The easybe.com MP3 store for your own website.

1-2-3 Music Store

About a year ago I was looking for a way to sell MP3’s directly from my record label’s website. I had two requirements. First, I didn’t want to pay a percent of each sale to anyone. Second, I wanted the process to be automatic. For example, someone comes to the website, clicks “shop”, fills his cart with MP3s, pays, and then without me doing anything the download links are sent by email.

Surprisingly, there were not many options. Building my own store in Paypal was over my head. I could get close to what I wanted but I ran into issues. Every time I tried to get support help from the Paypal developer forums I was spammed by people trying to sell me their finished stores (none of which were elegant). There is Payloadz which starts out as free but if you sell more than $100 worth of music in 30 days you need to upgrade your account to a pay version. I sold more than $200 in the first week so it’s a good thing I didn’t go with them. Snocap gives you a flash store you can put anywhere on the web and its the only store that will attach to your MySpace page music player. However they take the highest cut in the industry. Nimbit has a really pretty flash based store you can also paste all over the internet but again they take a cut. Out of all the ones that took a cut I liked Nimbit’s OMT the best. It also let you sell merchandise and sell tickets to list upcoming gigs. Recently I noticed they added Facebook integration. There are a few other download stores but either they didn’t work well or: they take a percent of your earnings! The thing here that I really want to stress is: Why in the internet age would you let another company take a percent of your moola? There are many ways to self promote online. None of the digital download stores will do that better than you can do it yourself.

Things to Come Records - shopEventually this lead me to easybe.com and the 1-2-3 Music Store. You pay once. $68 for bands, $168 for labels and that’s it. Its a complex PHP script you install on your server and Mysql database (most hosting plans include several databases on your server for you to use). If you can’t figure out to install the store you can pay Easybe $38 and they will log into your server and do it for you. It looks good and you can customize it to fit your own website. You can hear previews of the songs, see the artwork and fans can write reviews. You can also set up categories and it has mailing list features. People pay with Paypal or a credit card and the store automatically sends them an email with download links. Your songs are hidden on the server and you set how long the download links will be active. You can also set the number of download attempts. The best part is when you get an email telling you how much money was transfered to your Paypal account and what was purchased!

You can try a demo of the store front at easybe.com or visit my own store at Things to Come Records. Also at easybe.com you can try out a test of the admin area which I recommend. It will give you an idea of what you can accomplish.

I’ve been asked a few times how I customized the Things to Come Records 1-2-3 Music Store so instead of emailing each person I decided to put my answer here. I am moderately knowledgeable about creating websites and I put customizing the store at about a medium difficulty. It will take a few hours and some twiddling to get what you want.

Most of the files you are going to modify are in a folder called “shop”. Here’s the path you need to follow on your server to get there:

public_html -> 1-2-3-music-store -> docma_xxxxxx -> modules -> 123-music-shop -> templates -> shop

“public_html” is your root folder (it can be called something else, this is simply what my ISP calls my root) and your docma_folder will have a number attached to it instead of xxxxx. Once you are inside your shop folder you will see all the template files you can modify. They end with .tpl and you should open them in a text editor that has syntax highlighting. All syntax highlighting means the program colors the text according to the type of text it is. There are free text editors on both Mac and PC. I use one called TextWrangler on my Mac. You actually do not have to use an editor with syntax highlighting but I really recommend it as it will help you see clearly what is what and point out if you make mistakes (like not closing a quote). One thing that may happen to you is your FTP client won’t know how to open .tpl files. Don’t get stressed because you just need to teach your FTP program what application should open .tpl.

Besides the templates files the only other thing you will want to edit is the style sheet. It is found here:

public_html -> 1-2-3-music-store -> public -> shop -> simple_style.css

So you now know exactly what you need to edit. Backup any file you plan to work on. Start with the style sheet and get your colors and fonts where you want them. Next edit the newrelease.tpl file because this is the default/opening page you see when you go to the store. Here is where you can add your websites header and footer. You will have to do this for each of the .tpl pages.

