What is NoiseTrade?
NoiseTrade is a service that helps artists connect to music fans. By way of our remarkable and embeddable widget, artists and fans can work together, exchanging music for a little information and giving fans ways to share music from artists they like.
How did NoiseTrade start?
In 2006 one of our founders, singer/songwriter Derek Webb gave away one of his albums
for free online, asking in return for a little information (name, email address,
and postal code), and as part of the process for fans to invite their friends to
download as well.
In three month's time Webb gave away over 80,000 full downloads of his album and collected valuable information for as many new fans. In addition, Derek has since seen many sold out shows and increased merchandise and album sales, including a curious spike in sales of the very album that was given for free.
It was the massive success of this experiment that inspired Webb, with the help of a few trusted friends, to start NoiseTrade.
How does NoiseTrade work?
Artists sign up, then upload their music to create their custom NoiseTrade widget. They can then embed their widget anywhere they're visible online. Fans who see their widget can sample the music and download it for free, tell friends via Facebook, Twitter, or email and even tip the artist. When they're done, fans can even grab the widget and automatically add it to their own website, blog, or favorite social networking site.
What does NoiseTrade do for artists?
NoiseTrade helps artists in a variety of ways. In the short term, you are able to
freely distribute your music online, and enable your fans to virally promote it.
You also capture fan information (email and postal code) and make money from fan
This leads to the long term benefit. The more you know about your fans the easier it becomes to make your living. For instance, knowing your fan's postal codes means knowing where your fans are, touring accordingly, and inviting those local fans to the shows. You can also make meaningful connections with your fans online and promote additional albums or merchandise.
What does NoiseTrade do for fans?
NoiseTrade provides an alternative for music fans who want to download good music
and still support the artists they love. And it's perfect for music fans who don't
have a lot of money but want to help great artists and fans just discovering new
music. You can choose to help in a few ways.
You can tip the artist, share the music on Facebook or Twitter, and email your friends from the NoiseTrade widget. You can even embed NoiseTrade widgets anywhere you are online.
What is a widget?
A widget is a powerful, fully functional web application that is framed into a small box. NoiseTrade's widgets are the connection point for artists and fans. They are amazingly functional yet easily portable. You can embed a NoiseTrade widget anywhere online that accepts HTML, including websites, blog sites, and most social networking sites. And for the more ambitious music fan, you can browse all of NoiseTrade's artist widgets on the front page of NoiseTrade.com.
Can anyone sign up at NoiseTrade?
If you are an artist and have any recorded music, you can sign-up at NoiseTrade and create your own custom widget. Simply click on 'Artist Sign-up' on the front page of NoiseTrade.com.
Does NoiseTrade have a legal statement that I can read?
You can read NoiseTrade's legal statements by clicking 'Legal' at the bottom of this page. If you have any additional questions you can always get in touch by clicking the 'Support' link below.
Why would I give music away for free?
In an ever-changing music industry, everyone is trying to figure out how to make
meaningful connections with music fans. Clearly there are more fans for music now
than any other time in history. But most artists and record labels can't find them
because they're a new kind of music fan. They're tired of over-paying for rights-restricted
digital music and being made to feel like a criminal for wanting to share the music
they love with their friends.
So this is the moment to go directly to these fans with a new approach. Rather than over-charging for music, give it to them for free. You'll be surprised how giving people can be when you don't require them to be, especially when they have already been given something of value. Rather than punishing fans for sharing music with their friends, reward them for it. At NoiseTrade, we believe it's time to stop applying the old rules to a new model. If artists and music fans can work together, they'll find that they can all get what they want. This is the core belief that drives NoiseTrade.
How do I get started?
It's easy. Just click 'Artist Sign-up' on the front page of NoiseTrade.com. We'll walk you through from there.
How do I make money giving music away for free?
You make money as fans choose to pay any amount to download your music. And we are proud to say that you keep 80% of that money. This is much higher than any current industry standard. In addition, there is a small credit card fee ($0.30 and 5% of the 'tip jar' per transaction) that is deducted from the artist's percentage, which covers any domestic or international transaction fees. As credit card fees are constantly in flux, these percentages are evaluated semi-annually.
