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>If I were you I'd stick with free song downloads and selling the physical
>Why would I want to pay money to download an audio file from your site 
>can get ten gazillion of them for free from MP3.com?  "Because our songs
>better" isn't enough incentive for me.  Bonus GIF downloads of psychedelic
>mushroom hunting maps in central texas?  Maybe.
>Most of the band sites I come across give free one-minute-or-so samples of
>most of their songs, and maybe one or two full-length songs as freebies.
>What's wrong with that?

I don't want to rain on the parade, but the >most< popular (largest number
of downloads) unsigned band (i.e. - not snoop dog or any of the label
musicians ) at mp3.com has sold almost 600 copies of it's cd using this
method. Yes, 600. They've been with mp3 for over a year, if I remember
properly. There was an interview/article on Wired last month.

If you intend to get paid for your music:

a. send out demos and try to sign up with an established label who can
promote you or,
b. go out and be a starving musician playing in little clubs to get

I am sure you are trying both options.

The mp3.com 'give them samples and sell cds' doesn't work. The 'pay for
download' doesn't work. The 'make it big on the internet' thing doesn't
work. Amazon and other online distribution channels are fine, but don't
expect them to bring you business - they can only deliver the product, they
can't bring you fans. This still has to be done the 'old fashioned' way -
clubbing, sending out promos, more clubbing, radio play, more clubbing and
word of mouth, and most importantly, a few hundred miracles.

I work for MSN LinkExchange. We do online promotion and advertising. ( If
anyone has a LinkExchange banner account, let me know your URL so I can
sneak you some credits ;> ;> ) I run Microsoft's online ecommerce hosting
and transaction system. I get to see a lot of people trying and failing to
set up successful businesses, because they don't understand what it takes 
create a successful online business. The odds of selling music online at a
profit are considerably weaker than theirs - it's a completely
over-saturated market with a medium-free product.

> Guys,
> Looking for advice on hosting downloads and managing sales of the
> independant label I'm in.
> The script is :
> - we are a label comprising of three artists

> - we don't want our own website clogged up with a sales pitch, money
> transaction, download hassle
> - we would like to sell physical CDs AND we would also like to make
> song downloads available
> - we don't want to pay for the hosting service (other than a %age of the
> music cost)

No offense, but if you aren't able to cover a $30 dollar monthly overhead,
you'll find very few worthwhile takers.

One suggestion - http://billpoint.com - it's one of our competitors. The
provide an escrow service so that you don't have to pay for a merchant
account. Their service has no monthly fees, but they charge a vicious
percentage. They aren't a web host - you'll need one of those from 
else, along with someone to actually build you site, if you can't do it
yourself. They also aren't a merchandising service - you'll need to do all
the actual shipping etc, too.

For promotion, http://www.linkexchange.com .

Good luck, Please let me know if I you have any questions you think I can
answer for you

> MP3.com seems to offer this - are there any hidden catches with us being 
> label?

What is the difference to them between you and any other three artists, 
their point of view? Since the big players use mp3.com, I think you are

> Also - who else hosts music for free (or a moderate cost if need be) ?

Your local isp should be able to help you - anyone can host streaming 
You don't even need a RealAudio server, if you use the http streaming