Thats basically it! It will take you a little time to get used to what the code is changing on your website. Be patient and expect to give it a day or two to complete.

One last thing I’d like to add is that my music is also available on iTunes and Beatport. Remember that point of sale is important. Be everywhere thats hip or a good deal.

22 Comments

  1. Yeah, but if you use a hosted service like E-junkie (disclaimer: my service) .. you pay $5 or $10/mo. for selling 10-20 tracks .. it’s not any more than your website hosting fee and you don’t have to worry about managing and upgrading and troubleshooting your system when things go wrong.

    Reply

  2. Hi Robin. Thanks for adding your option to the list of possibilities people should check out. There is a nice thread going on at Harmony-Central about this subject:
    http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=1553145

    Reply

  3. I wanted to say that I purchased this product as a label for 169 dollars.
    After installing i ran into issues and mailed the developer for help. He was very rude in his reply. I had written to a couple of the email addresses that were listed because I got no response from the ones on line. Unfortunately the issues were never resolved.

    I then discovered that there was a security issue with the software and an “update” was registered online. I wrote asking how to determine what version I had, if there was a cost for the update, etc… No answer. I have mailed the developed numerous times.

    I tried to log into the site with the initial info I was given when I bought the software. No luck.
    So I have gone about a year now with no contact after multiple attempts for help, and I can’t be confident that the system isn’t posing a security issue.

    Some other issues…
    language support
    mp3 downloads getting cut off before end of song

    I feel pretty burned.
    I would suggest people proceed with caution.

    Leon
    two-eight records

    Reply

    1. I saw this and just had to respond. I too paid for the label version and kicked in the extra for him to install it. Rounded up several artists that were willing to sell their music on my site, some of them legit ones. The Easybe guy installed it and it worked for about two weeks, enough time for me to upload everybody’s music, pics and info. After that two weeks all the pages went solid white. I wrote him and he was unbelievably rude. Not only that, I would email three or four questions because he would take three weeks to respond. Then when he did respond, he would answer one question. Then I would shoot off another email and it would take another three weeks. It was incredibly embarrassing to have to tell the artists that the store didn’t work out. Long story short, he never fixed it and I never even tried to get my money back. The software is a joke and this Easybe is not so Easy and should be avoided. Thanks for posting your comment, it was good to see that it wasn’t just my experience that this guy has made a habit of it.

      Reply

  4. Hi Leon. Thanks for adding your experiences here. Alfred the owner of Easybe always replied to my emails within 24 hours and our store is up and running without issues. I am sorry you had so much trouble with them. I will email this blog post to them and see if they want to make any official response to your claims.

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  5. I have also had many issues with easybe shop. I have had to pay to get it re installed 3 times. I regularly can’t connect to it or my customers can’t. I have also had issues with customers not being able to download files. It’s a shame because when it works it’s great…I have my albums on itunes as well and frequently click onto itunes when easybeshop isn’t connecting…itunes connects every time. I set up 2 more easybe shops for clients as well, so I am very underwhelmed. Easybe tech support (Alfred) is quick to reply but often deflect the blame. If they want to do really well, the shop will need to be more reliable. Tony

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  6. Can anyone suggest another shop system for selling mp3s that is reliable? Please email me on tonykris@bigpond.net.au

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  7. Oliver, if you could please let Alfred know that there are a lot of disgruntled customers out there, that would be great. We can’t get in touch with him.

    You refer to a “public” folder in your instructions: “1-2-3-music-store -> public”. The instructions on the easybe website also refer to this folder. However, in the installation zip I downloaded, there is no public directory. Therefore nothing works.

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  8. Hi Ryan. I will email Alfred and point to this thread and your comments. I will let you know if I do or do not hear from him.

