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Old 07-10-2008, 12:56 PM   #1
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Cool Self Releasing an Album

Hello UG, I need the help of some people who have possibly self released an album to sell at shows without any label backing. Over the last year I've been gaining a small following in the coffeshop/acoustic crowd and I'd liked to sell an album/demo at my shows. So I have a few questions

1. Which disc distribution service (people who print your album covers and discs)?

2. Is it smarter to sell a demo or a full album (I heard someone online saying a demo is smarte because if you are to get signed, labels don't want to re release all your songs)?

3. And online distribution (Itunes, Napster, etc.)?

thanks for any help,
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarfan93

1. Which disc distribution service (people who print your album covers and discs)?

i hate to say it, but this is best google-able, there are several services that do this and depending on the quantity you want done at a time one service may be better than another. this is something you REALLY want to shop around. smaller places may be better as well because you might be able to work out a better deal if you don't have a giant company involved. make sure to ALWAYS ask for at least images of their previous work so you know what they are capable of.
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Originally Posted by guitarfan93
2. Is it smarter to sell a demo or a full album (I heard someone online saying a demo is smarte because if you are to get signed, labels don't want to re release all your songs)?

well you're already assuming you're doing the recording, printing and sales out of your own hands and pocket. now look at it like this. do you have 12 songs but only 6 are really good? if this is the case just use those 6. if you have 12 songs that you are positive are album worthy them put all 12 on there. you want to give your fans the best bang for the buck and you don't want them to pop the cd in and go "good song, cr@p, cr@p, cr@p, good song, good song, cr@p,cr@p,cr@p" you want them to pop the cd in and listen beginning to end. if a record company signs you they may not want to redistribute the whole cd, but then again some might consider it good (i can't honestly say one way or the other) because then it shows you have a whole cd worth of material ready, all they'd want to do it re-record it professionally and distribute it nationally. i'd think that would cost less for the record company and cause far fewer headaches. especially if its proven that the songs you wrote without a producer can sell and get fans.
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarfan93
3. And online distribution (Itunes, Napster, etc.)?

i have questions about this as well, i BELIEVE you have to go through an outside agent who can hook you up to Itunes. i believe in the US the guitarcenter chain has agents that can do this. check around with some local music stores that are big and see if they know. i'm recording an album as well and am considering online digital distribution as my #1 source of sales.
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:14 PM   #3
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i have questions about this as well, i BELIEVE you have to go through an outside agent who can hook you up to Itunes. i believe in the US the guitarcenter chain has agents that can do this. check around with some local music stores that are big and see if they know. i'm recording an album as well and am considering online digital distribution as my #1 source of sales.


yes, I believe guitarcenter's thing is called tunecore. I've been looking at them for a while and it seem they give a pretty big deal and they're really the only company who does this sort of work, so i'm pretty sure I'll go with them
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by guitarfan93
yes, I believe guitarcenter's thing is called tunecore. I've been looking at them for a while and it seem they give a pretty big deal and they're really the only company who does this sort of work, so i'm pretty sure I'll go with them


Don't use TuneCore. They rip you off royally. There are better services out there.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by guitarfan93
1. Which disc distribution service (people who print your album covers and discs)?


We used Hypnotic Duplication. They are a middle-man who deals with Sony. Sony does loads of the major label stuff. But why don't I just deal directly with Sony and cut out the middle man?" Because Johnny don't play that way.

Hypnotic has an office is Lewiston, NY. We used the Hamilton office, but they were awesome to deal with. We had tons of problems (our problem, not theirs) with one of our graphics, and the Hamilton guy put me in touch with the St. Catherine's guy, who exchanged three or four pretty detailed emails with me and helped me out.

The guy who runs Hypnotic is a guy named Tom Tremeuth, who produced a lot of '80's hard rock bands - Honeymoon Suite, Helix, etc. He knows the industry quite well, and is into managing, duplication, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarfan93
2. Is it smarter to sell a demo or a full album (I heard someone online saying a demo is smarte because if you are to get signed, labels don't want to re release all your songs)?


