September 27, 2012 at 11:27 am

How To: Get Paid for iTunes Tweets

Embedded iTunes app

For those who haven’t noticed, the web version of Twitter includes an embedded iTunes app, of sorts. Tweeting an iTunes album link creates a “view album” option, which appears near the re-tweet and favorite buttons at the bottom of a tweet, if you’re looking at it on Twitter.com.

If you (or your band or business or whatever) tweet links to music, your followers can easily stream previews of the songs straight from the page, and click on the iTunes button to buy it.

Apple has an affiliate program for iTunes that lets you earn commissions by posting links to not only the music, but also the apps in iTunes. If someone clicks your link and purchases that content within 72 hours, you will earn a 4-5 percent commission on “all qualifying revenue generated by affiliate coded links.”

Twitter itself has taken advantage of Apple’s affiliate program, by adding affiliate ID to links to the iTunes music and apps – but only in the preview pane pictured to the right, and only when people click through from Twitter.com.

That means that you, your band, your brand, or whatever, can, just like Twitter, get paid by tweeting links to iTunes stuff. Maybe it’s not the best way to get rich fast, but all those cents will eventually add up, and your tweets about that new album you have on repeat, or that app you can’t stop using, could end up making you some real money. Besides, if you make music that’s for sale on iTunes, you’ll get 40 cents per sale instead of the usual 35.

First, join Apple’s Affiliate Program. Then simply tweet links to iTunes stuff using your affiliate ID (Apple explains how to do this), using whatever you normally use to tweet (in other words, you don’t have to use the web version). Established artists can promote friends’ albums, or express their personal musical tastes, while up-and-comers could make a little extra cash from their promotions.

There is a slight catch: If your followers accessing your tweets on Twitter.com and use the iTunes preview pane rather than the link in the body of your tweet, their purchase will pay Twitter instead of you.

This could also be interesting for fans, because anyone can sign up for the affiliate program, becoming part of a de facto street team, getting paid to promote stuff on Twitter. Normally, devoted fans promote their favorite bands even without getting paid — but if you’re doing it anyway, why not sign up to be an affiliate? You could stand to earn a few extra bucks from your next tweet.