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  9. Hi, I am sorry to hear about all of the problems with this software. I was planning on making this a purchase thinking I could save time by unsing this as a solution for selling downloadable mp3’s online. But, of course I don’t need extra problems.

    if anyone knows of another solution with an admin panel that’s reliable please post it. I use ejunky right now but it’s a pain to do the button code etc..,

    Reply

  10. I just bought the program and have been trying to install it for two days now.
    I am also having trouble trying to figure out just where to install everything. It is not very clear. I think it is a rip to pay for the product and then have to pay to have it installed also. It should be as the site says, “no technical experience needed” or “easy to install” .

    Word of advice if your thinking about using this, DONT.
    Only order this if you count the entire cost of purchase and install.
    The way it is now, it’s like buying a car and then having to pay the dealer to assemble the car so you can use it.

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  11. Not happy with EasyBe music store either. It just stopped working one day and went to a white screen. The tech support was responsive but offered little insight as to why the issue occurred or how to fix it, other than to reinstall. Reinstall wiped clean the catalogue that I had spent hours and hours customizing, and there seems to be no way to restore the old info. I would advise against purchasing this product.

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  12. I found this article very helpful. I was pointed here from gearslutz.com
    I never tried easybe… looks a little pricey to me for bands but it sure has great features.
    I also wanted to point out that your easybe.com link in the article (the one next to the screenshot) has a referral link attached to it that doesn’t work (and doens’t take you to easybe.com either).

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  13. Any update Oliver from Alfred?

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    1. Sorry Aaron no… I think at this point it’s best to look at other options.

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  14. Just when I though I found a solution I read all of these problems. I was going to purchase the easybe music store program until reading the reviews. Tech support communications not being returned is unacceptable. I’ll keep searching. Good concept and set up though if it’s working.

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  15. we paid this company to install their product.. we uploaded our catalog and they said all was ready and working, we went live only to find out when a customer purchased he was unable to download.. tech support doesnt even answer our emails anymore. this product is a waste of money but worst of all a waste of your time.. thanks easybe.. read the all the forums before you buy this product.. i wish i did..

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  16. 02/14/2011
    I just noticed the easbe.com site is no longer published online.
    It is to bad that they could not hold it together and improve the site software. In the early days they were responsive and helpful. It would be nice to be able to buy them out and improve on the product. There is not much else out there offering this. My store works ok by the way and I’ll be improving on the software soon and opening it back up to the public

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    1. Let us know the URL when you’re running. For most people I suggest Tunecore to get onto iTunes and Amazon and Bandcamp if you want to sell direct.

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  17. For those of you who have tried to use Easybe and failed, I’m sorry to hear that. We’ve been running with no problems. However, it appears that Easybe had problems with their company, as they are no longer there.

    Phillip Martin… if you’re still trying to use this software, there is an area in the administration portion that allows you to choose whether or not the music is able to be downloaded by customers… you need to make sure it’s set to allow that function to work.

    They did need to make some improvements, but this really was a great tool. We continue to use it, and will do so until it becomes obsolete.

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    1. I have purchased this program and paid o have it installed. I have been using it for a while. Now when I try to sign into my admin area I get the following message:
      “The requested URL /1-2-3-music-store/[g.programurl]/process.php was not found on this server”.
      Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
      Can someone help me out? Not sure what to do now cannot get any tech support and, I’m not a tech savvy guy.

      I can also be reached at cnxt@mail.com

      Thanks.

      Reply

  18. I have been using the 1-2-3 shop alongside my music distribution website for years. I too am stunned that no one has improved on this model!

    While satisfied to be able to sell music independently, I always wanted to edit it but as I am self-taught, I was unable to confidently navigate my way through the smarty code.

    I appreciate the information you provided and the link to Text Wrangler.
    I finally figured out how to remove the unwanted menu items and will now attempt to modify the “look” to get my 1-2-3 shop inline with the rest of my site.

    Thanks!

    Reply

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