Today, Google announced their new In-App Payments API was now available for any web apps, hosted on the Chrome Web Store or even elsewhere. With just a few little lines of code, customers can purchase products with just a couple clicks without ever having to leave the app. But what does this mean for musicians?
The bigger part of this announcement (as a non-developer) is their new flat rate of 5% per transaction. That means if you’re a band that sells your own music, this is now the payment processor to use that will get you the most money per transaction. PayPal has a separate micro-payment beta you can sign up for that once approved, PayPal takes 5% + $0.05 per transaction, and that was previously the best available. (It’s referred to as micro-payment because once the sale price for your product went above $12 you would net more using their standard rate of 2.9% + $0.30.)
Currently, it’s unknown whether the new rate will apply to standard Google Checkout transactions that don’t use their API. I asked the question and will update when I hear back. If it’s only for apps that use the API, then existing e-commerce software will need to be tweaked to use it instead. And also keep in mind that when they say “app” that can simply mean a website. You wouldn’t necessarily have to create something separate just to use the API.
If you’re in a band that has music to sell, TuneLab offers free assistance to setup your website so that you can sell your own digital music through it, and subsequently directly through your Facebook page as well. (And if you don’t have a website yet, we can host one for you for free.) If you’re not selling your own digital downloads, you’re losing up to $0.35 per track and $3-$4 per album by relying solely on iTunes or Amazon MP3. And by selling your own digital downloads, you can bundle more items and sell music at a higher quality than those stores too.