New Song-Selling Service Debuts

idittyThe continuing shift to digital music opens new possibilities for artists, but it also presents some marketing challenges.

Fans who hear a song at a show and want to buy a digital version on the spot usually have two options – buying a download code, usually presented like a business card, or purchasing from a service such as iTunes, which keeps 30 percent of the purchase price.

iDitty, the brainchild of Dan and Kimblerly Huff, launched on Friday. It’s designed to allow artists to keep more of their money and for fans to have a lasting memento of the experience.

The iDitty download card is made of plastic, like a credit card but bigger, about the size of a festival pass. One side carries a picture of the artist or band, providing a keepsake that can be autographed and displayed. The other side contains information about the songs and the download code.

For the launch at IBMA, Dan offered Wish I Didn’t Know Love, a single from an in-progress project from West Virginia singer Stacy Grubb and music from a few other artists represented by Jason Grubb Management. But the merchandise doesn’t have to be limited to music. An artist can also upload videos, photos, liner notes and lyrics.

“It’s a customizable iTunes,” Huff said.

Performers order the cards in advance, then sell them at shows and festivals for a price they determine.

If Dan’s idea catches on, he might be able to make a dent in iTunes’ hold on the digital music business. Or maybe Apple will come knocking on the door with an offer to buy the business.

More information is available at online, and apps for iPhones and Android phones will be available in October.

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, songwriter and upright bass player. He has spent much of his career as a wire service political reporter, including nearly 14 years with The Associated Press and a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and has recently retired as senior editor for Kiplinger Washington Editors.