How to Choose Where to Sell Sound Effects – Part 1


Many people ask me how to start selling sound effects. One common question is whether to sell only on a private site, or partner with many larger websites.

My sound effects library is distributed on almost 25 websites. You can download part or all of my library on a variety of downloadable sound websites from iTunes to and of course on my own website,

This has provided the Airborne Sound library with a lot of exposure and decent revenue. Seems like a simple decision to post my sound library everywhere I can, right?

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking otherwise. I was recently reminded of this while reading this article in The New York Times. The article deals mostly with fashion, and examines a trend of major brands to sign exclusive deals with department stores.

This inspired me to apply the idea to downloadable sound effects websites. Here are some of the pros and cons of multi-website approaches. This week I’ll discuss some good reasons to sell on many websites.

Selling on many sites

  • Increase your odds
  • The web is huge. If you place your library only on one website you limit how many people can find your sounds. By spreading your library across a number of websites you increase the odds that someone will find your sound effects.

    This assumes that selling to everyone is good, which I’ve also been reconsidering. There are strong arguments, such as the 1,000 True Fans theory, or the Long Tail theory, that show niche markets are better for your library in the long term.

  • Customer loyalty is based on feel
  • Conventional marketing tells us customers shop based on how they identify with the feel, look or attitude of a website. If you distribute across a number of sound clip websites you increase the chance that a customer will identify with a site that hosts your sounds.

  • Higher prestige
  • By selling your sound effects library on many websites your brand will appear to be more popular. This could be beneficial if you want more perceived clout.

  • Even if the royalties are small, you didn’t have that cash otherwise, right?
  • This argument suggests that a small amount of royalties are better than not having them at all. This is usually the case for new websites (after all, you have to start somewhere). This seems to be common sense. However, there are long-term impacts to be considered, as we will discuss next week.

In the second part of this article, I’ll show some reasons for selling only on one, or a few selected websites. Follow me on Twitter, or subscribe via RSS or email updates to receive the next part of this series.

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3 responses to How to Choose Where to Sell Sound Effects – Part 1

  1. Thanks for this article Paul, can’t wait to read more.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Selling Sound Effects: How to Choose Where to Sell – Part 2 | Creative Field Recording - 2011/02/23

    […] Last week we looked at reasons to sell your sound effects library on many websites. This week we’ll look at why exclusivity or scarcity can be a good idea. […]