We went with full-length album. A few reasons.
1. People attach more credibility to a band that has a full-length CD than they do to a band that has a three-song demo.
2. We're probably not going to get signed anyways, so why not put out a full-length?
3. If a record company really wants your material for the world marketplace, they'll get it there one way or the other. Indie albums have been re-recorded and released, sometimes just remixed, and sometimes released as-is - whatever they feel is their money best spent to get the most mileage out of it.
4. We were footing the whole thing ourselves and wanted to say "we did this" in the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarfan93
3. And online distribution (Itunes, Napster, etc.)?

thanks for any help,
guitarfan


We sell our CD on line through our website using a PayPal account. Very easy. We've not yet ventured into the single-song download services. I think CD Baby can get you on iTunes as well, but might be wrong on that. IIRC, Myspace also had a feature where you could sell your tracks on line. Frost something-or-other.

Beyond that, I'll be watching this thread for answers on this one.

CT
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:56 PM   #6
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Disk Factory is the best company i"ve come across for the printing and duplication, they have some really great packages and the have a lot of options to choose from depending on your budget. the good part is that throughout the spectrum of packages and ranging prices, all of them still give you a professional looking product that you can sell.

If you have a full length;s worth of good material, go with the full length. There's almost a 0% chance some major label is gonna come along and sign you off of your first cd. More likely, you'll get picked up by a small local label, who will then probably just help you pay for the cost of printing more of the album and also help you get it out to more people.

Cd baby can get you on i-tunes for like a 30 dollar fee and you can also sell songs through their site directly i believe.
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Old 07-13-2008, 03:13 PM   #7
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the best thing to do is to post ure music on itunes and sell it there, that way you can promote ureself over the internet, and almost everyone has a computer, when ure playing a gig hand out flyers and mention your musics available on itunes, ure saving ureself around 450 quid in cd printing that way
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:54 AM   #8
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...except a lot of people might buy your CD on the spot (ie impulse buying) who wouldn't otherwise be quite so motivated later on when they just happen to remember some guy in a band gave you a business card....

CT
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Old 07-17-2008, 03:57 PM   #9
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I havent posted on this thread for a while but i thought i'd revive because of a few questions and comments

Quote:
Originally Posted by VIRUSDETECTED
Don't use TuneCore. They rip you off royally. There are better services out there.

How so? They don't take any royalties, just a flat fee

Quote:
Originally Posted by axemanchris
...except a lot of people might buy your CD on the spot (ie impulse buying) who wouldn't otherwise be quite so motivated later on when they just happen to remember some guy in a band gave you a business card....

CT

I agree, i will probaly do both, sell online via itunes, and sell actual cds at gigs.
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Old 07-17-2008, 04:33 PM   #10
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You could go the DIY route as well.

-For $30 you can get a Lightscribe drive on newegg.
-A pack of 25 multi-colored discs is about $20 or less.
-You can get 100 Jewel cases for less then $10
-Make your inersts on a template and get them printed at Kinko's.

Aside from the initial investment on the burner, you can make your own cd's for less then a buck a pop. The discs are monochromatic, but as long as you keep that in mind when designing the label it can come out look pretty good.

As for digital distrobution, I'm not really sure.
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Old 07-17-2008, 04:38 PM   #11
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That works awesome for a demo. For a release that people are going to be asked to buy, depending on your market, people often want to receive a 'professional' product in their hands. That means something that not only sounds like it stands up to the other stuff in their collection, but visually resembles what they perceive to be a professional product. Sure, there is a certain charm to something that is home-made, and that same home-made charm translates well to the indie-rock aesthetic, but a lot of people want the glossy shrink-wrapped, bar-coded product with the printed CD inside before they'll shell up their $10 or whatever you're charging.

