NoiseTrade Selling Music, Legally and Well

Since it’s launch in July 2008, music downloading site NoiseTrade has rather quietly started securing a foothold in the ever-changing music marketplace. The Nashville-based website recently won Mashable’s “Open Web Award” for best technological advancement on the internet in music, and gave away it’s one millionth song download.

Since it’s launch in July 2008, music downloading site NoiseTrade has rather quietly started securing a foothold in the ever-changing music marketplace. The Nashville-based website recently won Mashable’s “Open Web Award” for best technological advancement on the internet in music, and gave away it’s one millionth song download.

NoiseTrade harnessed both the philosophies of the Web 2.0 viral marketing era and ideas from Radiohead’s 2007 “choose how much to pay” album distribution experiment when they launched in the middle of last year. On their site, song downloads can be obtained by one of two methods. First, customers can choose to send the song information to five more people and then receive the track for free. Or, they can choose to pay whatever monetary amount they deem appropriate.

“A great record is its own best marketing tool,” co-founder Derek Webb says on the company’s website. “All the marketing dollars in the world can’t accomplish what one great record can, especially if it’s set free to roam around and connect with the right people.

Webb, a singer/songwriter himself, released his 2006 album Mockingbird through a campaign similar to NoiseTrade’s current platform, and gave away 80,000 full album downloads in three months. Webb states that an increase in concert ticket and merchandise sales were immediately noticed as fans started sharing music details with each other.

“Fans are clearly responding to a ‘fair trade’ approach,” Webb told Music Row magazine. “In response, they’re being very generous and our artists are benefiting tremendously. Not only have we seen 100,000 full album downloads, we’ve also paid out over $25,000 to artists.”

NoiseTrade is open to all artists who want to distribute their music through the site. There is a $250 enrollment fee, and this covers the first 20,000 downloads and the embeddable widget that will roam the internet as customers share the music. The artist receives 90 percent of their music’s sales directly into a PayPal account.


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  1. noisetrade has been great for me as a fledgling songwriting musician. without being on a record label an artist has very few ethos-bearing outlets . noisetrade has already put my music in more hands than albums that i even had printed. if you fall in the right category noisetrade is wonderful.

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