How To Report Sales From Your Own Website to Soundscan

Comments: 28

Report Website Sales to Soundscan

One of the benefits of following a marketing strategy like the one outlined in Music Marketing Manifesto is that, if done right, you stand a very good chance of charting on key sales charts such as those in Billboard Magazine. A chart position can be valuable to an up-and-coming artist because it helps to build “the story” which can in turn help to open various industry doors.

However, it is surprisingly difficult for independent artists to report sales made on their own website to Nielsen SoundScan (the sales tracking system that is needed to make all of those sales count). Historically, the only real way to do this on your own (without spending a small fortune) was to go through a distributor such as CD Baby.

Last year in episode #29 of the MMM Podcast I introduced you to a service that made reporting easier for indie artists. Unfortunately, shortly after that podcast episode was released the company in question lost it’s ability to report to soundscan and there really hasn’t been a replacement option ever since.

Fortunately a new service called Single Music has changed that and independent artists are able to easily report their website sales once more.

I had a chance to catch up with the company’s Founder and CEO, Tommy Stalknecht, to discuss their service, as well as direct to fan marketing and the increasingly debated topic of “sales vs streaming”.

To listen to the this episode just go to iTunes >> Search “Music Marketing Manifesto” >> and subscribe. The episode should start to download immediately. You can also click on any of the following links and go directly to iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

You can also listen (or download) right here on the site. Just click the play/download button below.

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Have any questions or comments about Single Music, or any of the specifics regarding how to report website sales to soundscan? Post them below in the comments.


  • Heather says:

    It seems to me that as of today.

    An indie Label may be better off to take the hit and pay the $500.00 to Nielsen and register with them as a reporter.

    So all sales can be reported.

    Yes its a big deal. and an overhead. if you sell 500 albums in a year directly at shows through your collective sales (Square Paypal Website etc.) And you collect the correct data.

    You may be money ahead as your cost per transaction to report could be less than using the services which at this time are limited.

    It appears Nielsen wants accurate data. So they have put up a few obstacles to who can report. But not impossible obstacles.

    The requirements seem to be what is not actively published.

    It would be nice for someone to explain this process if they have actually been through it.

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Heather,

      This is a great point, and I agree. However, musicians tend to be so conservative when it comes to spending money on anything other than gear that the reality is that most would rather the absence of a large, upfront fee, even if it meant more money in the long run. But you make a great point. With the fee that Singles music charges, most would do better to just pay the up front fee with Nielsen. An indie label co-op could also make sense, where a handful of artists could create a label that shared resources and expenses for things like this. I’ll see if I can’t get someone from Nielsen to walk us through the process on an upcoming podcast episode.

  • Kitt Wakeley says:

    I’ve heard conflicting information:

    1) Soundscan doesn’t recognize any sales during a single transaction of more than 4. Anything over 5 is considered a bulk sale. A person can buy 3-4 at a time throughout a period of a time and all of those sales count. For example, a loved one buys 4 today for relatives and 4 more tomorrow for friends at work. This would be 8 sales.

    2) Yesterday, I was told that Soundscan only counts 4 album/single per credit card. So if mom buys 4 today, those count. But, if she buys 4 more tomorrow with the same credit card, then those 4 don’t count.

    Does anyone have clarification?

    • Hi Kitt,

      Steve here, from John’s support team. John is travelling and asked me to get back to everyone in the meantime. We hope you don’t mind.

      Did you actually get this info from Soundscan, or from Singlemusic? If not, I would reach out to either or both to get clarification.

      In the approach John is teaching, the scenarios you’ve described can happen, but usually won’t because his strategy advises driving people to an offer for a very specific album sale. Then after that transaction is completed you redirect them to a very specific upsell offer. When this is done successfully, the end result is two separate transactions, for two completely different products, totaling one sale of each.

      But even here it would definitely be good to explore more about what you said about the limit of products counted per card transaction by Soundscan.

      Let us know if we can ever help with anything else.

  • Sandra maiorana says:

    Hi l’m a singer and songwriter. How do l make sales with my music can you help me Get on the Billboard charts .

    • Sandra maiorana says:

      Hi how do l get registered with my own website for soundscan to be on the Billboard charts .
      Can you please help me .

      • Hi Sandra,

        Steve here, from support. That’s exactly what this podcast episode is all about. The service to do so is called and the John is talking with the founder in this episode.

        Let us know if we can ever help with any thing else.

  • Eden Moody says:

    Hi John, do you have any thoughts on the IndieHitMaker platform for reporting sales to soundscan and their artist services?? Currently I do not use shopify so am looking for an alternative to Single Music to sell on my website/sales pages. Many Thanks!
    P.S. Fan of your program and podcast!

    • Hi Eden,

      Steve here, from John’s support team. Thanks for reaching out.

      At one time we did recommend IndieHitMaker as a means of reporting your sales for charting purposes. That said I do recall them getting de-listed as a service for that purpose. So at this point I’m not personally sure of their status, but I’m happy to have John get back to you.

      Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hi Eden,

      We touched on this in the podcast episode. IndieHitMaker was the only option for independent artists at one point. But last I knew they were no longer allowed to report to Soundscan. However, to my knowledge they never changed their website to make it clear hat they no longer offered Soundscan reporting, and we never got clear answers about their status. So we can no longer recommend them. At this time it is my under standing that the service mentioned in the above podcast is the only option for indie artists who don’t want to sign up for Soundscan themselves or use a traditional distributor/sales platform.

      Hope that helps.

