NoiseTrade – Is an email more valuable than a sale?

NoiseTrade – Is an email more valuable than a sale?

Here we have another option for your band’s digital distribution. What is more valuable for your band in the current music environment, a one-off sale or the retrieval of contact info so you can reach out to that fan again and again? This dilemma has been researched by NoiseTrade, who offer the ability to sell your music for nothing more than an email address and postcode.


What is NoiseTrade

NoiseTrade is an online tool to sell your music, except instead of money, the currency is an email address and a zip code.

Wikipedia says – It was established by Derek Webb (US songwriter) who became one of the first major label artist to give his album away for free digitally on his website, where over 80,000 free copies of the album were downloaded. He then used the mailing address gathered in to book shows and after attendance at his shows had increased dramatically he decided other artists could benefit from the same idea of giving away music in exchange for location and contact information that may be more valuable than money made selling digital albums.”

When setting up digital distribution pre-orders for your new album, you must be strategic in your approach. That means, rather than making your music available everywhere, you should decide whether it is in your best interest to put your album on platforms like iTunes that do not capture your fan’s contact details for you. With NoiseTrade, you have the option of deciding what is worth more, the one-off sale price, or an email address & postcode. When selling your album online, consider focusing on platforms where you can not only maximise your revenues, but also collect data on your customers.


Interesting Features

Email Addresses – Getting these from legitimate fans is gold, email marketing can be up to 40000 times more effective than social media

Postcodes – Getting zip codes tells you where your fans are located, so you know where you should be touring

Tip Jar – The album might be free, but they can tip you anything from a dollar or much much more

Music Discovery – Daily newsletter to 1.5 million fans looking for new artists

Increase in merch & tickets – The theory is that fans will spend less on the music, but more on merch and going to gigs. Won’t always the case, but that’s the idea.

Also for books – If you’re an author or publisher, check it out for ebooks and audiobooks

No size restrictions – Upload a song or album, downloadable with mp3s and artwork

Social friendly – Music can be easily shared across social media platforms

Problems / Cons

The email addresses are not  an integrated mailing list. You would need to export the spreadsheet of details, then if you are using a mailing list service such as Mailchimp, check the fans are ok with you sending them stuff and manually add the addresses

20% of tips go to NoiseTrade, however there are no other fees

If you have your music available on paid platforms such as a website or bandcamp, those sales will drop

Your streaming figures on Spotify or Apple Music may drop

Sites such as Amazon or eBay could get away with dropping prices as competition is less

Difficult to talk your band members into it, how will you convince them to charge $0 for the music you all slaved over?

Ideas to make it work

If you are a brand new band with your first release, this is a good way to get people to hear about you that otherwise wouldn’t give you the time of day. You can then continue to build good relationships with these fans to support you as you go forward, then look at a different digital distribution method. A great starting point.

If you are an established band with an existing fan base, you could release a song or two on NoiseTrade before the album is out. This gives people a chance to check out your new songs and build hype, then once the album is officially released, you have the email addresses to promote the paid version, and have zip codes to know where to tour.


How to sign up and price

Create a free account at


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