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 (This article was originally published at Suite 101.com.  It appears with their permission as per the contributing writer agreement)

Music on the Internet
Once your CD is done you probably want to advertise your music using the Internet. Artists often advertise or sell their music by offering a digital download of their sound and the MP3 format has become the Internet music format.

The MP3 format compresses your music into small files that can be easily downloaded by listeners and shoppers from sites such as MP3.com, Rolling Stone, IUMA and a host of other sites. While the compression used by the MP3 format does alter the quality of your music, the reduction in file size for your listeners is worth the trade off.

MP3 or Not
Now the big question – to MP3 or not. The decision about whether or not to offer your music in the MP3 format is a personal one. I have worked with artists that believe that offering full MP3 versions of their music hurts their sales. Because bands and artists often offer the best song off their CD as a free download, they feel that the listener will not be converted to a CD buyer. Other artists see this as a way to increase sales as well as visibility and name recognition. Even if you do not want to offer free full versions of your songs as MP3s, you can still use the MP3 format to create a short 1 or 2 minute taste of your music to be downloaded.

Nuts and Bolts of MP3 Creation
How you choose to use the MP3 format is up to you, but the nuts and bolts of creating them remains the same. Some sites will offer to convert your tunes to MP3s but it is definitely one of those things you can do yourself.

To create an MP3 of your tunes, you will need to have your music on a CD to transfer it to a computer. You then pull your music off of the CD and onto the computer in a process called "ripping." The tunes are then "encoded" into the new MP3 format. There are a number of software applications that do these things for you. They are called "rippers" and "encoders." Often vendors bundle these functions into a single application. These applications are available for purchase on the Internet. Most of the free encoders that used to be available on the Internet have disappeared due to enforcement of an MP3 patent. Now encoding applications require a small fee of about $20, so that the companies can pay the required MP3 licensing fee. The quality and ease of use of these applications varies greatly so you might want to ask around and/or read reviews. Included at the bottom of this article are links to additional articles on creating MP3s and some of the MP3 rippers and encoders available on the Internet.

If you already use digital recording software such as WaveLab (Steinberg USA), you might want to check about the inclusion of tools for saving in MP3 format.

The standard MP3 format is 128 kilobits or 128 Kbps, which produces file sizes of around 1 MB for every minute of music but if you are uploading to an MP3 site check their specific requirements.

Most of the rippers and encoders are fairly easy to use so follow the instructions or use the help files.

Sites for MP3 Upload
Once your MP3 has been created, you will want to upload it to one or more of the MP3 download sites such as:

These sites allow you to create an artist or band page with links to download your music. Each site has different requirements about how to upload and/or link to your songs.

Pay for Play
Another aspect of MP3s is the “pay to play” option offered by some MP3 web sites. This pay to play option lets you collect fees based on the number of downloads of your music. Not all sites have this option but popular sites such as MP3.com and Ampcast do. Check out the artist revenue statistics to see how other artists are making money on downloads.

The following list is provided as a sample of some of the available MP3 rippers and encoders.


Other MP3 articles:


Questions or comments? please feel free to contact the writer at: wbeck@eigg.com