by Eric Elder
Want to share your music with the world? Here’s a walk-through video of how to upload your songs to iTunes and other platforms, using CD Baby as the digital music distributor. Click the play button on the video to watch. I’ve also included a transcript of the video below.
Here’s a transcript of the video:
Hi, this is Eric Elder and I’d like to show you today how you can upload your music to places like iTunes, Rhapsody, Spotify and other online service providers so you can share your music with the world.
Today we’re going to upload a single song, this is one that my sister recorded just in the last week or two. She recorded it on the piano and it’s called, “Amazing Grace.” It’s an old classic hymn, performed in a nice, new contemporary way.
So this is the album artwork that we’re going to use, and I’ll just show you where we’re going here. This is the iTunes store and we have about a dozen other CDs out here: Sweet Dreams, Simply Relaxing, Eden, Christmas, Peace on Earth. We’ve recorded a number of CDs between myself, my sister and some friends, and we’ve uploaded them to places like iTunes so that other people can enjoy them too.
Now instead of uploading them to iTunes directly, we upload them to a website called cdbaby.com. Unless you’re a big music publisher, selling more than 20 or 30 CDs in your repertoire, then you need to use one of these other music distributors like cdbaby.com. There are others out there, but this one works just fine.
I already have an account on cdbaby.com so I can just login, but I’ll just show you if you wanted to join now, you can just click join now and sign up for free. Then you can start uploading your music do it that way. I’ll just login using my account. I’m at a website called members.cdbaby.com, not much different than the regular cdbaby.com, but it just takes me directly to the page I need.
Here in the middle it says “Add a new title,” so I just click “Add a new title” and it asks if you want to sell an album or a single song. We’re just going to sell a single song. Here’s the current pricing: you can sell a standard single song for $12.95, or there’s a pro version that gives you some other distribution and royalty collection rights, but we’re just going to go for the standard option for right now.
I’ll click standard, and then it will ask you all of your information. Now I’ve already filled this out, so I’m going to just take you right to the form that I’ve already filled out. I’ll walk you through the same forms, you just don’t have to watch me type, so it will go a little quicker.
So I’m going back to my dashboard and this morning I did this already. It’s called Marilyn Byrnes, Amazing Grace, it’s a single and I’m just going to edit that record there that I created earlier.
It pulls it up and it lets you start through all the same menus if you create this from scratch. It asks you what language is your single in and you can pick any language and I’ll pick English.
For the artist name, I’ve typed in Marilyn Byrnes, and the song title, “Amazing Grace” and in parentheses I put “100% Pure Piano.” It’s nice to let people know, as this will show up on iTunes or other places when people search for it. I’m showing them that this is a piano version, not a solo song version, it’s not a sung version, etc.
It asks if it’s a cover or an original or a public domain song. A cover just means that you’re using someone else’s song, that they own the copyright. Original means you’ve written it. And public domain means it’s old enough that anyone can use it or it’s just in the public domain; it’s just a free song that people can use.
I’m going to choose Cover, even though this is an old classic hymn, it was arranged by someone recently, so we’re going to give them credit as well. It asks for a release date. I’m going to pick today. And then a record label. I’ve just created my own record label called IMR Publishing, and I use that for all my CDs. If you don’t have one, it says you can just leave it empty and it’ll put your name in there just as the artist.
For the Copyright Owner, the same thing, it will just default if you leave it blank. But if there’s someone different, or in our case, I just put Marilyn Byrnes.
It asks for the bar code, and most people don’t have bar code numbers that they can use. I happen to because I’ve done this a number of times and I sell books and other things as well, so I have a bar code. But if you don’t have one, you can just click this button that says, “I’d like you to assign a bar code to my CD for $5,” and they’ll assign a bar code for you. I’ve entered the bar code number that I’ve assigned to it from my own catalogue of bar codes, and I click Save and Continue.
Now we’re going to just basic information about the album. It asks of course for a contract here. You can read all the terms of service, and after you’ve read it you click “I agree.” Type in your signature. Just type your name, and then you can go on to the next page.
Now it’s going to ask for information about the track itself. First it asks “Are the lyrics clean or explicit?” Of course there are no lyrics on this; it’s just a piano version, so I click “Clean.” Then it asks for a composition type. Is it original, is it a cover or public domain. We’ve already checked Cover. And who is the artist on this track? I’ve listed it as Marilyn Byrnes.
Now it asks for a songwriter. Since we have a song writer, I could click “Add a new songwriter.” This is the one who’s arranged the song in the version that she’s playing. Since I’ve already used some of these songwriters before on other CDs, I can just pick it off of the list. So I’ve picked the songwriter and it asks for who’s the publisher for this particular version of the song, and I’ve typed in the publisher name of the publisher who printed the sheet music for the music that she’s playing.
Click “Save and Continue” and it asks for a short description of the song. I’ve typed in a simple description, “A fresh take on an old classic.” This will show up usually just on cdbaby for these kind of fields as people search, and it just tells them a little bit more about the song.
Then it will ask for album notes. You can type in here, if you have a whole CD and you’ve got album notes, and you’ve got a description of the artist and it’s got some information about your band or who you are. You can paste all of that information in right here. I’ve just put a simple sentence that says, “A soothing, 100% Pure Piano version of the classic hymn, Amazing Grace.” I’ll click save and continue and we’ll keep going.
Now it’s going to ask for a Genre; what kind of music is this? And you can just click the fields here. Is it spiritual? Is it rock? Is it reggae? I’ve clicked spiritual, and then it asks for a sub-category under that. And under “Spiritual” there are choices like inspirational or hymns or Christian rock. And I’ve put Hymns. Then it asks for a second Genre. I’ve picked Easy Listening. You can pick whatever seems to work for your music. And I’ve called it Background Music.
