail Word of mouth has always been an important part of music promotion - music forms communities of fans, and people like to listen to the same bands that their friends are listening to. In this article, I share some examples of how major acts are igniting word of mouth online, including a playable Lily Allen Flash Game, an OK Go video, and information about how AC/DC managed to sneak its video past corporate email filters.

Erasure pioneers customised MP3 sales

Thumbnail of Erasure websiteSean McManus reports on a new technology that enables you to mix a single and then download your preferred mix as an MP3. This technology for mass customising MP3s has been used by Erasure and The Prodigy, among others. The music industry has been marketing limited editions for years, but this technology enables each fan to create a limited edition of one. As a nice side-effect, people are less likely to pirate the music because the value is in the customisation and not the reproduction.

Selling your music through online communities

Independent bands can sell music directly from their websites, but they'll get more exposure if you sell through a musicians' community or a mainstream CD retailing website. Here's a list of places where you can sell your music or promote it online.

Fifteen top music promotion tips

Read my top music promotion tips for guidance on how you can successfully promote your music online.

Selling independent music on Ebay

Wouldn't you like to tap into Ebay's market of 157 million registered users? Robin Cowpertwait has done just that. In six months, he's sold 126 copies of his Midfielder CD to paying customers via Ebay. Sean McManus asks him he successfully sells his own music on Ebay.

Short histories

In August 2003, I was commissioned to research a short history of band websites and a short history of file sharing for the Rock & Pop Timeline book by Johnny Black. The book presents a year by year history of the music industry, its stars and fashions. The articles don't appear in the book in their original form, so I thought I'd share them with you here.


Book cover: EarwormSean McManus's novel 'Earworm' is a satire of the music industry, based around a major record label and all those who invest their hopes and dreams in it. The book is independently published and can be bought online now.

"Raising a number of surprisingly sophisticated issues, this book is enjoyably cynical about the seemingly cold-hearted and impenetrable nature of the record industry and peppered with a number of highly comical cameos from the cream of rock'n'roll, which ensures that it never feels like heavy going."
- Record Collector Magazine. More great reviews!

Archive articles

Between 1999 and 2001 I wrote regularly for Making Music and other magazines about how musicians could use the internet to promote their music. It was an exciting time: bands who were starting out had access to a major distribution channel; artists were flexing their creative and marketing muscle to investigate new media formats; and new websites were springing up to help move music around the web.

Since then, most of the websites, most of the formats and most of the bands have failed. But many of their lessons are still valid.

That's why I'm leaving these articles here as an archive for you to use. I hope you'll be able to pick up some helpful advice.

ExileInside interview
Former My Life Story leader, Jake Shillingford has abandoned the major labels to set up his own project online. In this interview, he reveals how he got his project started and how the internet is giving him greater creative and financial freedom.

Stories of success
Sean McManus talks to some successful online bands about what promotional tools have worked for them.

It's payback time!
What's the future for the music economy? This article explores different ways bands can support themselves financially when distributing music online.

Promoting your band's website
If you've built your website, the hard work has only just begun. This article explains how to start promoting the site.

Like a rolling stone
Bill Wyman has released his own-brand portable MP3 player

Choosing an internet record label
As the directory at this site shows, there are so many websites aching to distribute your music now. How do you choose?

Bringing CDs to life
The internet is changing the way people treat CDs

Stumbling to the top
How did Stumble reach the top of the Peoplesound chart?

My Life Story interview
Jake Shillingford reveals why his band chose to use Windows Media Player to distribute their first e-single and how he believes the internet will figure in the band's strategy.

Writing music for the web
Exploring the opportunities to write music for this emerging medium, this article includes a virtual harp to play on-screen. Discover generative music here.

Its name is Rio
How practical is the Rio portable music player? Read this review.

Going live
OnlineTV claims to be able to lift bands from a small London gig to an international fan base by streaming their gigs over the internet.

The lessons from Voxpop
One of the UK's best established virtual record labels closed through lack of sales. Read about the lessons from MD John Paterson.