Sell more albums by including bonus tracksWhy you should release two versions of your album, one for streaming and one for purchase

In a recent article on the Echoes Blog called “Optimize your digital music sales on iTunes,” Jon Ostrow advises that you differentiate between the version of your album on streaming services like Spotify, and the version that’s for sale on download sites such as iTunes (though his argument could also extend to CD and vinyl formats too).

Why? In his own words, “exclusivity sells.”

Most musicians today are releasing their albums everywhere at once — on streaming platforms (Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music, Rhapsody, etc.), on download sites (iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, etc.), on their websites, and in record stores (both brick-and-mortar and online) — with the exact same music on every format.

Ostrow comments on the widespread availability of your music via streaming services:

What this means is that your album will already be available to millions without the need to be purchased. Sure, you COULD keep your album off of these services, but unless you are Radiohead or The Black Keys, this could ultimately do more harm than good, given that so many people now go directly to their favorite streaming service when new music is released.

So how can you get people to actually purchase your music, either on disc or download? Incentivize!

“One way to provide value is by offering something unique in the version of your album that is for sale,” Ostrow says.

He suggested you incorporate one or all of the following into your next album release (the non-streaming version) so you’ll have something to leverage when you announce to fans that your new record is for sale:

1. Cover songs.

2. Unreleased, acoustic, or alternate versions of songs.

3. Remixes.

4. Outtakes or snippets of studio chatter. 

By including something special on the purchasable version of your album, you’ll encourage your fans to favor that option over streaming your music for free. Just make sure to draw the distinction between the two versions every time you mention your new album (on social media, on your website, in advertisements, at your merch booth, from stage, and more).


How do encourage people to purchase your music? Do you include bonus material on the version of your album that’s for sale? Let us know in the comments section below.

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[Bonus image from Shutterstock.]