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A few questions about selling CD's...


Jeid
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My band are planning a release at the end of the month. This isn't a plug, but more, research and how others release their material.

We're going to release a 6 or 7 song mini-album. We thought about paying for 400 cd's to be duplicated with the jewel case, insert and all that pish.

Then I read some things on the internet and thought we'd do it ourselves. Our drummer works at a printers, so all the cardboard sleeves would be free(although labour intensive), I can burn all the CD's and print directly onto the CD's. This would keep our costs down, it would keep the sell on costs down and we'd be able to make as many as we needed, when we needed.

If we were to pay for all the CD's to be duplicated for us, we'd be trying to get our money back asap as it would cost us near 500. This way, we save money as do potential buyers.

So, my questions.(assuming you liked what you heard)

How important is the quality of the product on offer?

If my band were selling a cd in a jewel case with professionally printed artwork etc, would you be willing to pay 5, or would you be put off?

Even if you REALLY liked the band?

If we were selling the same CD, with the same songs, but in a cardboard sleeve, printed at home and manually put together. Would 3 be very reasonable? I

f you only just liked the band, would you be more willing to part with the 3 because it's cheap?

We're planning on possibly putting the songs on our website and sticking a donation button on with it. It'd effectively be like what Radiohead did, but with no minimum cost.

How much would you pay for the tracks?

What if you really liked us?

What if you'd only heard the stuff on myspace?

We're trying to claw back our recording costs as well as reaching as many people as possible with our music. I don't mind if we make fuck all back, I just want people to hear it. In fact, on the first issue of the artwork we did, it says: "Unauthorised copying, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting of this recording is encouraged"

Are we selling ourselves short? Or going about it the right way?

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i'd say screw the jewel cases and give the cds out for as close to free as you possibly can. Maximum musical exposure to newcomers is definately more important at this stage in your career than selling posh album covers to a relatively local fanbase.

Personally, I've had some success wrapping cds in A4 printer paper and selling them for a quid. However, even then it can be a hard sell out of town.

Might I add: good thread.

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Ask yourself this: At 5 per unit, are you likely to sell 100 CDs? This is what you need to shift in order to break even on a pro pressing. If the answer is yes then press them as the packaging is more attractive, the CDs will be printed and it will look more professional all round. It will save you time and the unit cost will be low.

If the answer is no, do it yourself, especially as you can get good quality printing for free.

You have the option then of making up only as many as you need. