SELLING MUSIC DOWNLOADS ON YOUR WEBSITE: USING SOUNDCLOUD TO EMBED MUSIC PREVIEWS
If you choose to sell digital downloads on your website, you can opt to sell files of any type: ebooks in PDF format, spreadsheets as Excel files, even archive (.zip) files that are bundles of multiple files. You can also, of course, choose to sell music files in any format (such as files of type mp3). If sell music files, you'll want to give visitors the opportunity to listen to each track before making a purchase — few people will buy a song without hearing it first.
An easy, free way to add a preview of each track you sell is to make use of SoundCloud — the world's largest music and audio platform.
CREATING A NEW DOWNLOAD ITEM TO SELL ONE MUSIC FILE
Before getting into the use of SoundCloud, let's quickly set up a new download item to sell one music file. We'll be adding the song preview to the description area of this download item. From your site's Admin area click the Downloads link to go to the Downloads page editor.
Scroll down to the Download Item Editing form and click the New button to display the area that lets you enter information about the song you'll be selling.
A download item consists of a title, a description, a price and a one-time upload of the file to sell (you can also optionally specify a product ID, but that's not necessary). This is true regardless of the type of file you sell (you'll see the same form regardless of whether you're selling a file of type mp3, mp4, pdf, and so forth).
Enter a title and price for the song. Hold off on uploading the file itself for now. Next you'll enter a description for the file. If you were selling a different type of file, such as an ebook, there's probably a lot you could say about the file in the description area. In the case of a music file, there really isn't much of a reason to have a wordy description. Instead, a song preview will be a perfect use for this area.
You'll get the song preview from SoundCloud. Leave the Admin tab as is and open a new browser tab or window and go to the SoundCloud website at https://soundcloud.com.
CREATING SONG EMBED CODE AT SOUNDCLOUD
SoundCloud is a site that lets anyone create an account and upload audio files that can be listened to by anyone. It's a sort of music-oriented version of YouTube. If you already have a SoundCloud account, log in to it now. If you don't have an account, sign up for one — it's free to do.
After signing in to SoundCloud you upload a track by clicking the Upload link located at the top right of the horizontal menu bar. You'll then see an area where you can drag-and-drop a file, or click to select a file, from your PC or device.
When the upload completes you'll see an area where you can enter a title for your song — enter an appropriate title.
You'll want to make sure that the file is marked as NOT downloadable — you want people to be able to listen to the song on SoundCloud, but you DON'T want people to be able to freely download it from SoundCloud. Click the Permissions tab and make sure the Enable direct downloads checkbox is NOT checked. Additionally, make sure the Disply embed code checkbox IS checked — as shown below.
Now you're ready to get the embed code — the little snippet of code that you'll use to display the song preview on your own website. From your account menu at the top right of the horizontal menu bar choose the Profile menu item.
You'll see all of the songs you've uploaded. Click the Share button by the song of interest (it's outlined in red in the below image).
An area that displays sharing information appears. Click the Embed tab. Now you'll see a Code textbox — hightlight the code in this textbox and copy it (Ctr-C or whatever keyboard combination you use to copy). Note: Ignore the WordPress code link to the right of the textbox — that doesn't pertain to your needs.
The embed code is copied and saved to your clipboard. You're ready to leave SoundCloud and return to your website's Admin area to paste the code into your download item's description.
USING THE SOUNDCLOUD EMBED CODE IN YOUR DOWNLOAD ITEM
Now you're back at the download item in your website's Admin area. Paste the embed code into the description area of the download item (Ctr-V or whatever keyboard combination you use to paste). Your description area will look similar to what's framed in red in the below image.
To finish with the download item click the Choose File button to select the song file from your PC. Then click the Upload button to upload the song file to your website. That action will save your work and you're done creating the download item.
You can now view the new download item on your site. Leave your site's Admin area (you can leave the Admin area in its browser tab and open a new browser tab to display your site as visitors see it). Go to your site's Downloads page and you'll see the download item, complete with an embedded audio player that is used to play this one (and only this one) song. A visitor can play and listen to the song without having to purchase it.
A visitor can listen to the song in the embedded player, but won't be able to download it here — the visitor will need to purchase the file by clicking the Add to Cart button to add it to your site's shopping cart. The visitor can then check out to go to your PayPal page to pay for the song and then get auto-emailed a link to download the file.
You can repeat the above process for every song you plan on selling from your site. Each song will have it's own SoundCloud embedded player in its description, and that embedded player will play only the one song that matches the song you're selling.
For each song you sell from your site, follow the same steps:
- From your site's Admin area's Downloads page create a new download item
- Fill in the item's title and price.
- Leave the Admin tab open, and open a new tab — go to https://soundcloud.com in the new tab
- Upload to SoundCloud the song you're currently working on
- Go to your SoundCloud Profile and click the Share button by the song you just uploaded
- Click the Embed tab and copy the code from the Code textbox
- Return to the browser tab that's displaying your site's Admin area and paste the copied code in the download item's description text editor
- Upload the song file using the Choose File and Upload buttons
If you haven't set up your website yet, read our KEEP IT SIMPLE: CREATING A FOUR PAGE WEBSITE TO SELL DIGITAL DOWNLOADS article.