Selling music and merchandise online

Music is a fluid art. Selling it, however, is more down-to-earth and requires concrete, reliable tools. If you deal with any kind of sound creation or distribution — you’re a musician, a DJ, or you run a record store — with Ecwid, you get all the instruments you need to sell your music and merchandise online.

This includes:

  • Hi-res audio downloads (up to 25 GB for a file)
  • Ability to supplement digital downloads with physical releases (CD/record/cassette/etc.)
  • Ability to add players to product descriptions
  • Integrations with dropshipping services like Printful to produce and deliver merchandise with your unique design

So, let’s dive into all this and see how exactly to set up your store.

In addition to selling music and merchandise, you can use your store to sell tickets to your shows and services like tutorials, instrumental classes, or audio mastering. You can also collect donations so that people have the chance to support you and express their gratitude.

Quick overview before diving in

If you don’t have an account yet, then — first things first — sign up! All you need is your name and email.

Once you sign up, you can start with the store setup. This is a generic process that includes:

  1. Adding your items
  2. Setting up payment methods
  3. Setting up shipping/delivery/pickup methods
  4. Personalizing store design

We’ll have all these steps covered in this guide, and you can have a quick glance at the initial setup in our article: Getting started with Ecwid.

After you set up your store, you can add it to practically any website. If you already have a website of your own, congrats! Enforcing it with a store is a simple copy-and-paste action. If you don’t have a website yet, no worries. Every Ecwid account comes with a free Instant Site with a store on it.

Selling tangible goods (like records or merchandise) is available on the Free plan. However, selling downloadable files requires a paid subscription. You can upgrade your Free plan right away or anytime later. Learn more about Ecwid plans and features

On the paid plan, you get access to Ecwid’s mobile apps for iOS or Android that allow you to manage your store on the go. On the Free plan, you can test drive mobile apps for 28 days.

Setting up payments

Unless you plan to use your store as a catalog — for example, you own a record boutique and want customers to come in person, no online sales — you’ll need to add at least one payment option. You can do it on the Payment page in your Ecwid admin.

What kind of payment option that will be, though, depends on your products.

If you sell downloadable files, you'll almost certainly require online credit card payment. It’s the fastest way to allow your customers to purchase your music. You can choose any payment gateway that is available in your country.

Online payments are also a perfect option for selling physical media like CDs, cassettes, or merchandise, especially if you ship them to other regions.

In case you own a brick-and-mortar store where customers can pick up their orders after paying by cash, or you consider taking payments like invoices or bank transfers, you can use offline payments.

Add payment instructions so that the whole process is as transparent as possible for your customers.

Setting up shipping

If you’re going to sell only digital files, skip this section. Yet, as physical media — like records or merchandise — are quite… material, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to deliver orders to your customers. It can be via:

  • Self Pickup (e.g., if you have a cozy store where customers can come to take their orders)
  • Local delivery
  • National and international shipping (for those customers who live in other countries)

You can set up shipping/delivery/pickup methods on the Shipping & Pickup page of your Ecwid admin.

Learn how to choose the right shipping strategy for your store

Setting up store and website design

If you’re going to add your store to the existing website that’s already set up, all you need to do is adjust the storefront look so that — when you add it — the store section fits into your site.

If you don't have a website, feel free to use our Instant Site. In Website → Overview Edit Site you’ll find the Instant Site editor that allows you to easily fill your new site with content. Great news — you can use a set of ready-made website templates to speed up the process.

When you’re done, you can additionally brand your store and website (or even add some CSS).

Make sure you add links to your social media accounts. You can also connect a domain to your Instant Site so that the website address puts you in the spotlight (e.g., yourbandname.com instead of https://yourbandname.company.site).

📖 Further reading:

Creating products: Music

To sell music, you need to turn it into products in your store. What’s a product in your case? Any piece of sound that you want to sell independently. It can be an album, a single track, a sample pack, or a beat collection.

Depending on the medium that you want to sell — digital or non-digital — you can follow different patterns while adding products. Here are step-by-step instructions for the most popular cases.

Case 1. Selling physical media

If you want to sell music on physical media — CDs, vinyl records, cassettes, or any other medium that your music is available from — you can easily add it to your store. Selling such products is really basic, and you can add them in a minute.

You can also sell complementary products like boxes or microfiber cleaning cloth for vinyl. This way, customers will be able to purchase all they need for an exquisite listening experience.

To add a tangible item to your store:

  1. Go to Catalog → Products and click + Add New Product.
  2. On the opened page, enter the album/single title into the Name field:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__6_.png

    You can also enter band name and any other introductory data (e.g., the release year). However, it’s better not to overload this field with information.
  3. In the Description field, add the tracklist and all the other details that you want to share with your customers.
  4. Enter product Weight and SKU. By default, product SKU is autogenerated — you can leave it like this, or you can suggest your own option.
  5. Click + Upload Images to add product photos.
    In our digital era, physical media are purchased for their design and authenticity, so feel free to showcase your item with as many images as you need. Learn how to make good product photos
  6. In the Pricing field, set the price. It can be a fixed price, or you can use our Pay What You Want pricing to allow customers to pay as much as they feel like (with a minimum price level that you set).
  7. Click Save.