How do I get paid from fans tipping me?
When you sign up at NoiseTrade you will be asked to enter your PayPal account email, which is the email address that you have set up to receive PayPal payments. This enables NoiseTrade to transfer the money that has been generated by your widget and landing page's tip jar directly into your account.
What is PayPal? What if I don't have a PayPal account?
PayPal is a state of the art, highly secure transaction platform. It is an internet standard for security and ease of use. If you don't have a Paypal account, go to http://paypal.com and sign up for free.
Why does NoiseTrade ask for my phone number when signing-up?
For security reasons, we want to have at least a few ways to get in touch with you should we need to. Also, if there were any problems with your account we would want to make sure we could reach you by phone, if not by email.
How often do I get paid?
Once per month, by the 15th day of the following month.
I started the sign-up process but didn't finish. Do I need to start over from scratch?
No. As soon as you complete the first page of the sign-up process you will receive a welcome email from NoiseTrade. This email will include your artist login information. Simply login by clicking 'Artist Login,' where you can upload your music and build your widget at any time. Once you are finished with your widget and you complete the activation process, you will receive another email confirming that your widget is active. From that time, when you login you will be able to manage your account information, update the content of your widget, view/download your results, and automatically embed your widget into many popular social networking sites, blog sites, and more.
Does NoiseTrade cost money?
NoiseTrade is free to sign up. We cover our operating costs (development, bandwidth, support, etc.) by keeping 20% of the Tip Jar earnings you collect.
What if I can't find the genre/sub-genre that I'm looking for when categorizing my music during sign-up?
Drop us a line via the 'Support' link below and we'll try and add any genre that we have overlooked.
Is my credit card information safe with NoiseTrade?
Yes. NoiseTrade does not store or even see your credit card information. We use Authorize.NET for our credit card transactions. Since 1996, Authorize.NET has been a leader in secure and reliable online payment transactions. For more information, please visit http://authorize.net.
When I sign-up, how long before I get my custom widget?
Your custom widget will be 'activated' in the last step of the sign-up process. Depending on the amount of music you've uploaded and the speed of your internet connection, this last step could take around 30-60 minutes. During this time, you will need to keep your browser window open until it tells you the activation process is completed. If you get interrupted, you can always login by clicking 'Artist Login' and try again.
Once that's finished, your widget will be active and ready to be automatically embedded onto your website, various social networking sites that you may have pages on, blogs, etc. You will also be able to copy/paste your widget's code onto any website that accepts HTML.
What if I misspelled my artist/band name during the sign-up process?
If you need to make spelling corrections to your artist/band name after you've signed-up, just click on 'Support' below and drop us a line.
How many songs can I upload?
You can upload between 1 and 20 songs. Singles, EPs, or full length albums are all welcome. And you can always start with a few and add more songs later, or vice versa.
I don't have a studio recording yet. How can I use NoiseTrade?
No problem. Next time you play a concert have the sound engineer record it. Exclusive material is even better. Set up a mic and record acoustic versions of a few songs. But NoiseTrade definitely makes the most impact when artists offer full albums.
What if I only want to give away music for a limited time?
Since you can change the content of your widget or pause it any time you can certainly impose any time limit you wish on particular content. When it's time to take down your exclusive or time-sensitive material, you can replace it with a live recording, a single exclusive song or demo, an older full record, or a sampling of a few songs from various albums to maintain your presence wherever your widget is embedded rather than cancel it.
What if I didn't write all of the songs on my album?
That's fine. However, it is your responsibility to distribute the royalties to the appropriate parties involved in the writing of the song or composition. Please read our terms & conditions and NoiseTrade's artist agreement for more information.
What if I don't own my recorded music? Can I still upload it?
Yes, but it is your responsibility to obtain the proper permission from the owner of your music/master recordings. Please read our terms & conditions and NoiseTrade's artist agreement for more information.
Can I upload cover songs that I have recorded?
Yes, but it is the responsibility of the artist to report all sales of those songs to the appropriate parties and pay any and all necessary fees and/or royalties associated with the song. Please read our terms & conditions for more information.
What type of audio files can I upload to NoiseTrade?
