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Looking for a way to generate a steady income stream as an independent artist or musician? Well, you’ve just hit the jackpot—the sheet music market is wide open for you!
In comparison to the oversaturated and competitive $15 billion music industry, the sheet music market is an underrated yet profitable niche full of possibilities.
In fact, the first music businesses were all about selling original compositions and arrangements on paper. This is how people in the music industry began making more money—by selling vintage sheet music to stores, artists, and distributors. That is how much sheet music is worth.
So, why not turn it into a new side hustle if you have talent or musical background? After all, we’re living in an age of digital distribution; an age where you can reach millions of people all over the world and easily grow a following.
Are you ready to give it a go? Then, read on to learn everything you need to know about selling sheet music online.
Can you make money by selling sheet music?
Yes, you absolutely can and should sell sheet music if you’re a musician with an existing fan base! In the US alone, digital sheet music purchasing is a $1.5 billion industry.
So, now is the best time to secure your spot in the sheet music market and begin selling to:
- Vintage sheet music collectors
- Local music stores & distributors
- Online sheet music resellers
- Interior decorators
As you can see, in addition to your audience, sheet music has the potential to attract at least four different categories of buyers.
How to sell sheet music online
Without a doubt, an eCommerce platform is the best way to sell sheet music online and make money. And, the easiest and most affordable way to get an online store is by signing up for Sellfy.
Unlike most marketplaces, Sellfy doesn’t come with hidden transaction fees or extra costs. Moreover, Sellfy was originally created to help people sell digital products, which makes the platform perfect for selling sheet music arrangements. You can also use Sellfy as a standalone storefront or add it to your own website with embedding, which I’ll talk more about later.
In short, Sellfy offers everything you need:
- Unlimited file storage
- Multiple payment options
- Multi-currency selling
- Free SSL certificate
- Mobile-first design
- Advanced VAT & tax settings
- Third-party app integrations
- Pay-what-you-want pricing
- Sales analytics
- 24/7 customer support
1. Open a Sellfy store in under 10 minutes
To open a sheet music store, you can start with a 14-day free trial or pick a paid Sellfy plan for selling digital sheet music. The free trial will let you try out all of the features before committing to a subscription. However, keep in mind that you won’t be able to accept payments and sell sheet music until you upgrade to a paid plan.
To start a trial, you’ll enter your first name, a valid email address, and create a password. Once you’ve opened your trial, it’s important to first verify your email address so that you won’t miss out on Sellfy updates, account information, and more.
If for some reason you have not received a verification email, you can click the Resend email button from the dashboard menu, or locate ACCOUNT > Account settings and click the Resend verification button next to the email entry field.
Now that you’ve opened your sheet music store, you can go ahead and start customizing it!
Unless you’re planning to sell sheet music on a website with Sellfy’s Embed options, there are two ways to customize your store:
- Use a premade Sellfy store theme (the easiest option);
- Create a design from scratch with the Store Customizer tool (more time-consuming).
Out of these two, the Sellfy theme is by far the easiest and quickest way to get a beautiful store page with minimal effort. Then, you can fill out the theme with the Customizer tool and change colors, buttons, text, font, images, etc.
When you start a Sellfy store, the default theme (Lumière) is automatically applied. But, you can easily switch to other themes under the General settings of the Store Customizer.
2. Create & upload your sheet music files
It’s time to start uploading your sheet music to your Sellfy store! But, first, you’ll need to convert your sheet music into PDF format. The best way to do that is to use a free scanning app like Adobe Scan for iPhone and Android.
Once you’ve created your PDF format files, locate the option to upload digital sheet music under your dashboard’s PRODUCTS section. Then, click Add new product, fill in the product details, hit Save product, and voilà—your sheet music will appear live in your store!
Worried about piracy? You’re in good hands—Sellfy also comes with the following perks:
- Top-notch anti-piracy tools such as PDF stamping
- Password-protected and write-protected PDFs
- File hosting on a secure cloud server
- Auto-generated download links with five download attempts
- Digital file size up to 10 GB and unlimited bandwidth
3. Connect payment methods to start selling
Next, you can go ahead and connect payment methods to start selling.
Sellfy currently offers integrations with two major payment processors to collect payments:
- Stripe—allows customers to pay with any major credit card, Apple Pay, or Google pay.
- PayPal—allows customers to pay with a PayPal account, major credit card, or local European payment options.
To add payment methods to your Sellfy store, navigate to STORE SETTINGS > Payment settings. From there you’ll be able to connect your PayPal or Stripe account.
The best part? You won’t have to wait for payouts—your earnings will be immediately transferred to your Stripe or PayPal account after the purchase is made! You will also have access to the invoice in your Sellfy account.
Optional: connect your site or embed
- Buy now button—allows you to add a call-to-action button that can be paired with your own site design, product images, and description.
- Single product—allows you to feature a single product along with the description, Buy now button, and uploaded images. You can customize it on Sellfy and embed the code on your site.
- All products—allows you to add the whole Sellfy storefront with all of your sheet music products to your site.
4. Drive sheet music sales with Sellfy’s marketing tools
And, finally, let your audience and the whole world know about your online store! Add a store link to your sheet music products on social media, post announcements, upload promotional videos to your YouTube channel, or any other platform where you can reach your target audience.