That’s it! Now the product is added to your store. You can click Open in storefront to see how it looks there:

Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__16_.png

After you set up your payment and shipping methods, customers can order this item from you.

You can automatically track the stock of your items so that you don’t sell more than you have. To mark your new releases, add ribbons to them. Subtitles and attributes are useful for specifying vital but secondary information like genre, record label, and so on.

If you have a wide variety of products, add categories to make it easier for customers to navigate your store.

Case 2. Selling digital music

Selling digital files is a great option to share your art almost immediately. Once you’re done working on the track/album/sample, you can make them available to the public. Right away — no need to wait until the printed copies are ready.

All the files will be hosted by Ecwid. Each of them can be up to 25 GB, and you can attach as many files as you need.

To add a downloadable item to your store:

  1. Go to Catalog → Products and click + Add New Product.
  2. Enter the album/track title and other key data into the Name field.
  3. In the Description field, add the tracklist and all the other details that you want to share with your customers. Here you can also describe your download, so that customers understand it's a digital release (e.g., "after purchase, you'll get a link to a high-quality download in MP3 (320 kbps)").
  4. Click + Upload Images to add the cover and other images that represent this release (e.g., back cover, artwork, etc.).
  5. Untick Requires shipping or pickup:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__14_.png

  6. In the Pricing field, set the price. It can be a fixed price, or you can use our Pay What You Want pricing to allow customers to pay as much as they feel like (with a minimum price level that you set).
  7. Now go to the Files tab and click + Upload Files:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__4_.png

  8. Click Choose file and select a file on your device. It can be a single sound file or a .zip file that contains all the tracks, lyrics, and artwork.
  9. (optional) Click the + sign to add other files if you want your download to come in several pieces:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__1_.gif

  10. Click Upload Files.
  11. (optional) After the file is uploaded, you can enter the file description in the Description field:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__3_.png

    This text will appear on the download link that your customers click when they receive their orders. If you leave this field empty, the text on the link will correspond to the file name on your device. E.g., Twirling Green.mp3:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__13_.png

    The file link itself is formed based on the address your file has on your device. For example,
    https://my.ecwid.com/file/37497010/66891534/55851991/Twirling%20Green.mp3
  12. Click Save.

That’s it! Now you have the track/album/sample pack added to your store:

Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop_.png

After you set up your payment gateway, customers can order this piece of sound from your store. No shipping/delivery is needed — the product is 100% digital.

Customers will automatically receive the download link once the payment has been sent to you and the order status has been updated to Paid.

Learn how downloading the files looks to your customers and how you can protect and manage your download links →

Customers in the EU must pay VAT on digital products at the rate applicable in their own country regardless of where the seller is located.

Case 3. Selling both physical and digital

If you want to sell the same piece of music in various formats, you can do it in two ways:

  1. Add your downloads and your physical releases as separate products to your store and then simply cross-link them via the "You may also like" section. This way, customers will see other available formats as related products.
  2. Use product options and product variations to make it possible for your customers to choose what they want to purchase from one page — a download or a download AND a record. The price will vary based on the choice.

Let’s hone in on this second tactic. Say you want to sell your release in three versions:

  • MP3 (costs $6)
  • MP3 + CD (costs $10 altogether)
  • MP3 + Vinyl (costs $25 altogether)

To add different formats within one item:

  1. Go to Catalog → Products and + Add New Product.
  2. Enter the album/single title and other key data into the Name field.
  3. In the Description field, add the tracklist and all the other details that you want to share with your customers. You can also add a description of the available packages (MP3, CD, and Vinyl in our example).
  4. Enter product Weight (the maximum value) and SKU.
  5. Click + Upload Images to add the cover and other images that represent this release (e.g., back cover, artwork, etc.).
  6. In the Pricing field, set the price for the base product option. In our example, it’s $6:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__11_.png

  7. Now go to the Files tab and click + Upload Files.
  8. Click Choose file and select a file (or files) on your device.
  9. Click Upload Files.
  10. (Optional) Enter the file description in the Description field. This text will appear on the download link that your customers click when they receive their orders.
  11. Click Save.
  12. After you’re done uploading files, go to the Options tab and click + Add New Option.
  13. In the Option name field, enter “Package” (or any other name to represent all the formats that your release comes in).
  14. Click + Add New Value and enter the name of the first format. In our example, it’s “MP3”:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__17_.png

  15. Click + Add New Value again and enter the name of the second option. In our example, it’s “MP3 + CD”.
  16. In the Price modifier field, enter $4 ($6 is the price of the base product, and the “MP3 + CD” option costs $10, so $6+$4=$10):