You can only upload MP3 audio files. And we highly recommend 192kbps as a quality standard.
Why aren't my songs uploading properly?
Check that your audio files are 192kbps MP3 files. If you're still having trouble, please drop us a line us via the 'Support' link below.
What quality should the album cover that I upload be?
Please upload at least a 240x240 RGB jpeg for your cover. Regardless of the quality, please make sure your cover is a perfect square. Otherwise, you will see small black or white gaps on the sides of the cover rather than it appearing flush against the edges of the widget. You'll be able to preview your widget before activating it, at which time you can make sure your cover looks perfect.
What if I don't have artwork for my music?
A big part of the NoiseTrade widget is your album cover. If you don't have a album cover, consider uploading a photo or something representative of you or your music. It might be worth having a friend help you create something that could be used as a custom album cover for the music you upload to NoiseTrade.
What if I am not ready to embed my widget when I'm finished signing up?
No problem. You can access your widget's code and our automatic embedding features by visiting your artist page and looking for the "Get the embed code" link.
I'm new to HTML. Can you help me embed my widget?
Absolutely. Just visit your artist page to find your custom code for embedding your widget. Look for the "Get the embed code" link.
When I try to login after clicking 'Artist Login', it asks me for a username and password. What is my username and password?
Your username is the email address that you entered when you signed up with NoiseTrade. Your password is whatever you chose during this same sign-up process. Your username and password were also sent to you in the email you received after signing up. If you don't have that email and can't remember your password, please go through the login process and click 'Forget Your Password? Click here.' to have your password reset and sent to your email address on file.
Can I update my widget with new or different music?
Yes. You can change the music and album cover on your widget as often as you'd like, but we recommend allowing a few months for people to hear your music before changing it out. However, sometimes fans will respond better to an exclusive or a live recording than a studio album. So feel free to experiment to find the particular music or album that seems to connect with fans. You'll be able to track if the new music seems to be helping or hurting the traffic on your widget.
You can access all of these features by clicking 'Artist Login', logging in, then clicking the 'Album' tab. And the best thing is, when you make changes to your widget it immediately and automatically updates the content of all of your embedded widgets anywhere online.
Does it cost anything to change the music and artwork on my widget?
No. Change it as often as you'd like. Have a new album coming out? Change out the album cover and upload 3 or 4 new songs as a preview. Then when the album comes out, use the fan information you've gathered to promote the release.
How do I keep track of my widget?
You can login any time by clicking 'Artist Login'. There you'll have the ability to manage your account information, update the content of your widget, view/download your results, and automatically embed your widget into many popular social networking sites, blog sites, and more.
How do I get the information gathered from fans downloading my music?
After clicking 'Artist Login' and logging in, just click on 'Download' to view live updating information about your total albums downloaded and money earned from fans paying any amount, both in total and broken down by month. This report will also show any months in which money was withheld from your PayPal payments for addition downloads.
This will also be where you can download an Excel-style spreadsheet with all of the information gathered for you from fans who have downloaded your music. You can then view and filter this information to learn more about your new fans. This information can also be imported into most web-based email services or email software programs for email list management.
What can I do with fans' information?
Once a fan gives you their information in exchange for your music you may use it
to contact them about upcoming concerts, new album releases, and other merchandise
you have available. However, we ask you to respect your fans enough to remove them
from your email list if they request a removal. The information is yours, but we
ask you to use it responsibly (approximately one email a month is typically appropriate).
I want to put my new email list to good use. Can you recommend any web-based email services?
We wholeheartedly recommend the good folks at Emma (http://MyEmma.com) for all of your web-based email list management needs.
If I'm giving away my music on NoiseTrade, should I even bother setting up digital distribution through various DSPs online, like iTunes and eMusic?
You absolutely should. While NoiseTrade is a innovative system for music distribution, it is primarily a tool to help you make more meaningful connections with your fans. You should insure that your fans can find your music in various formats, wherever they go looking for it.
I'm signed to a record label. Can I still use NoiseTrade?
