Your Free Online Guide: Earning Income From The iTunes Music Store
This guide will show you how to earn extra income by creating special "affiliate" links to the iTunes Music Store.
That's right. Just by creating special links from your web site(s) to the iTunes Music Store, you can earn money from everyone that clicks on your links.
Although this guide is written for bands and artists, you do not need to be an artist or in a band to earn income this way.
Bloggers and fans can also use the information here to earn extra money by linking to their favorite iTunes artists.
How cool is that?
- If you already have your music in the iTunes Music Store, this is for you.
- If you are planning on putting your music in iTunes Music Store, this is for you.
- If you just want to link to music (or audio books or videos) in the iTunes Music Store, this is for you.
You don't have to sell your soul for a record deal. You can do very nicely as an Indy artist these days. This guide will help you on your way.
Q. What is this?
A. Affiliate marketing is a method of promoting businesses (merchants/advertisers like the iTunes Music Store) in which an affiliate (you, the web site publisher) is rewarded for every visitor, subscriber, customer, and/or sale provided through his/her efforts.
Q. How does it work?
You put special "affiliate" links on your web site that link to the iTunes Music Store. Every time someone clicks on that link, and then buys a track from the iTunes Music Store, you earn a commission for that sale. That's right, you could be earning money for what you are already doing.
Q. What kind of content can I link to?
A. Singles, albums, artists, etc. It must be to items for sale in the iTunes Music Store. You won't get paid for links to podcasts. However, you will also have the opportunity to join other affiliate programs and link to other web sites and you could start earning money from those programs too.
Q. How much will I get paid?
A. This depends on how many people see and click on your links. And whether they buy anything once they've done that. Right now, iTunes will pay you about 5% of the purchase price on each sale. That means you could earn about 5 cents for every 99 cent track purchased and about 50 cents for every $9.99 album purchased. If your site is popular enough, this could become another major source of revenue. The reality check is that if nothing gets sold, you won't get anything. You are only paid on sales generated from your web site.
Q. Do I have to pay anything to my aggregator to do this?
No. Absolutely not. This is your money, free and clear. If you do already pay a commission to an aggregator to get your music on iTunes, this is one way of recouping some of that commission. If your aggregator charges you 10% for selling your music, that is about 7 cents that they earn off you per track sold. Want to make some of it back? By following the instructions here, you could earn 5 cents (or more) per track directly from iTunes through their affiliate program. And this money has nothing to do with your aggregator. It's all yours.
Q. Is this income only for only my music or all music bought in the iTunes Music Store?
You will earn money from all music sold through your web site. Not just your band's music. So if someone checks out your web site, follows the links to your music on iTunes and buys tracks from other artists or bands, you will also earn commission on those tracks too. How cool is that?
Q. So what do I need to do?
Just follow the instructions below...
- You put special "affiliate" links to iTMS on your web site
- Visitors to your web site click on the links to iTMS
- They buy your music on iTMS
- Apple sends you a check with your commission
- You put your commission check into your bank account
It's that easy. Let's get started! Just follow the instructions below to get started as an iTunes Music Store affiliate:
Step 1: Become a member of the LinkShare network.
Apple have outsourced their affiliate marketing campaign to a company called LinkShare. In order to become an iTunes affiliate, you have to become LinkShare member first. LinkShare handles the relationship between you and the iTunes Music Store. LinkShare will provide you with all the tools to make the links you want.
Click here to become a LinkShare affiliate!
You will have to fill in your contact details and your tax information. This is taxable income and you are responsible for providing accurate information. If you earn over $600 in a year, and you are in the US, you will be given a IRS form 1099 for that tax year. Of course, you don't have to do this, but then you will earn nothing.
You'll also have to provide your web site address. LinkShare will probably check your web site to verify you are who you say you are. They will also vet you for web site content. You won't be allowed to placed affiliate ads on your site if your web site has any of the following:
- Infringe trademark rights of yours or any third party or otherwise violate the rights of any third party
- Contain sexually explicit materials
- Contain hate/violence/offensive content
- Promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age
- Promote any political agenda or party
- Promote illegal activities or otherwise violate any applicable laws, including those targeting "spyware," "adware," or SPAM
- Otherwise are considered offensive or inappropriate at LinkShare's sole discretion
If you didn't do it before, click here to become a LinkShare affiliate!
Once you are approved by LinkShare, you can start adding affiliate programs to your account. We'll explain how to apply to the iTunes Music Store in step 2.
Step 2: Join the iTunes affiliate program.
Once you have become a LinkShare member, the next step is to apply to become an Apple iTunes affiliate. Click on the tab that says "Join Programs" and search for "Apple" or "iTunes". You will see the iTunes Music Store as on of the available programs. Once you see the iTunes Music Store program, do the following:
- Check the box marked "By checking here, you agree to the terms and conditions..."
- Check the box marked "Check to Apply"
- Next, read the information behind the "terms and conditions" and "more information" links. Just be sure that you understand what you have read before going to the next step.
- Select the button that says "Apply to all checked programs "
One of the other options that you will see is the .Mac affiliate program. You could also sign up for that affiliate program at the same time if you think your web audience will become .Mac users. For the purposes of this guide, we're going to assume you only applied to the iTunes Music Store affiliate program.
Now you're going to have to wait. Apple has a manual approval process and they will probably check out your web site before they approve you. Again, there are certain types of web sites that won't be approved, based upon Apple's own criteria.
Step 3: Add links to your web site.
This is the easiest part if you are the web guy (or gal). Log into Linkshare and from your home page, do the following:
- Click on the "Create Links" tab.
- On the "Create Links: Select Merchant" page, you do exactly that. Select the iTunes Music Store
- Next select the type of links you want. You have several choices (they will all create links that are custom-coded to identify your Linkshare account):
Use these links for links in text on your web site or put them in your email mailings.
They are very generic.
Again these are generic ads, but they are images and are a lot more colorful. You have standard banner sizes as well as smaller buttons.
- iTunes Link Maker
This is where you create custom commission-based links to iTunes Store content. You can also link to a single, an album, or an artist. You choose. This is what we recommend you use. These links track the clicks from your web site to specific tracks or artists and provide useful statistical information on how well these links are performing (and how much money they are making you).
- iTunes iMix
This is where you can create links based upon playlists that you've already created in Itunes. This is an ideal tool for bloggers that are already making custom playlists.
- iTunes Store RSS Generator
This allows you to make RSS feeds
of New Releases, Top Songs and Top Albums. Ideal for a web site that already uses RSS to dynamically update content.
- Paste the links into your web site.
That's it. After a few days, you can look at the reports and see the number of page impressions and the amount of click-through traffic that you are receiving. This will help you optimize your web site.
Step 4: Sit back, relax and wait for the check
Or direct deposit. They do that too.
Actually there are several things you really should be doing. Marketing your web site for starters. That will increase the traffic to your web site and, by bringing more people to your web site, it should increase the click-through rate to the iTunes Store. More potential visitors means more potential clicks, which means more potential sales, which means more potential commission, which means more potential money in the bank. Aaaahhh... money in the bank. What a concept!
Step 5: Sell your band's music on iTunes (optional)
If you liked this free guide and haven't already put your music on iTunes, also check out:
The Guide To Selling Your Music In The iTunes Music Store
It will show you how to sign up as an artist or record label with the iTunes Music Store, and will explain how to put your music, audio books or video into the iTunes Music Store.