Widget Enables Radiohead Style Distro

At first glance NoiseTrade is a simple widget that enables Radiohead style pay what you want music distribution. But as two dozen indie acts including Sixpence None The Richer and Sandra McCracken learned, it also can be a powerful viral promo tool which in the two weeks since launched has delivered 20,000 full albums for purchase and fan promotion

Artists distribute their music via NoiseTrade’s embeddable widget where fans can sample then either choose to tell three friends about it or pay any amount in exchange for an album download. Name plus an email and zip code are captured along the way. Fans can also embed the widget into their own blog or social networking profile. (See an example of Six Pence None The Richer’s Noise Trade widget after the jump.)

Share on:


  1. Ouch! $250 setup plus they keep 10% of all donations! And then you have to pay $75 for additional downloads, and the widget still has their branding on it? That is simply outrageous. Tunecore charges ~$35 to distribute an album to a bunch of different stores. CDBaby charges $35 setup fee for digital and CD distribution. This place wants to charge $250 so you can give your music away!
    Great widget, and great idea, but no thanks! I’ll stick with a free download link and a Paypal donation button. Someone needs to make a similar widget that can be hosted locally and lacks all the branding.

  2. I agree with Daniel — this is WAY too much money for most bands. Sure, the big bands can afford this no problem, but otherwise, who do they think they’re dealing with.

  3. I think it makes sense that they charge $250. That’s actually really cheap for the hosting of 20,000 albums downloaded. especially if you remember that you’re making 90% of what fans are paying AND get names, emails, and zip codes for all of them. That info for 20k new fans alone is worth more than $250… how many fans are on your current email list?

  4. The “tell 3 friends” option has a weakness: people can simply put their own addresses (most people have numerous addresses). Also, when you put in a friends name, it sends the same boilerplate email to everyone, written in a very casual first person to make it seem like you sent it directly. Some folks may be uncomfortable with this.
    I agree that the combination of $250 + %10 + whatever paypal takes is too much, especially for a concept that can easily be replicated.

  5. I agree the $250 is too much especially after adding in the 10%. Great idea though.
    I wonder how hard it would be to get a widget like this made on sites like rent-a-coder.

  6. Are any of you blue collar musicians? If you were, you’d understand how TOTALLY worth it it is, even for $250. That’s a steal for what they’re offering. Like they say in the FAQ, the $250 only covers their raw hosting costs on the downloading of your record. The only money they’re making is gambling with the artists on the tip jar. And compare 10% to other services like this (iTunes, Speakerheart, etc.)… Not sure some of you are really getting this.

  7. nope, they need to somehow make a free version of this (or add supported) so it can go on everyone’s everything everywhere
    open source it up, or hopefully myspace will come out to something similar now that would be amazing!

  8. Not wanting to keep harping on this, but would you really rather this be ad supported?? Spiralfrog anyone? Yeah, that’s a GREAT idea… 🙂

  9. Littemac: I get it. But it sucks hard. Bandwidth is cheap these days. Their service is $250 per album! And let’s not act like 20,000 downloads is a guarantee or something. So I can’t even put up my whole catalog if I want to. I run this sort of thing for my music now and bandwidth costs are just so, so low. They would be better of offering this free, and taking a slightly larger percentage (%15-%20). I’d sign up for that today! $250 / album (plus $75 renewal fees) is way, way too high. It’s not even close to being in a reasonable price range. I mean, what we’re talking about here is offering the music for FREE. But they want someone to invest $250 / album to give something away for free? Whatever. Give it a little time, someone will make a similar widget that works for free, lacks branding and can be locally hosted.
    By the way, you can do a similar thing with a PHP download management script (email address required to download album) and a paypal donation button. For free. I use it and it works. I have a whole catalog of albums available, get thousands of downloads and pay only my $100/year hosting fees. The widget is the only novelty here, and it is definitely nice, but not worth all that cost.

  10. I agree the price might be high. But I also think we’ve become too attracted by “free”. These guys need to make a living.
    Having said that I’d love to hear free/cheap solutions that others are using successfully so I can share with other readers.

  11. The $250 doesn’t bother me, but the 3 email referral does. We implemented our own distribution similar to NoiseTrade, and 3 email referrals isn’t enough to sustain, much less take the campaign viral. Email response rates are extremely low. A minimum of five referrals is about right, provided you do SMTP verification on the emails to ensure they are real.

Comments are closed.