Also, it doesn't take long, depending on how many copies you are making, for it to be worth the price to get someone else to do it. Let's say you're making 200 copies. You're going to probably burn out your CD writer because they're not made for running that many copies in a short period of time. Ink is quite expensive too, and it doesn't take long for your printed copies to start looking kind of shabby before needing new ink. Also, all the 'hand' work that is still involved - trimming paper, gluing labels onto the disks, running paper through the printer, switching CDs, etc. Figure in the number of man-hours of work, but materials costs, and somewhere around the 200 copies mark, it makes more sense to get it professionally done.

CT
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Last edited by axemanchris : 07-17-2008 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 07-17-2008, 04:46 PM   #12
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Added to the MT FAQ, as I think this is important.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:48 PM   #13
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Added to the MT FAQ, as I think this is important.

thanks, i believe its important also
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Old 07-21-2008, 12:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axemanchris
That works awesome for a demo. For a release that people are going to be asked to buy, depending on your market, people often want to receive a 'professional' product in their hands. That means something that not only sounds like it stands up to the other stuff in their collection, but visually resembles what they perceive to be a professional product. Sure, there is a certain charm to something that is home-made, and that same home-made charm translates well to the indie-rock aesthetic, but a lot of people want the glossy shrink-wrapped, bar-coded product with the printed CD inside before they'll shell up their $10 or whatever you're charging.


Very true, I guess the DIY ethic really appeals to me.


Quote:
Also, it doesn't take long, depending on how many copies you are making, for it to be worth the price to get someone else to do it. Let's say you're making 200 copies. You're going to probably burn out your CD writer because they're not made for running that many copies in a short period of time. Ink is quite expensive too, and it doesn't take long for your printed copies to start looking kind of shabby before needing new ink.


On a lightscribe, the ink is actually on the discs so that isn't an issue and as long as you buy a quality drive burn out shouldn't be an issue either.


Quote:
Also, all the 'hand' work that is still involved - trimming paper, gluing labels onto the disks, running paper through the printer, switching CDs, etc. Figure in the number of man-hours of work, but materials costs, and somewhere around the 200 copies mark, it makes more sense to get it professionally done.

CT


Well, getting your printing done at a place like Kinko's eliminates alot of those problems as you can just use thier paper cutters to cleave through big stacks at once.

Also, with a lightscribe the bruner etches your image (although monochomatically) into the disc, no labels needed.

Edit: I guess I should be clear on my position. I think if you're a band looking to "make it" then you should certainly spring for professional duplication.

If you're in a local band just trying to get a bit of a fanbase together, Lightscribe'd discs are a great cheap way to market. You can make them for cheap enough that you can sell a disc for $2 and be turning a profit, or give them away for free and lose very little.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:38 PM   #15
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iTunes can put your song up for 9.99 from Tunecore.com. They'll also put it on other site as well. Haven't tried it myself, but it may be what you're looking for.
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Old 07-23-2008, 05:29 PM   #16
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I know it sounds weird but the EP I've got I'm putting on to the household burn CDs and putting original artwork in Sharpie over it with the band name and all that stuff on it and then taking the CD case and putting contact info and that kinda thing on it and it's not the greatest of things but that's how I'm doing it, and since I can't do gigs yet (I'm a one man band, can't play guitar bass acoustic in some songs and sing at the same time) I'm going to stores around my city and handing them out, I own the rights to the music but it's a good way to get a following from people who can't come to your shows or don't know you exist... you lose money at first but it'll pay off if you're lucky...
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:38 AM   #17
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Sooo...anyone know any Canadian (preferably independent) distributors?
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:11 PM   #18
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I know it sounds weird but the EP I've got I'm putting on to the household burn CDs and putting original artwork in Sharpie over it with the band name and all that stuff on it and then taking the CD case and putting contact info and that kinda thing on it and it's not the greatest of things but that's how I'm doing it, and since I can't do gigs yet (I'm a one man band, can't play guitar bass acoustic in some songs and sing at the same time) I'm going to stores around my city and handing them out, I own the rights to the music but it's a good way to get a following from people who can't come to your shows or don't know you exist... you lose money at first but it'll pay off if you're lucky...


