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 Forum index » Reviews, Editorials and Commentary » Commentary and Editorials
selling CD's on-line
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mnml



Joined: Dec 07, 2003
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 6:29 pm    Post subject: selling CD's on-line Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This story can now be seen at http://mnml.soulcatcher.net/dont_quitcher_day_job.html
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aquanaut



Joined: Apr 25, 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I did now about all those site he mention. Thanks for the info and the links.
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mosc
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmmm...

CD Baby is a good service, but they aren't dedicated to experimental independent electronic music like we are here.

They charge a $35 setup fee for each CD, we charge nothing.

They take $4.00 for each CD sold, we take only 20% (that's a better cut for the artists if you do the math).

The proceeds from CD sales here supports our community.

Forgive the shameless promotion of electro-music.com.
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opg



Joined: Mar 29, 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Speaking of promotion: Any tips on promotion and advertising? I sent my first demo to Expanding Records a few weeks ago, knowing that I probably wouldn't hear back. But after reading more about CDBaby, I thought, "I'd probably end up spending more money mailing CDs that setting up an account with an online store." Basically, I'm not so concerned with affiliating myself with a label now.

The only downside to this is promotion. No matter if I wanted to sell CDs online or sell mp3s for 99 cents each, I'm still going to have problems advertising. I contacted Grooves magazine a while back to see how much it was to put in an ad. It was about $250 (for each issue) for an ad that would take up 1/4 of a page. This seems reasonable and what I would expect, but is this necessarily the best way of going about it? What are some other good ways that won't empty my checking account so fast?

I guess I could do this: http://www.purevolume.com/oneplayergame (Three full-length songs, streaming, 64kbps).
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jbenzola



Joined: Dec 11, 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I really hate to be negative but I have much experience with this. The bottom line is is, if you do not play live, do radio, etc your CD's will never, ever , never sell. You are just one person in a sea of millions now that has the abiltiy to put out music cheaply. I have been selling my music since the days of tape. I have advertised in The Wire, Progressive, Signal to Noise, Fact Sheet Five, I have played live in some high profile festivals, I have had reviews in Newspapers, magazines. I have had interviews on radio and in magazines such as The Wire, Cadence, signal to Noise. I have had music licensed for a movie that appeared in a on the Sci Fi network. I have real distribution and my CD's are even at Tower Records and you know what...I sell very few CD's!!! It does not matter. If you do not have a substantial rep (and in experimental music substantial means nothing) all you are doing by trying to sell your CD's is listening to your ego. You will be fustrated when no one wants to buy your music and begin to question your creativity and worth. The great thing about the internet and technology is that it has made the arts more democratic. You can network with people worldwide in ways that were impossible just a few years back. But the problem with democracy is that you have too many choices and possibilities to wade through now because everyone can now do it. And the vast majority of what is out there is not worth the time to wade through which makes finding the choice nuggets difficult. If you really want to sell CD's, go out and play live as much as possible and build a following. You do not build a following as an unknown artist by placing advertisements in magazines..then you are just an unknown guy that few people will take a chance on. In the early days of the web, newsgroups were a great way to discuss and promote your music but those groups have been overrun with spam and every imaginable form of advertising that it is useless to subscribe to any of them. Posting your music on the internet was great for providing a forum for you and your music and fans but everyone in the world now has a site competing for your listeners ears. I have been playing and performing for many, many years. The best way to spend your time is to practice, compose, create and get better. Do not worry about getting your music out. When the music is ready, everyone will know. Just my two grumpy cents!!!
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opg



Joined: Mar 29, 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My problem is that I have already questioned my "creativity and worth" for so long that if I did not begin this horrible process now, I would NEVER begin at all.

I do appreciate your honesty and an AWESOME insight into the financial success of electronic music artists. You never hear about artists' financial success after they were accepted by a "good" label or were able to get their CDs into major chain stores. Most of the newbies assume that "getting signed" is the same as "getting paid," and it does not. I've been going about this process very realistically, making sure I had a secure job/career first.

