iTunes Link Affiliate: How to Make Money Linking to iTunes Music

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 | Business, Tutorials | by

Over a year ago I published an article, How to link to iTunes: iTunes Link Maker — which described how to link to iTunes content from your blog.

I have received a few comments asking about how to setup an affiliate account with iTunes to make money off of content that you link to.  I will tell you how to do that.


Apple iTunes doesn’t directly support working as an affiliate.  In order to sell with iTunes you must use the official affiliate network, LinkShare. To join you simple click the link and sign up.

The second step, once approved at LinkShare, is to apply to iTunes to get an account.  That application is usually approved quickly (for me it took 2 business days).  Officially I think the turnaround is 4 business days.

Once setup, you use the updated Link Maker to link to content, or link to featured content.

Join LinkShare to Become an Affiliate of iTunes

Again, you will want to click the link below, to join LinkShare. The form is easy to fill out, and results are immediate:

After you fill out the registration form, you will receive some emails (make sure to click on the email verification link) to confirm your account setup.

Apply to Become an Apple iTunes Affiliate

Once you are logged in to your LinkShare publisher dashboard, you will now need to apply to iTunes.  You can easily find the iTunes Advertiser link if you:

  1. Click on “Programs” (under Affiliate Network)
  2. Enter “iTunes” in the Advertiser Search box in the top right
  3. The list of results should have the official Apple iTunes advertiser link.
  4. Click on the “Apply” button on the right hand side.
  5. Accept the terms by clicking on the checkbox in the pop up window.

Apple will take a few days to get back to you (but much faster than any other Advertiser that I have seen).  Hopefully you will get approved.

Meanwhile you can browse the other advertisers on the site for other programs you may want to apply to.  If you are like me, you will probably look for companies or advertisers who sell ads for the products you recommend to others.

Link to iTunes Music, Movies or TV Shows

Once you get that “Apple iTunes Your iTunes Affiliate Application Approved” email, you can link to content and get paid for it!

Log in to LinkShare, and do the following:

  1. Click “Programs” (under Affiliate Network)
  2. Click “My Advertisers”
  3. Click on the “View Links” under the iTunes row that should have appeared in your LinkShare account

You can now create links such as:

and finally, like it used to be: Jay-Z – The Blueprint – Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys)Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3 (Deluxe Version) - Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys)

You can click on “Link Maker” on that page to get links that are associate with your account, or click on some of the graphical links that Apple has decided will sell best (like I did above).

Other Information about iTunes Affiliate Networking

In addition to the standard steps above, Apple provides a few very useful documents that will help you to maximize your affiliate advertising potential:

  • Linking to the iTunes Music Store – Reviews the many options you have to link to the iTMS.  This includes not only the standard links, but how to build your own URLs.  Apple now supports Clean URLs, which show the end user more information about what they are clicking on than normal Apple iTunes music links do.
  • iTunes Store Web Service Search API – This is my favorite.  An API for integrating with the iTunes music library.  This is what you will use if you want to build your own AJAX widgets to display iTunes content.  Through AJAX / JSON calls you can pull information about the iTunes Library in real time (none of this clicking stuff).  This one really has a lot of potential, and would love to see a nice implementation of it.


It’s actually easy.  I know someone had asked about this and I didn’t know it existed, but it does.  Apple iTunes affiliate networking is actually pretty easy.  The best part, from my perspective, is that you can see stats.  I always wanted to know how many people were downloading the music I linked to, or how many even saw it.  You can track all of this in reporting, and even get paid for it!

Let me know if you actually generate a good bit of income from this.  I’d love to hear success stories.

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5 Comments to iTunes Link Affiliate: How to Make Money Linking to iTunes Music

February 3, 2010

Hi Sean,
Could you please help me with a question about my iTunes affiliate?
I got my iTunes affiliate email and it says
“Please remember to replace sdLeWWZvkZd with your own Affiliate ID to ensure that all links track properly.”
I’ve been reading that to find the your proper id, you must first create a link in Linkshare and dissect it to find your id.
But when I create an iTunes link on Linkshare as recommend, I’m getting this same id that iTunes is telling me to replace. Where am I supposed to find the correct id? I’ve been searching forums all over for about an hour and a half and everyone says to create a link in Linkshare and then you’ll find your ID–why am I getting the Id that iTunes says I need to replace?!
Thanks very much for any info–this is driving me crazy!

February 3, 2010

I was confused too. It looks like the ID that they tell you to replace, is actually yours. I tried by testing another advertisement out and looking for that same id, and found it. If you test out the LinkShare affiliate ad (and look at the code) you’ll see the same code they’re telling you to replace. I was able to implement an ad without ever changing that affiliate ID — an am now recording stats on that ad.

So no replacing necessary from my experience.

February 3, 2010

thanks so much for your quick response. How weird! That is a very confusing email that iTunes sends out. I don’t have any other affiliates besides iTunes, so I can’t compare them. It will be easier to not have to replace this id in all the codes! I’ll starting testing it out and see how it goes. Thanks very much, Sean!

[…] link to an article I wrote on "new developments" in the iTunes Link Maker. The article, iTunes Link Affiliate: How to Make Money Linking to iTunes Music, goes over the steps to generate 5% cash from any purchase made by your iTunes Link Maker link. […]

February 1, 2012

Thanks for simplying the process of getting my linkshare affiliate ID into iTunes apps.

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