Then it asks for the Album Mood or Style, and I have chosen it’s featuring piano, because maybe people are just looking for piano music. Or it says featuring guitar or it says it’s party music or whatever kind of music you have.
It asks for the location of where you live. If you want to put your state you can. And then it says Artists that you sound like. So if people are searching for, in our case, David Lanz–he writes a lot of nice piano music–or Jim Brickman who wrote this one and others. I put their names in so as people are searching for their music, they might find ours, too. I’ve also put my name, Eric Elder, because some of my music sounds similar to what my sister plays, so that would give them a chance to find my music as well.
Then it asks for a price that you want to put on CD Baby. It defaults to 99 cents, which is a typical price for most downloads. You can increase it here to a max of $2.99 per track, but I’m just going to leave it at the default of 99 cents.
Click save and continue and it will ask for an ISRC number. Now this is different than the UPC number (bar code). A UPC number is for the whole album. So if you sell a CD in a store, it will have that bar code on the back. That’s the bar code for the whole album. The ISRC number is for the individual song number and you assign those yourself or you can click a button that says, “I need you to assign an ISRC.” So it will give this particular track a special number and that’s the number that people will use to record it, track it and send you money in payments, so it’s an important number. I happen to have a block of my own ISRC numbers because I do this many times, so I just type that in. But if you don’t have one, you just say “I’d like you to assign one.”
I click save and continue, and then it’s going to ask us about digital distribution and how do we want it to go out. What other organizations or companies do we want it to go to. You’ll see on the right that there are all kinds of things: Amazon MP3, so it will go to Amazon for digital downloads, Apple iTunes so that people can find it there and download it. You can just keep going through: Rhapsody, Shazam, Spotify. There’s just a number here. And then you just check a box over at the left of which of these services that you want and you can just click “Do everything that downloads, streams and pays me for it.”
There’s another button here that says, “Do it all, even unpaid,” because sometimes you just want the exposure, and so you can also put it on unpaid services. For this particular case, I’m putting it on streaming and downloading.
The next screen says Digital territory restrictions. Do you want to sell it worldwide or do you want to limit it to certain territories and countries? I want to sell it worldwide.
The next page has to do with Sync licensing, and that means, what if somebody on YouTube finds your music and they want to put it to a video, or maybe some movie company finds it and they want to put it as background to a movie, you can actually click on here and choose option “I want to choose everything, sync it to All Media. If anybody finds it and they want to use it, go ahead and license it automatically for me, then just send me the royalties.” So that’s a nice option if you want to do that.
I’m clicking None because right now I’m using someone else’s song; it’s not one I’ve written myself. If I had written it myself, I might have said “Opt in and let’s sync it to everything.” But for now, I’m just going to say “None,” and save and continue. You can come back and change these settings later (not for all screens, but at least for this one).
Now it asks for the artwork. What’s the cover that’s going to show like I showed you on the other page on iTunes, that’s the cover that’s going to come up, and it tells you exactly what size it should be. It should be 1400×1400 pixels. It needs to be a JPG file, etc., etc. I have already uploaded this this morning, so this is the cover that I want to display for this single when people pull it up in iTunes or other places. To upload it, you click “Browse” and you can look for it on your computer wherever the artwork is and then it will upload.
Click save and continue and then it will ask for the Audio file itself. So now it’s going to say “Do you want to upload the audio file?” and Yes, I do. It’s asking for a WAV or FLAC file, and it tells you it needs to be stereo, 44.1 KHz sample rate, and 16bit. So when you save your files, this is the file format that it’s looking for. You can then just click upload and it will let you have a Browse menu and you’ll be able to browse through your computer and upload it. So I’ve uploaded this track “amazing-grace-marilyn-byrnes.wav”.
Click save and continue and it will offer you a few more options if you want to give people digital download cards where they can download things for free. I just skip this, I just say “No thanks, proceed to the cart.” You can look over all of that information later and see if you want to do that or not.
And amazingly, here I am at the end. It says I have a CD Single called “Amazing Grace (100% Pure Piano)” and I’m going to upload it. It’s going to cost me $12.95–a one time fee–to do that. And I say, yes, I want to checkout. And then it will ask you for all of your address, billing information and everything like that.
Once you click OK on this, you will be set and your CD will be uploaded, whether you do a whole CD or whether you do a single track.
I’m just going to play here a version of the song for you so you can hear what the song is that we’re uploading. I’ll go back to iTunes and play “Amazing Grace.”
And since I haven’t quite checked out yet, I’m going to do that still here this afternoon, and within 24-48 hours this song will be available for sale on iTunes as well, and people will be able to listen to it, download it and enjoy it worldwide. (Note: Although your songs are sent from CD Baby to other providers with a few days, it may take from several weeks to several months before they appear on some of platforms due to their own internal processes, so be patient if you don’t see it other places right away!)
When you also sign up on CD Baby, they just ask for your bank account information so that they can deposit the royalty checks to you automatically. It all just happens sort of behind-the-scenes. It’s a great way to get your music out to a lot of people so people can be blessed all over the world by it.
It’s never been easier to upload information and to get out your particular song, whatever’s on your heart, you can get it out to people and countries throughout the world using some of these new technologies.
I hope you’ve enjoyed watching this class, but I also hope that you will really be blessed, and more importantly that other people will be blessed by the music you’ve produced, because ultimately our music is meant to be heard. It’s nice when we can hear it ourselves, but it’s extra nice when other people can be blessed and they can enjoy it, too.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this. Come visit us anytime. You can listen to all this music for free on theranch.org. And if you like any of it, you can go buy it and download it and get it on CDs from places like iTunes and Amazon.
(Here’s a link to the whole song, “Amazing Grace” that you can listen to here on The Ranch website.)