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__8_.png

  17. Click + Add New Value once again. Now’s the time to enter the name of the third option — “MP3 + Vinyl”.
  18. This time, in the Price modifier field, enter $19 ($6+$19=$25).
  19. Tick the Do not preselect default value field if you want customers to choose a format before they can add a product to cart. Or untick Do not preselect default value and choose the default package option (e.g., MP3). This way, a certain package option will be selected by default on the product page, and customers can add the product to cart right away.
  20. (optional) You can finish your setup now. However, in this case the digital-only option will be considered as requiring shipping or pickup at checkout. To avoid this behaviour (e.g., if you have paid shipping in your store), you can create product variations. For that, proceed to Options → Variations:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__10_.png

    Product variations are available on Business and Unlimited plans.
  21. Click + New Variation and choose MP3 from the dropdown:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__7_.png

  22. Untick Requires shipping or pickup and click OK.
  23. (optional) Create variations for your “MP3 + CD” and “MP3 + Vinyl” options.
    Product variations allow you to assign weight, image, and SKU to every package type and to track the stock of your CDs and records independently. Learn more about managing stock of products with options
  24. Click Save.

That’s it! Now you have a product in your store that allows customers to choose how they buy your music: as a plain MP3, as MP3 + CD, or as MP3 + Vinyl:

Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__15_.png

As for digital downloads, customers will be able to access them once the order is paid. The tangible part needs to be shipped with the shipping/delivery methods that you have set up in your store.

Currently, it’s not possible to add different file formats (e.g., to allow customers to choose between MP3, WAV and FLAC) as product options. All the product files are available for download at once.

Enhancing product descriptions with audio samples

To write informative, good-looking product descriptions, you can use the built-in text editor. It allows you to:

  • Add images to the description
  • Add links
  • Add videos (e.g., a video for your new single or a live performance)
  • Use different font colors (e.g., for lyrics)
  • Edit texts in the HTML mode
  • ...And more

While you edit the description in HTML mode, you can add music samples for customers to listen to before purchasing. It’s really easy.

To add a player for a track:

  1. Upload your track to a file hosting (e.g., to your website). It can be a full version of the track or a short preview.
    You can also use the link to the track that you’ve uploaded in the Files tab:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__5_.png

  2. From your Ecwid admin, go to Catalog → Products and choose the item (e.g., an album) from the list.
  3. Switch to the HTML mode by clicking the <> sign in the Description field:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__18_.png

  4. Copy this code:
    
    <div>
    <audio controls="">
    <source src="your link">
    </audio>
    </div>
    
  5. Paste the code that you’ve copied into the Description field and change the your link part into the link to your file:

    Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__9_.png

  6. Save the changes.
  7. Repeat the procedure for all the other music samples that you want to add to illustrate this release.

Done! You have a track (or a tracklist) available for listening in the description of your product:

Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__12_.png

Now your customers can listen to your music samples as many times as they like before purchasing.

You can also change the color of the player controls using CSS so that they fit into your website design. Here’s the code for this:


audio::-webkit-media-controls-play-button,
audio::-webkit-media-controls-panel {
  background-color: #a0276e;
  color: #a0276e;
}

Replace #a0276e with the color code you want to appear.

Learn how to add CSS codes in your store

As an option, you can upload your tracks to services like SoundCloud and embed tracks or playlists into product descriptions via codes (in the HTML mode).

📖 Further reading:

Using the built-in text editor
Adding tabs to product descriptions
Adding a video to a product description

Creating products: Merchandise

Stickers, posters, enamel pins, cups, and all types of branded apparel — that’s what makes a traditional variety of merchandise. Of course, you can come up with your own options, from jewelry to carefully crafted sets that transfer the concept and spirit of your music.

If you don’t want to deal with producing merchandise, you can always connect your store with Printful. This integration allows you to choose from a wide range of Printful products and simply apply your graphics (e.g., a logo) to them. Learn more about using Printful

To sell merchandise, you need to add it as individual products to your store:

  1. Go to Catalog → Products and click + Add New Product.
  2. Enter the name of the item in the Name field (e.g., “Logo Womens Tee”).
  3. In the Description field, add a description — fabric, size chart, design concept, etc.
  4. Enter product Weight and SKU (by default, it’s autogenerated).
  5. Click + Upload Images to add product photos. They can feature people wearing this piece of merch or showcase it from different angles.
  6. In the Pricing field, set the price. It can be a fixed price, or you can use our Pay What You Want pricing to allow customers to pay as much as they feel like (with a minimum price level that you set).
  7. (optional) On the Options tab, add product options like size and color and create product variations from them.
  8. (optional) In the Stock Control field, enter the quantity you have in stock.
  9. Click Save.

That’s it! Now the product is added to your store. You can click Open in storefront to see how it looks there:

Selling_music_and_merchandise_in_an_artist_shop__1_.png

After you set up your payment and shipping methods, customers can order this piece of merch from you.

You can add various discounts to attract customers to your merchandise.

Next steps

Your Ecwid store has the tools that allow much more than just vending your music and merchandise. You can also:

Unlike the majority of more traditional businesses, you already have the products. Moreover, you most certainly have your audience. All you need is to start selling.

So feel free to choose from the settings that suit you and start sharing your art with people from all over the world!

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