The Self Release - Artist services, options, successes, expectations

2

Comments

  • Bytor said:
    Guys, keep in mind Bandcamp takes 23% off the top on digital sales. cdBaby takes 33% on physical cds including shipping.  And about 11% on digital sales. But cdBaby charges an upfront fee to list your music.
    I don't remember the percentages -- you're probably correct, but when you only have a few people buying your shit it's pretty easy to live with that percentage in lieu of the overhead of physical media -- and unlike with a record contract, you're not committed to that bandcamp model.  If you "blow up" and start selling a lot -- to the point where a record deal makes sense, you can change what you do. 
    I ain't falling for no banana in the tailpipe.
  • TravisWTravisW Posts: 976
    That's pretty much where I am with it. As far as money coming in, I'm pretty much going for "some is better than none". 
  • HaffnerHaffner Posts: 7,805

    I'm okay with the CD Baby $4 per album, and they did help get Lv1 into international stores.

    It took five years to sell 5,000 copies of the album. I never came even halfway to recouping our losses.

    I should mention, all the Facebooking I did back from 2011 to '14 did help us on sales. Plus, it's hard to complain when folks are donating money toward what I do. But I think, ultimately, unless you're established in the genre...it has to pretty much ALL be about exactly what you're aiming for.

    I aim for making great music, period. Whether it's appreciated now or post-mortem is moot, because I know it's good, and a lot of the stuff I write I like one HECK of a lot. Everything else is a cherry on top.

    Best thing about low expectations: I'm never really disappointed, and always happily surprised when something positive happens. Old Hunter said it right: "works for me!". Broke or not, this is what I do...it's not like a choice anymore.

  • Haffner said:

    It took five years to sell 5,000 copies of the album. I never came even halfway to recouping our losses.

    That was the situation we needed to avoid. I don't know what producing 5K CDs costs these days, but if we had gone that route, I'd be out a few thousand bucks, and still be sitting on 4900+ CDs.
    I ain't falling for no banana in the tailpipe.
  • HaffnerHaffner Posts: 7,805
    edited March 2018
    Haffner said:

    It took five years to sell 5,000 copies of the album. I never came even halfway to recouping our losses.

    That was the situation we needed to avoid. I don't know what producing 5K CDs costs these days, but if we had gone that route, I'd be out a few thousand bucks, and still be sitting on 4900+ CDs.

    Well, I did dumber than that and started out with only 500. The shipping is murder after awhile.

    That said, even if we didn't recoup, it's not a terrible number these days for CD sales. I imagine a lot of it had to do with a certain Rainbow dude.

    Btw, we shared kind and friendly words last Xmas. He told me he's psyched to do more for me (Mark too)...I didn't have the heart to tell them that ain't happenin' anytime soon. If ever. We can't regret the money spent on those (and a couple of the other) folks, however we just can't rationalize their fee in terms of return. The whole thing with Chris just underscored that. But I'll probably break down and hire a good engineer (for a lot less cash) anyway. I mostly just wanted a trained, objective ear and knob twiddler.

    From now on, anything I do concerning Rock has to be commissioned and/or heavily patronized; for the above reasons but also because I just don't have the same feeling toward creating Rock music that I once did. However, I do have a whole album's worth of "pure Dino" music that was intended for the more back-to-the-roots Lv3 (and written when I was still deep in rock), and quite a bit of it would probably raise a smile or three from a crusty Dino.

    So..there's my "mystery album", one that...who knows? Maybe if I take a dirt nap somebody will be interested in it lol!

    Okay, I was being blackly humorous. For me and the making of Rock music, the return simply doesn't justify the means, is all I meant. Duh, Andy.

    That said, I'd be super dumb to think I might not ever return to the genre. Especially if there was the obvious incentive.

    Post edited by Haffner on
  • Dinosaur David BDinosaur David B Posts: 17,493
    edited March 2018
    I wasn't criticizing your decisions at all, Andy.  You did what you felt was right, and were working with a different set of data points than we were.

    As our band proceeded along it's trajectory, things were happening behind the scenes that made it clear to me that our music was never going to get the marketing push it needed to sell units (much less attract record companies). So I was never going to commit to physical media (it would have been my personal $$ footing that bill) -- unless a record company got interested, and then it would have been on their dime.  In that case, Bandcamp made sense.
    Post edited by Dinosaur David B on
    I ain't falling for no banana in the tailpipe.
  • TravisWTravisW Posts: 976
    Haffner said:

    It took five years to sell 5,000 copies of the album. I never came even halfway to recouping our losses.

    That was the situation we needed to avoid. I don't know what producing 5K CDs costs these days, but if we had gone that route, I'd be out a few thousand bucks, and still be sitting on 4900+ CDs.
    Exactly the same here. Since I'm back to working on the Rule 17 recording, I talked a bit to my former co-guitarist about what I'm seeing with sales for Echoes in the Dark, since Rule 17 won't be coming back as a live thing, aside from maybe a one-off show. If it boils down to it, I can do a short run of burned CDs which, while a technically inferior product, is what people would be getting if I had a hundred printed up. 


  • HaffnerHaffner Posts: 7,805
    edited March 2018
    I wasn't criticizing your decisions at all, Andy.  You did what you felt was right, and were working with a different set of data points than we were.

    As our band proceeded along it's trajectory, things were happening behind the scenes that made it clear to me that our music was never going to get the marketing push it needed to sell units (much less attract record companies). So I was never going to commit to physical media (it would have been my personal $$ footing that bill) -- unless a record company got interested, and then it would have been on their dime.  In that case, Bandcamp made sense.

    I didn't feel criticized at all, Dave. In fact, I generally have a really good opinion of what you say.

    I should mention that the first cd came out in 2010, and even though the cd industry was definitely in a rough situation at that time, it was probably still, notably better than it has been since. It still ain't sayin' much.

    Post edited by Haffner on
  • Dinosaur David BDinosaur David B Posts: 17,493
    edited March 2018
    Haffner said:
    I didn't feel criticized at all, Dave. In fact, I generally have a really good opinion of what you say.
    Well you personally characterized what you did as "dumb," (your words), and I didn't want to come off as saying what we did was somehow smart/smarter. 

    Your first album had some "name people" on it, (including that Rainbow dude) which at least somewhat guaranteed it would get at least some attention from the musical community who follow those name people. And the audience of people who follow those artists still expect CDs. So I totally get why you went that route, and in your shoes, with that kind of product, I might have made similar choices.  I'm sure you learned some lessons along the way of what you'd do differently if you could go back and do it again, but I think your premise was understandable.

    We were in a different boat entirely. A bunch of nobodies except for a singer who's well known in dance music -- a music for younger people, where the media certainly isn't CDs, and the marketing model is totally different. There was no built-in interest or audience, and few people crossed over from the dance music side -- I personally think because most music made for the dance floor is disposable, and the audience for it follows DJs, not singers.  

    So while I felt the (obviously older) audience who liked our music absolutely WOULD want CDs, there just weren't enough of them to justify it.  I figured we could always do that if the demand ever grew. 
    Post edited by Dinosaur David B on
    I ain't falling for no banana in the tailpipe.
  • TravisWTravisW Posts: 976
    So while I felt the (obviously older) audience who liked our music absolutely WOULD want CDs, there just weren't enough of them to justify it.  I figured we could always do that if the demand ever grew. 
    That's what I've thought. The real difficulty that I see is that the demographic that would like what I've made, which according to every analytic I've seen is 40+ years of age, likes CDs. That same demographic is generally difficult to get excited enough about new music to buy the aforementioned CDs. 
  • HaffnerHaffner Posts: 7,805
    edited March 2018
    TravisW said:
    So while I felt the (obviously older) audience who liked our music absolutely WOULD want CDs, there just weren't enough of them to justify it.  I figured we could always do that if the demand ever grew. 
    That's what I've thought. The real difficulty that I see is that the demographic that would like what I've made, which according to every analytic I've seen is 40+ years of age, likes CDs. That same demographic is generally difficult to get excited enough about new music to buy the aforementioned CDs. 


