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Digital Audio Insider is David Harrell's blog about the economics of music and other digital content. I write from the perspective of a musican who has self-released four albums with the indie rock band the Layaways.

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December 12, 2012

A Quick Review of NoiseTrade
by David Harrell
NoiseTrade banner
I've been testing the NoiseTrade site/widget for the past week and, for the most part, really like it. NoiseTrade is a promotional platform, not a digital music store, though some of its functionality overlaps with the features offered by sites such as Bandcamp.

The concept is simple -- artists can create albums of up to 20 tracks, which listeners can download in exchange for providing an e-mail address and zip code. Albums are downloaded as zip files of 192k mp3s. All downloads are free, with the option to tip the artist $1 to $25. Labels can also use the service to create sampler albums. The service is free to use, with NoiseTrade taking a 20% cut of any tip money. Artists or labels receive the remaining 80%, after any credit card or PayPal fees.

The site is well designed, and individual artist/label pages can link to official websites and social media sites, as well as multiple stores (iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, etc.). Yet NoiseTrade doesn't try to do everything and doesn't offer a ton of flexibility. There's only widget design available and the suggested tip amount always defaults to $6. And you can't allow users to download individual tracks, only the entire album, though you can set up a single song as an "album." Some artists offer a full album, a sampler from a single album, or a compilation of tracks from multiple releases. Whatever you do, it's one album per artist name, and you can't create pages/widgets for multiple albums without resorting to alternate artist names. Josh Rouse, for example, has an album under his own name and one as Josh Rouse and the Long Vacations.

While most of the artists using the service aren't well known, there are a decent number of names you might recognize, including Andrew Bird, Sloan, Aimee Mann, Sufjan Stevens, and the Civil Wars. At the risk of sounding slightly hypocritical (I'm hawking my own unknown music) that's a good thing, as even adventurous music fans want to see a few familiar names on a music site.

My overall take is that while NoiseTrade only does a few things, it does them well. (Though that makes me wish it had more features, mainly the ability to upload multiple albums.) I'd love to learn more details about how well the tipping system works on average -- the percentage of people who tip and the average amount. The total NoiseTrade downloads for the Layaways are still too few to make any sort of estimate, and it seems likely that tipping rate/amount will vary, based on the quality of the individual release. But I'll post an update after the holiday season about our download count and the tipping rate.

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    THE LAYAWAYS

    Out Now -- "Maybe Next Year" -- The New Holiday Album:

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/maybe-next-year">Joy To The World by The Layaways</a>

    "This is a sweet treat, deliciously musical without being overbaked for mass media consumption." -- Hyperbolium

    "Perfect listening to accompany whatever holiday preparations you may be making today." -- Bag of Songs


    O Christmas Tree - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    Away In A Manger - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or Bandcamp. Listen to free streams at Last.fm.



    album cover art from The Space Between

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/the-space-between">Keep It To Yourself by The Layaways</a>

    "...about as melodic and hooky as indie pop can get." -- Absolute Powerpop

    "Their laid-back, '60s era sounds are absolutely delightening." -- 3hive

    "...melodic, garage-influenced shoegaze." -- RCRD LBL

    Where The Conversation Ends - free mp3
    January - free mp3
    Keep It To Yourself - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or CD Baby, stream it at Last.fm or Napster.



    album cover art from We've Been Lost

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/weve-been-lost">Silence by The Layaways</a>

    "The Layaways make fine indie pop. Hushed vocals interweave with understated buzzing guitars. The whole LP is a revelation from the start." -- Lost Music

    "Catchy Guided by Voices-like rockers who lay it on sweetly and sincerely, just like Lionel Richie." -- WRUV Radio

    Silence - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    The Long Night - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.



    album cover art from More Than Happy

    "These are songs that you want to take home with you, curl up with, hold them close -- and pray that they are still with you when you wake up." -- The Big Takeover

    Let Me In - free mp3
    Ocean Blue - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.

    More Layaways downloads:

    download the Layaways at eMusic download the Layaways at iTunes

    the layaways website