Not to "bust on you" after your advice, but there is something to be said for the music itself. Perhaps the music you have pitched was acceptable for television but not to today's electronic music listeners. You have given a long and seemingly impressive resume that shows all of the fortunate opportunities (and hard work) you have had, but what about non-corporate feedback (that is to say, feedback from the individual listener)? From your response, you have shown that you have used every form of promotion and have not succeeded (by that, I mean, not selling many CDs).

What about individual mp3s? Have you already dismissed the idea of selling individual mp3s for 99 cents each as a worthwhile venture? I guess if you don't believe in the success of online advertising, you probably have.

I do agree with you that playing live and developing a following is the best way to "succeed." My brother creates the exact opposite music than I- acoustic folk. He plays regularly in bars and occasionally at college venues and has had hundreds of downloads from his website.

I haven't completely given up on the idea of making money from electronic music. I just try to stay up with the technology and try and think outside the box.
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

opg wrote:

I guess I could do this: http://www.purevolume.com/oneplayergame (Three full-length songs, streaming, 64kbps).


Just some thoughts, all IMHO and OT for this thread and I really know nothing about about the sales problem and everything hereafter is meant to be positive.

The Toner track from about 2:30 (when the voice comes in) till the end is absolutely fucking brilliant, it has emotion I can play that part over and over again.

All the rest is perfect, but also constructed or predictable, doesn't touch me very much, although I do like this kind of music.

But this end of Toner ... it reminds me a bit on the album called snake hips etc. of this jazz rock band I forgot the name of, Nucleus maybe. The album is perfect, but doesn't touch me very much except for this one few minutes of E piano solo which is brilliant.

I was thinking ... maybe a woman's voice, thin, shrill, a bit far away, speaksinging cryptics ... as a contrast for all the logic.

Sorry, but I really liked this Toner 2.30 till end bit, and these were my thoughts.

Jan.
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opg



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for the feedback! I was unsure as to whether I should put that song up because I didn't feel as confident about the beginning as I did the end.

I got to listen to Mr. Benzola's work. It was plastered all over the Web. It is definitely far out there, man. I'm not really into the 10-minute-long abstract thing, as Blue Hell has discovered. I like my songs short, so they tend to be overly-structured and ,yes, predictable. I was working on drum 'n bass tunes a year ago before I realized what I really wanted to hear in a song, so I was following a rigid drum 'n bass structure.

I'm one of those guys that rarely goes to concerts because I KNOW the band I like is going to play my favorite song of theirs differently. This is not a bad thing at all. Most people like this. But when I am captivated by a song, it's always the one on the album. I'm afraid to go see Radiohead play "The Pyramid Song" live because I think the difference between it and the album version will somehow make me enjoy the song less.
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zynthetix



Joined: Jun 12, 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jbenzola wrote:
Posting your music on the internet was great for providing a forum for you and your music and fans but everyone in the world now has a site competing for your listeners ears.

OT but mosc has what I think is the solution to this problem with an idea about organizing music and lists here. Letting people's ears determine what is on a list would help spread sincerity instead of spam. I have listened to OPG's music before and dug it, you would find OPG on my list.

jbenzola, your accomplishments are impressive regardless of disc sales. for me, things like that would be the real reward, and i'm sure those holds true for you. the real problem lies in making some money to support your passion without compromising it.

playing live is a good way to get a word around and sell some records, but not all electronic music can or should be played live in my opinion. I think the most promising form of distribution lies in the way electronic music is created: electronically. As an alternative to sending discs to labels, you may be able to pitch your stuff via the web (maybe with full bitrate songs and a private login space that you supply a potential label/reviewer the password to?).

OPG, i've heard your music through this site and there is a store here which I do buy music from. if you had an album or some tracks for sale, I'd be likely to buy.
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opg



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, this is pretty cool! Thanks for the kind words. Once I finish up a few more songs, I'll see what I can do with the album.

