by Chris Anzalone, Demand Media

Apple’s iTunes enables you to expose your music to a large audience without the cost or hassle or CD mass production. You must obtain a legal UPC and ISRC code and undergo an application process through Apple (acceptance is not guaranteed), but upon approval of your application, you can begin marketing your album. As with any type of business, though, your success in the iTunes market will depend on the effort that you put forth. While iTunes offers some real opportunities, you must still do your part to ensure that your musical work reaches a wide audience.

Step 1Master your album. Or, if necessary, invest in a professional music mastering service. Music surfers on iTunes often discover new music by clicking on samples of songs. If your song samples sound poorly produced or resemble amateur recordings, this will greatly impact your sales.

Step 2Build an online presence. In addition to setting up an official website, stream song samples on musical social networks like MySpace, PureVolume and Reverb Nation, use networks like Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook to build your fan base and link to your iTunes music. Always include a link to your iTunes page when setting up a new website or social networking page.

Step 3Give away free songs. By enabling web surfers to download two or three of your songs for free, you give them the incentive to listen to your music, and if they like what they hear, they will want to invest in more. You can make free downloads available on your band web page and on some of the aforementioned music social networks.

Step 4Encourage your friends and fans to review your music on iTunes. Positive reviews inspire sales, and since your current fans already love what you have to offer, politely encourage them to visit your album page on iTunes and leave a quick review. If you are still trying to build your fan base, share your album with friends and family and ask them to review the album of iTunes if they truly enjoy the music.

Step 5Create public playlists (also known as iMixes), which are playlists that any iTunes user can create and view. For example, you can create an iMix called “Best Electronica” or “Favorite Blues Songs.” Create an iMix with songs from famous artists who record music similar to your own, then include two or three or your own songs to the iMix. To create an iMix, create an iTunes playlist with the songs that you want to include. Highlight the playlist with your mouse and select (Store > Publish Playlist) on your menu bar.

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