My personal recommendation? Create several videos about your sheet music and post them multiple times per week. YouTube videos and TikToks are currently the most powerful marketing tools for promoting music online.
For instance, TikTok’s unique algorithm has made it possible for any music artist to reach an audience of thousands, if not millions, in just a short amount of time. To learn more about how to promote and make money with TikTok videos, follow this link.
Aside from that, Sellfy offers a great toolkit of built-in marketing features to help you sell arrangements. Our creators absolutely love them! And, if you have started using Sellfy only recently, I’m pretty sure you will, too.
Here’s a breakdown of our creators’ favorite marketing features:
- Discounts & coupon code feature allows you to craft compelling offers for as many products as you like. For example, you can add a countdown timer, discount by a specific amount or percentage, customize SALE badges, and even offer freebies.
- The upselling feature is a great tool to leverage your store revenue and customer experience. It allows you to offer exclusive deals or related products as soon as your customer adds something to the cart.
- Email marketing is another Sellfy store feature that gives you the possibility to run email campaigns, send “thank you” emails, notify your audience about new product launches, special deals, and more. You can also send custom emails with links and images, target specific product buyers or simply send emails to everyone.
- Cart abandonment feature can help you retain more customers by sending cart recovery emails. You’ll be able to see stats of unfinished orders as well as set up emails with special offers to recover some of this potential revenue.
- Pay-what-you-want (PWYW) pricing scheme lets your customers decide how much they are ready to pay for your product. You can use PWYW to increase customer engagement, maximize your revenue, as well as collect donations.
- Advanced SEO settings allow you to update Search results preview, Page description and even upload Social sharing images for each page of your Sellfy store. Optimizing your Store Pages can help more potential customers find your store via Google Search.
How much should you sell sheet music for?
The recommended sheet music price typically ranges from $3.99 to $10. However, some successful and well-known creators even set their product prices above $10. If you’re undecided, I recommend selling with a price that covers your expenses and desired profit.
It’s also very important to consider your target audience—overcharging may backfire and minimize potential sales. Remember, you can always start small and then increase your prices over time as you gain more experience and customers.
Overall, one of the most effective and proven strategies that work is above or below the market average pricing:
- Increase your product value (but keep the average price) to set it above the market average. For example, you can include a bonus gift or freebies in the product. This will make your offer much more enticing to customers.
- Decrease your product price (but keep the quality) to set it below the market average. The average sheet music price is usually around $5. So, if you decrease it to $4.99 per product, you might just attract more buyers.
Is it legal to sell sheet music online?
That ultimately depends on two things: whether you’re selling sheet music composed solely by you, or transcribed sheet music.
In the latter case, you will need to get written permission or a valid license agreement from the publishing rights holders or composers.
Without a license, the only way to legally sell sheet music is to pay royalties or make sure that the sheet music arrangements exist in the public domain.
For a more detailed explanation of the law (if your business is US-based), I highly recommend this link.
Other ways to make extra money as a musician
Apart from selling transcribed sheet music or original compositions, you can also generate money in many other creative ways.
Here are at least eight different examples:
- Sell music composition services as subscriptions to people looking to have their music transcribed (e.g. artists who want to create sheet music for their songs, arrangements for music ministries, or piano and vocal scores for music teachers).
- Sell music band merch for free to your fans directly with Sellfy’s print on demand. In today’s music industry, merch sales make up to 35% of artists’ revenue. So, if you’re an independent musician in 2022, you need to start selling some merch to increase your revenue. Besides, this is a very cost-effective and low-risk way to earn extra income—there’s no need for physical inventory as order fulfillment, printing, and shipping are handled by our POD partner.
- Sell online music courses and tutorials to your audience. From teaching how to play an instrument to methods for making money with music, there are plenty of people who want to learn. If you know a lot about a certain topic, why not profit from your talent?
- Sell CDs or vinyl records and other physical products with Sellfy’s free plan. Believe it or not, people still buy CDs and vinyl records! According to a recent survey by Spotify, vinyl sales have been surpassing CD sales as the top merch choice across almost every genre.
- Sell digital albums or beats and samples. This is another awesome way to make a profit, especially if you already have an existing website or Sellfy store—thousands of indie musicians are profiting from their musical talent with Sellfy!
- Sell music on streaming platforms like SoundCloud or Spotify. Having your music available to stream gives your fans a wonderful opportunity to support your business and career. It also makes it possible for other people to discover your music and your Sellfy store.
- Sell stock music. Stock music is always in demand for video production, advertisements, presentations, and so much more. If you have a talent for writing and composing music, then you can easily make money from your talent by selling stock music with Sellfy.
- Sell album cover art. It isn’t surprising that many music artists tend to be multi-talented. For example, in addition to selling music, there are a lot of Sellfy creators who also design and sell album cover art. If you happen to have some graphic design skills, then you’ll easily find an audience willing to buy your art.
Over to you
I hope this article was helpful! Now you know exactly how to launch a store, sell sheet music online, and create a passive revenue stream. To learn more about making money with digital, physical, and print-on-demand products, make sure to check out our blog for useful tips and tricks.