On the download

    Evan Bakker, Weinberg freshman

    Photo by Blake Sobczak / North by Northwestern

    He hasn’t been a Northwestern student for very long, but through his band Silent Agency, Bakker has more material on iTunes than any other person on this list. The guitar player and his friends have been self-releasing music since high school, but Bakker says they are hoping to land a record deal in the near future. Although college has separated the band’s members, Bakker says distance hasn’t been a problem. “It’s actually fine because we can hype up shows three months in advance so that when everyone’s back in town, we can really make it kick ass.”
    Let’s build a summer ($7.92)
    Coming up for air – EP ($7.92)
    Talk to me – EP ($5.94)

    Laura Schatz, Bienen freshman

    Photo courtesy of Laura Schatz

    While Schatz is a vocal performance major, most of the vocal duties in her band, Freemans Fortune, are shared between bandmates Chris Freeman and Maggie Fortune. But Schatz plays cello on “The Ghosts Next Door” and sings back up on “Keep Me Numb.” The folk-pop trio is unsigned, but Schatz says the band, which released their debut album in October of last year, plans on playing shows together when all members are home from college.
    Growing season ($5.95)

    The Main Men

    Photo courtesy of Christopher Kim

    Mike Johnson, Wienberg sophomore
    Christopher Kim, Beinen sophomore
    Bryan Millet, Bienen junior
    Zack Levine, Weinberg junior

    This Northwestern alt-rock quartet is a residential college success story: Johnson, Kim and Millet all met in Jones last year before recruiting Levine for drums. Since then, they’ve been recording tracks one instrument at a time on Kim’s computer. Johnson says coordinating shows around all the members’ extracurricular commitments can be a challenge – sometimes they’ve had to play shows without all members present – but the band can usually make it work despite the busy schedules. The band’s eponymous debut came out last year, but the group is gearing up for the digital release of their as-yet untitled sophomore album.
    The Main Men – $8.91

    Mori Einsidler (MORI), Communication freshman

    Photo courtesy of Mori Einsidler

    While most students on this list are releasing music without a label, some don’t even need a recording studio. Einsidler, who records under the name MORI, writes and records all of her songs out of her computer through recording software Pro Tools. But Einsidler, who uses TuneCore to distribute her music, said being on iTunes isn’t that special. “You go to the website, pay a fee, say your music is yours so you’re sworn to not stealing, and you pay like, what, 30 bucks?” she says. “You could be on iTunes.”
    Killing Time – EP ($5.95)
    “Prom Song” ($0.99)


    How to get on iTunes

    Wish you were on our list? With the number of music distribution services available online, the hardest part about being an international recording artist isn’t finding a record deal, it’s writing your hit single. While royalty rates are competitive across the board, the cost of putting your music out there varies.

    TuneCore charges a set-up fee of a dollar per song and a yearly upkeep of $20, and it will sell your music in international stores for another dollar per market (iTunes Japan, anybody?).

    SongCast is more expensive, charging roughly a $20 set-up fee for each album and an annual cost of about $70, but it can distribute your music to other stores like Amazon and Rhapsody as well as provide social networking integration.

    If you’re a fan of the tangible, with a set up fee of $35, CD Baby will make and sell physical copies of your album through its online store, but it also does digital distribution. Unlike its competitors, CD Baby doesn’t require a yearly subscription, but it does take a cut from your sales. On the bright side, its flexible price scheme allows you to sell your music for as much or as little as you want.


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