  • Moses Irubor says:

    Hi John,
    Can you help me find someone who I can pay to help me with this set up to sell digital music download on a shopify store and have it counted by soundscan.
    Also i like the ability for the shopify payment gateway to accept local currency. I think shopify has this option.

    Thank you for your assistance. And I need this service urgently.

  • chris says:

    I´ll be on this tomorrow – thanks so much John for the effort u guys put into MMM 🙂

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hi Chris,

      Great! I hope it helps you. Thanks for your interest and let me know if I can ever help with anything else.

    • Monica says:

      Hi- I’m considering using indiehitmaker, can you tell me where you found the info that they can not report to soundscan? I had a call with them today/ and they said they could- and I have not read this anywhere else. They seemed legit- with a good reputation. But I find this concerning. Please help!

      • John Oszajca says:

        Hi Monica,

        I heard this from clients who copied me on communication from Nielsen (the company that owns sound scan), as well as others in the industry. I reached out to Indie Hitmaker to get confirmation but was not able to get one, but was told they were working on a solution. It is certainly possible they have resolved the issue and can now report again. But last I knew that was not the case.

        What concerned me was that there seemed to be a discrepancy between the information on the site and what I was hearing from others in the industry. And I didn’t feel comfortable with the fact that I could not get a direct answer about their standing. But I am certainly not privy to the inner workings of Indie Hitmaker, or their current standing with Nielsen. If they say they can report, and you feel comfortable, then it may very well be that all is back up and running.

  • sean says:

    hey john,

    longtime student! i came across a something called cartflows. they offer a free version that Ive tried to implement in my funnel simple to use. but have a look and would love to get your feedback’sometime in the future.


    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Sean,

      I’m not familiar with it but will take a look. However, as it pertains to this episode, you wouldn’t be able to report album sales to soundscan unless it somehow works in conjunction with Shopify. Thanks for listening!

      • sean says:

        hi john,

        Its sales funnel plugin for wordpress that seams easy to use. i was think with in a mmm funnel you could somehow incorporate the shopify lite some how so each sale would go towards the charts.

        Since a mmm funnel is evergreen you could have your lead album in the charts constantly.

        just a thought

        • John Oszajca says:

          Does it use it’s own shopping cart or is it just a funnel builder? If it’s just a funnel builder I would scrap it and use the MMM theme, as that is designed to help you build your funnels and is made specifically for musicians. If it uses it’s own shopping cart then it won’t work with Single Music.

          You can certainly use an MMM-style funnel to keep yourself in the charts and I’ve had a few students who have done exactly that. However, it does take a significant amount of advertising spend to keep that degree of sales up for many weeks in a row.

      • Moses Irubor says:

        Hi John,
        Can you help me find someone who I can pay to help me with this set up to sell digital music download on a shopify store and have it counted by soundscan.
        Also i like the ability for the shopify payment gateway to accept local currency. I think shopify has this option.

        Thank you for your assistance. And I need this service urgently.

  • Aor says:

    Hi John! Thank you for the information! We have been considering this for a while now since we have been using another webshop anyway other than Shopify and its now another argument in favour of switching to Shopify.

    The first argument was that our shop service does not support upsells. And this is my question – does Shopify make it possible to redirect the user to a page on our website after the user has made a purchase?

    The reason it is beter for us to use a webstore service is because we have a big merch catalogue and we want it automatically integrated with Facebook catalogs and Google Adwords etc.

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hi Aor,

      According to my conversation with Shopify they do not allow a redirect to a dedicated thank you page after ordering, which is a real drawback in my opinion. However, they do offer upsell plugins. In my opinion they don’t offer everything one could want, but they offer enough to make it work exploring.

      That said, Tommy does say there is a workaround which he mentions in the interview.

      We discuss this debatable drawback in great detail in the episode.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • Plurthlings says:

    Great podcast! we’ve been working on our single funnel with shopify and the single app …

    In terms of the two apps you needed solutions for … have you seen Zipify from Ezra Firestone? He’s been making Shopify a lot more accessible, and now I’ve since deleted ALL my wordpress pages. Shopify’s app environment is 1,000x more stable, and Zipify is the absolute best app maker in the business. Ezra’s eComm store has done over $60,000,000 and he developed a custom page builder (Zipify pages) and an one click upsell checkout with custom thank you pages (Zipify one click upsells OCU).

    We’ve been using these Zipify apps in combination with the Single app – almost about ready to finally launch our new site! Been a long time fan of your work John, multiple purchases of the Manifesto over the years, and to me, this is all the continuation of this new independent online musician industry that you helped pioneer.

    Shopify is just such a solid an easy platform to get going, especially the checkout process. and Zipify OCU allows you to get those great post-checkout upsells going.

    • John Oszajca says:

      Thanks! Glad you liked the episode. I have seen that app, and have looked at a few others. For me, they were not ideal because they don’t redirect to custom thank you page on my own site, and while I haven’t done any side by side test, I am confident an upsell set up like this would lower my conversions, at least slightly. Still, I think it may be a worthwhile trade off for those who want to report their sales to soundscan.

      I don’t share your preference for Shopify over WordPress for multitude of reasons, but I also have no issue with Shopify for anyone that is happy with it as a platform. There is admittedly more and more that I like about it all the time. And I also really don’t think it matters what platform you use, so long as you can get the conversion numbers, and I do know a few artists who are doing great with the MMM strategy on Shopify. I do agree that the cart is great.

      Thanks again for listening and for the kind words about the work I’ve done. Good luck with your release!

  • Terrance Michaels says:

    This was great! What I love about this podcast is that it’s never fluff. There was some solid info in there and you addressed a few things I wouldn’t have even thought to ask. Keep’m coming John!

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