Yes. However, you'll want to tell your record label about NoiseTrade and let them sign you up. All copyright and master use clearances will need to be handled by your label. Many record labels have found NoiseTrade to be a highly effective and inexpensive way to promote their artists. You also might consider recording acoustic or live versions of songs that you own the rights to, and uploading those recordings to NoiseTrade.
Can I sign-up for multiple accounts if I want to have multiple custom NoiseTrade widgets?
Of course! However, you'll need to use a different email address for each account when signing up.
If I'm an artist manager or label, can I manage multiple artists on NoiseTrade?
Yes, you can sign up as a manager or label -- which in turn allows you to manage multiple artists under one login. Once you create a manager or label account, you are also able to merge old artists under you account.
Someone is impersonating me and has uploaded my music to NoiseTrade. What do I do?
Contact us immediately via the 'Support' link below or email us at email@example.com to resolve any disputes. Please read our terms & conditions for more information.
What rights does NoiseTrade have in relation to my music?
What if I want to stop using NoiseTrade?
You can cancel your NoiseTrade service at any time. However, you may also choose to simply 'pause' your service temporarily then turn it back on whenever you're ready.
If you pause your widget, it will simply stop loading wherever it is embedded online until you unpause it (it will instead redirect people to NoiseTrade.com). Your username and password will remain the same during this time, and we will hold on to both your widget's content and the fan information that you've collected. Once you unpause your widget, all of your embedded widgets will automatically begin working again and will be accessible for updating by clicking 'Artist Login' and logging in.
Both the pause and cancel options are available anytime by logging in, then clicking the 'Account' tab.
How can I discover more NoiseTrade music?
The easiest way to browse and discover music at NoiseTrade.com is right on our front page. Click on any album cover to sample and download that artist's music. You can also visit your favorite artist's website, MySpace page, or Facebook page to see if they have a NoiseTrade widget. If not, tell them about NoiseTrade. Drop them a note telling them that you'd love to trade a little help for their music.
If I choose to tip an artist, why can't I tip less than a dollar?
There are several reasons. First, there is a minimum amount that we have to charge to cover a credit card transaction fee. Second, we think that even a dollar is still a great deal for good music.
Is my credit card information safe with NoiseTrade?
Yes. NoiseTrade does not store or even see your credit card information. We use Authorize.NET for our credit card transactions. Since 1996, Authorize.NET has been a leader in secure and reliable online payment transactions. For more information, please visit http://authorize.net
How do I 'unzip' the file that I received from NoiseTrade?
Your music will download as a ".zip" file. You should first try double-clicking the file. If your computer already has software that can unzip your file, it will unzip automatically. If not, you can you can download software that will unzip your music.
Are there restrictions on the music I downloaded from a NoiseTrade widget?
Absolutely not. There is no DRM (digital rights management) on any NoiseTrade music,
which means your are free to put it on your computer, your iPod, or any other device
that is MP3 compatible. However, the artist's music that you have downloaded through
NoiseTrade is intended for your own personal use. So rather than just giving copies
to your friends, help support that artist by embedding that artist's widget on your
website, blog, or on your MySpace or Facebook page and let your friends download
their own copy.
Please read our terms & conditions for more information.
What happens to my info after I enter it into a NoiseTrade widget?
If you download music from an artist's NoiseTrade widget, your information goes through NoiseTrade to that artist. That way, they can let you know when they have new albums coming out or when they're playing concerts in your town. You can always request to be unsubscribed from the artist's list by contacting that artist directly. You can unsubscribe from NoiseTrade's list by clicking on "opt out" at the bottom of any of our Featured Download email blasts.
I did everything the widget asked me to do and still haven't received my download code. What do I do?
If you went through the process on an artist's NoiseTrade widget and didn't receive
the email with your download code, check that your email program didn't mark and
file your NoiseTrade email as spam. You may want to add "noisetrade.com" to your
contacts list so emails from us don't get caught in your spam folder.
If none of this works, please go back to the artist's NoiseTrade widget and try again.
While I was downloading my music from NoiseTrade, my download was interrupted. What do I do?
Just go back to the email that you received from NoiseTrade with your download code and click the download link again. This link will work for 5 days during which you can download your music. If you're having problems beyond this, please drop us a line via the 'Support' link below.