    And as I mentioned I love CDs. I'm even putting my symphonies on CDs. I just like the medium a lot, and from what I've read, despite profoundly lower sales from even 10 years ago, both CDs and Vinyl do have their audience.

    I've gone all these years trying to adjust to mp3s, but to me they remain a "just checking some music out" type of thing. Anything I really love, or even really, really like (and/or just want for the collection), I have on CD. I mean, I even have the post-Perfect Strangers (up to Purpendicular) stuff on CD, and none of that is essential imo.

    I have to mention again, the shipping is the biggest problem for me. CD Baby does help with that. A lot.

    I imagine Lv2 will sell even less, but that's more because of my refusal to make a sycophantic homage to Dino bands of yore. I just can't stand feeling handcuffed when I'm writing, and I'll pay for it when the album gets a third party mixdown and release. I'd like to see that last happen soon...but we've prioritized Jasmine's graphic novel for now. It's been way too long putting that out, and its integral to the project. And yeah, if you guessed, we'll probably use Book Baby for it :)

    Lv2 (or rather, the writing, arranging, and orchestration for) was where I found my own voice in resolute conflict with the old school forms. It's also where I had to get mean with myself and start doing a clearance sale on everything that influenced me. So, like I said, that album will be released with very low expectations...but fantastic satisfaction for making an album I'll want to listen to over and over again...instead of getting so burned out on the progressions I feel like I have to distance myself.

    I'm proud of Lv1 (though I was robbed of co-producer credit and mourn the exclusion of the blast beats I wanted from two songs). But I had to get real with myself there as well; it was meant originally to be both a love letter and a de factor score for her screenplay. But more the former. I see now that I really shouldn't have tried to make it more than those things, which I ended up guilty of on too many occasions.

    I like the relative simplicity of CD Baby. I know how it works. That's nice. Most other non-Japanese distributors (especially rip off artists like Yesterrock records)...we never knew really WHAT was going on in terms of sales, where exactly the cd was being sold, etc.



    Post edited by Haffner on
  • BytorBytor Posts: 1,547
    Yeah, it's definitely the older crowd like Dave alluded to that prefer the physical cd with all the imagery and lyrics if possible.. But I see even that changing. Shoot, I'm even changing. More time than not anymore I buy the down load cd, put it on a 132gb flash drive dedicated for music and slap it into the wife's G80 when we leave.
     For now, I'm happy that Ariel's Attic pays it's own bills.. That hasn't ,and wont always be the case.
  • TravisWTravisW Posts: 976
    Bytor said:
    Yeah, it's definitely the older crowd like Dave alluded to that prefer the physical cd with all the imagery and lyrics if possible.. But I see even that changing. Shoot, I'm even changing. More time than not anymore I buy the down load cd, put it on a 132gb flash drive dedicated for music and slap it into the wife's G80 when we leave.
     For now, I'm happy that Ariel's Attic pays it's own bills.. That hasn't ,and wont always be the case.
    Same thing here. Not being able to easily go to a store and buy something has changed that somewhat. Plus, I already started getting myself used to downloading when it came to finally replacing some things I'd previously had on cassette and could get cheaper as a download. 

    I had a big (too big) art tie-in planned for Echoes, but I ultimately lost steam on it. I'm glad I did: otherwise, I'd have hundreds of hours and God knows how much money tied up in pictures for a downloadable .pdf. 
  • HaffnerHaffner Posts: 7,805
    TravisW said:
     

    I had a big (too big) art tie-in planned for Echoes, but I ultimately lost steam on it. I'm glad I did: otherwise, I'd have hundreds of hours and God knows how much money tied up in pictures for a downloadable .pdf. 
    This was an idea Jasmine and I started back in the beginning, because Ken was interested from the moment we asked him (Vince, too). However, this is yet another big investment that never got anywhere near paid back. I wouldn't recommend it.
Sign In or Register to comment.