How to Promote Your Music with Download Cards

Always have your music on-hand with CD Baby’s customized download cards

Your musical life doesn’t end when you leave the gig, and you never know when you’ll make those important connections. With MP3 download cards, you can carry your music with you anywhere you go.

You sell them for whatever price you like (or give them away), and keep 100% of the profits. Each card is printed with a unique code, redeemable at for a hi-res MP3 download (comparable to iTunes quality).

7 ways to make the most of MP3 download cards

1. Host a contest-

Download cards are cheap to make and easy to mail. For the cost of a few stamps and envelopes, you could stir up a bunch of fan engagement with a contest.

A few years ago, we interviewed Allison Weiss, an independent artist who had success using download cards as the prize for several Twitter contests—but you don’t have to limit yourself to the social media world. The real world is just as good. Here are a few examples of virtual and real-world contents:

* Ask your fans to come to your next show in costume; anyone who does gets a download card.

* Have your fans post concert photos to Facebook and tag your band. You can send download cards to the folks who took the best pics.

* Encourage your fans to create Spotify mixes of their favorite music. You can listen to these mixes while on tour and send download cards to the people who kept you most entertained.

2. Be prepared to promote yourself 24/7-

They’re super-handy at gigs, conferences, or any other event where you might want to introduce someone to your music.

Download cards easily fit in your wallet or purse, so you should never get caught without your music again. If you meet someone on a plane, at a barbershop, in the park—you’ll have a highly-portable album right there in your pocket!

Carry download cards to give to both the curious new fan and the industry professionals. You might be at a party or restaurant and be introduced to the booker at the coolest club in town. Now you’ll have something to give them besides a smile.

3. Diversify you merch offerings-

Heck. Some people don’t even buy CDs anymore. By making your music available in a variety of formats (discs, vinyl, MP3 download cards), your merch booth will look more impressive and attract more sales.

4. Budget for your next record while still pushing your back-catalog-

Let’s say you’ve nearly sold through your most recent pressing of an older album, and that you’re also about to drop a bunch of cash to press up your next album that you’ve been working on for the last year and a half. If the budget is tight, it doesn’t make sense to spend that money on your older album. Instead, use your cash wisely—release your newest album on CD, promote the heck out of it, and order download cards for the back-catalog items.

5. Bundle download cards with other merch-

Many of my friends have pressed vinyl albums and given download cards away alongside those vinyl sales, giving fans high-quality analog and digital versions of their music. But there are many more ways to bundle your products together. Maybe you can give a download card away with every CD purchase and encourage the customer to give your music to a friend. Maybe your customers who buy 2 or more of your CDs at shows get a free download card of an older album. Etc.

6. Send download cards to press-

Granted, most journalists who write about new releases still prefer to get a CD in the mail (and you should always check on what format they prefer before mailing something), but that is changing fast. Download cards are an easy insert into your press release mailer. (Especially for tour-announcements).

7. Use download cards for giveaways-

Radio stations love to give stuff away to listeners. If you are interviewed or perform for any radio stations, TV stations, blogs, or podcasts—leave them with a stash of download cards they can use to promote you, themselves, and the event you collaborated on.

How have you used download cards to promote your music? Let us know in the comments section below.

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