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DIY Music Server Question: Selling Downloads

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First off, I dig this site and can't wait to show it to a couple of my friends who would really enjoy the stuff you guys have on here.


I am hoping that you guys will be able to help me with my situation. I have put together a small label of sorts with my friends and we want to sell internet downloads. I know that there are companies like TuneCore and others that offer this service, but the cost of this option would be more than we would probably make.


Beings as we would be getting a probably pretty small volume of downloads, I was hoping to set up a server using a spare computer, and also use it to host a website. Have any of you heard of this being done successfully? I know that there are certain security risks, but it seems that there should be some software available to simplify the process.


Some other info: I am willing to switch to Linux if necessary. I would prefer to do whole album downloads only, or at least have that as an option. The store over at dischord.com is a pretty good model for what I would like to do, though obviously they have better resources than I.


Sorry I know this was long but I wanted to make sure I gave as much info as I could. Thanks in advance for even looking at this.




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After reading this I realize that my actual question was if anybody knew of any software that would let me do this. I know that there is plenty of info on the web for setting up a basic server. That being said, If anyone has any other info they'd like to share, I'm all ears. I just didn't want to ask a question thats been answered so many times.





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I'm liking the way FreeBSD with Zen Cart looks. It's going to take me a few days to get everything installed, but I'll let you guys know how it works out/ if I run into any problems. Thanks for the help so far and if anyone else has any advice I'd love to hear it!




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From http://www.tunecore.com/


"What's it cost?

TuneCore charges $0.99 per track, $0.99 per store per album, and $19.98 per album per year storage and maintenance. Or, just put up one song as a single for a flat price of $9.99 per year, all stores included."


I find it hard to imagine that you'll be able to set up a server (if you count your time) for anything near that price, but maybe I'm missing something.




Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.

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Well, I didn't say TuneCore is unreasonable, just that it is a bit too much for my situation. We're trying to put out 3 albums by summer, so if I did the math right it would cost 60 a year just for storage for those albums alone. Then they add I guess it's a dollar to the price for an album? Or do they charge you a fee for every song you store? Either way, making back the money we spent on discs is priority number one, so if I can save a hundred bucks and be in control I'd prefer that.


Also, if I remember correctly, TuneCore can take up to 6 months to get the albums in the digital stores. Additionally, most stores either pay you back every 3 or 6 months, and you can only see download data then, not as you go along.


So a system where I can add new albums as I go, and be aware of download numbers, and charge a low rate for albums, and host a web site, all on a spare PC with free software, is worth a shot I think. Like I said, this is really going to be experiencing a small traffic volume, so I'm hoping I can pull it off!




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While you're at it, take a good look at paid hosting solutions and make sure you have a good Plan B!


IF it all takes off, you don't want to end up losing sales because your 'cheap and cheerful' solution can't cope with demand and folks get fed up of long waits and slow downloads. The average attention span on a web page is counted in the very low seconds - 5 to 10 is being generous.


It might pay you in the long run to make sure that your site can be easily transferred to a pro hosting company. Things like back-end software being incompatible may mean you have to re-write everything before you can move it. Free is always good, of course, but it might be better to pay a little now if it means 'Plan B' will be easier and quicker, if it's needed.


Just a thought!


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Haha yeah, it's a BIG if. The website, which is way secondary to downloads, will be as no frills as possible. But yeah, if we were getting enough downloads to slow things down significantly, paid hosting might be worth it. I have been looking though, and at this stage it's basically either this solution or no internet downloads, unless I find a small hosting company that is more in it for the music.


Do you have any Plan B software suggestions? Ones that would make a transfer easier?




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I think the thing to do is to look at it from the other end. Choose a web host or three and check to see if the software you want to use is supported, or whether it doesn't matter and you can just chuck it all up there and they will do the rest.


Your main issue, as I see it, is that you want to sell stuff. For instance, Chris suggested 'Zen Cart' - if you set that up, can you then, at a later date, move it to your paid host choice or would you need to change it. If your chosen host 'recommends' different e-commerce software can you redo everything easily. Better still, can you set Zen Cart up now in such a way as to make moving over to the 'recommended' software as easy as possible, later on.


Or not bother at all!! My experience of these things is that it is always worth asking the questions. If the answers are not where you need to be, at the moment, then at least you are forewarned about possible problems further down the road.


Anyway, good luck with it and THINK BIG!!


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  • 1 month later...

Hello everyone. Just checking back to fill you in on the solution I found. I just gave up on getting a server of my own to work a couple days ago. I found a website that does everything for you and makes everything real easy and is affordable, e-junkie.com. The only problem I am having is getting the cart to work on MySpace, but the cart does work as I have tested it elsewhere. Thanks for all your help though! I'm hoping one day to be able to have my own server with Zen Cart running on it, but for now this works.




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