Pricing Music to Increase Sales

Pricing Your Music
Pricing Your Music

‘How much should I charge for my music’ is probably the most frequently asked question by composers entering the stock music industry.

Some royalty free libraries take this decision out of your hands by pricing your tracks for you – usually on the low side – but several will allow you to apply your own pricing structure.

Should I price low to ‘beat the competition’?

It can be tempting to price low, to try and undercut other composers, however this practice rarely works and will ultimately make it much harder for everyone involved to earn a living, for two reasons;

  • Rather than the customers forcing prices down in a free market, it’s the composers themselves contributing in a ‘race to the bottom’. Resulting in a drastically reduced income and the chance of earning a good living.
  • Customer perception – it’s human nature to perceive more expensive items as ‘better’. Whereas this isn’t always the case, it is a reality.

Remember, you don’t know who your potential customers are. It’s common to assume that all buyers on ‘royalty free’ stock music sites are home video editors, or kids wanting some music for a YouTube post.

This really isn’t the case. A very large proportion of my tracks are licensed to advertising agencies, large corporations and TV networks, with some music featured in prime-time US shows.

So have confidence in your work, and price accordingly.

Finding an ideal price point

When pricing your music always analyse the library concerned so you can estimate an optimal sales price.

  • How much do the top selling tracks sell for?
  • Which are the most expensive tracks in the library, do they sell?
  • Which are the cheapest track in the library, do they sell?
  • Initially, choose a pricing structure you are comfortable with, then leave it in place for at least 3 months. Monitor your sales over the period and if you are satisfied with the results, think about a small increase.

Raising prices

In my own experience, I’ve found raising prices has no affect on sales (within reason of course!).

One popular library that had always priced tracks automatically – unfortunately on the low side in comparison to the competition – recently allowed composers to set their own rates.

I immediately tripled the licence fees of my music. In the months since then I haven’t seen either a downturn or uptick in sales. On other words the price change had no affect, other than increased revenue.

Remember, if a potential customer likes your music, and it is ideal for their project, they will be happy to pay an acceptable license fee for it.

What if a track doesn’t sell?

If you see poor sales, be honest with yourself and look at reasons why before lowering prices. Is your of the same standard as the competition? Is it commercial enough? Have you done enough promotion of your music?‍

Jon Wright

Jon Wright, is a composer based in London, UK. His music has featured on networks including NBC, CBS, Discovery, History, EuroSport, and the BBC.