I know your pain. I get and loose so many members that 95% f the time I am coming up with all the parts to my songs alone. It pays off in the end though because you know all the music forwards and back so you can help crit those who play it for you.
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Old 09-05-2008, 08:20 AM   #19
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I think selling your music online is the best way to go.
Set up a band website and you can sell your music online there for a reasonable price through a paypal account or something.

THen you could print out a few copies of your CD yourself. Get a CD printer and some cases and basically make it all yourself.
Then you can sell those at your gigs n all.

Like you can try to cut out the middle men as much as you can...



And don't sell your whole album first.

The way i plan to do is to first put up a single for free download on the internet.
That way people WILL download your music and listen to it, it'll help promoting your music. And you can also keep a check on how many people are listening to your music by checking out how many times your single has got downloaded.

Then next after about a month later, release a 5-6 track EP (not the full album) and sell it online for something like $3-5. Don't have it too expensive or no one will buy it. Actually you single downloads could be a good measure of how popular your band has become. If your single has got a good loads of downloads, then you can see that your music is getting popular and you can sell it at the higher rate of say $.
If your single hasn't gotten many downloads then you'ld hafta lower the rate to something about $2 to make people buy your music more.

Though going with economics you can do it the other way around if you're bold enough too. High single downloads - Music is popular. You can sell it for the lower price of $3 as that will still make loads of people buy your EP and you'll still make a decent bit.
Low single downloads - Music is not that popular. You can sell it for the higher price of $5 to make as much out the few people who will buy your EP.

Another thing about selling at high price is like the higher the price, the more expensive n therefore the more kinda "fancy" it makes your EP look and the more people might buy it to check it out. While if the EP is priced low, it could look something not that exciting cuz of the cheap price. It would look like a cheap EP with cheap music.

Anyway, pricing your EP is kinda a pretty complex process to find the right price for it to sell properly.

But yeah, this is one of the best way to go about it (and its how most bands who're taking the NIN/Radiohead way are going about it).
Single for free download first.
Then EP/Album release.

Put up good live shows to show your worth and gain popularity. Sell your CD at your gigs to make more money. Could also invest in some band merchandise. It'll help promote your band and make money.

Its all about promotion. The more you can promote your band, the more people will listen to it, the more your music will sell.
Try to get your music on your local radio station. Try to get your band reviewed in a music magazine. Try to get your band a spot in a music festival with other more popular bands than yours. All these things will promote your band and set you on the road to becoming bigger...
The more you can push your band, the further you'll get. Its simple physics!!
You don't become rockstars by luck. You'll hafta work at it and push yourself to make it up there.

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Old 09-05-2008, 06:24 PM   #20
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A few good points there. Among them, the notion that UNDER pricing your music gives others the impression that it must not be worth much.

One thing I'll add, though... or at least clarify....

NIN and Radiohead can release material for free and still sell it later - like you said, cutting out the middle man - because they used the middle-man record company for years to turn them into a household name. The record company has allowed those bands to have a fan base on which they can go independent and still do just fine.

For you and I, you can have all the free downloads you want, but if people don't know who you are, they still won't come listen. Like setting up a free buffet in your basement, not telling anyone about it, and wondering why nobody came for the free food. If they don't know it's not there, they ain't comin'. Even if they do know it's there, you have to give them a better reason to come than a free download. There are zillions of free downloads out there. Not a lot of people want to hang out scouring the net for free music by bands they're unfamiliar with. They'll go if they know who you are or have some reasonable expectation that it will be worth their while. "I don't care if they have a free download. I don't know who they are, so it's probably crap." That's a hard thing to get past.

CT
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