I guess one thing most of us can agree on is that no matter what the technology, people will all know the genres of the songs or artists they like. If the websites that sold music were for one particular genre (like electro-music.com, em411, BoomKat, etc.), Mr. Benzola's notion of:

"too many choices and possibilities to wade through now because everyone can now do it. And the vast majority of what is out there is not worth the time to wade through which makes finding the choice nuggets difficult"

would not be as big of an issue. I'm really starting to dig this idea. I'll look at the info for selling CDs here, Mosc, and I'll definitely be at the festival in Philly this summer.

Well, I guess this has really settled my worries for now, and I can get back to working on music.
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jbenzola



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Not to "bust on you" after your advice, but there is something to be said for the music itself. Perhaps the music you have pitched was acceptable for television but not to today's electronic music listeners. You have given a long and seemingly impressive resume that shows all of the fortunate opportunities (and hard work) you have had, but what about non-corporate feedback (that is to say, feedback from the individual listener)? From your response, you have shown that you have used every form of promotion and have not succeeded (by that, I mean, not selling many CDs).


Ha...you're not busting at all... Very Happy Very Happy The first thing is that I started my own label in 1990, Amanita Music. I had some offers from smaller labels for deals but I skipped that and opted out for 100% controll. I have put out 7 -8 releases in that time span and I would say that my total sales has been at about 700-1000 units. As far as the type of music I produce, to quote Frank Zappa it has "No Commercial Potential"! I am primarily a jazz musician which is a 4 letter word in the USA. My music is a melding of creative improvisation (Coltrane, Taylor, Sun Ra, Miles, Coleman, Braxton, the AACM, etc), with the concepts of LaMonte Young, Stockhausen, Cage, Varese, Ives, Partch, Riley, Xenakis, Messian, along with the musics of Sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Bali...a very unholy grafting! I have never had a problem with listeners. Most open minded people are very attracted to the music. I have been able to develope an individual language from all of these influences. So instead of sounding like a pastiche of influences, it really does sound like me! That I would say is the accomplishment I am most proud of; when someone hears my music, they know it is me fairly quickly without much prior knowledge. To me, the most important thing is to develope an individual and unique voice. You are also right, my music does not fit into the typical definition of what is "electronic music" today because it is a melding of both acoustic and electronic elements. I do not use a sequencer or click track because to me, that is what kills the rhythmic life of the music. My main instruments are drums and percussion so I am very sensitive to this. My main rhythmic influences have been from jazz players; Sunny Murray, elvin Jones, Max Roach, milford Graves, Ed Blackwell. The music of both Miles, Coltrane, and Cecil Taylor have also strongly influenced me as has the musics of Cage, Stockhausen, Varese, and Partch. And of course Africa and India! With that said, my music is very free flowing and does not have the standard rhythmic base that many are accustomed to.

Quote:
I got to listen to Mr. benzola's work. It was plastered all over the Web. It is definitely far out there, man. i'm not really into the 10-minute-long abstract thing, as Blue Hell has discovered. I like my songs short, so they tend to be overly-structured and ,yes, predictable. I was working on drum 'n bass tunes a year ago before I realized what I really wanted to hear in a song, so I was following a rigid drum 'n bass structure.


I am suprised to hear this as I have just about taken all of my music of the internet during the past year....call the lawyers Laughing Laughing Laughing It's funny, I consider all music to be abstract..what else can it be? It is only not abstract when terms have been defined on what music can be. Though my stuff sounds a bit funny to most ears, there is a definite structure involved. I think I had this conversation with Howard before, the only thing that is Free about music is when you don't get paid! All music follows some type of structure, sometimes you must listen a bit more carefully. My stuff is not for the casual listener. Many people are uncomfortable listening to it because it leads them into areas within themselves that they are not comfortable with. Who knows, you just keep busting away and create. As they say, different strokes for different folks. All I can say is keep going and best of luck with the CD. You should certainly put it up here if you so choose and see what happens.

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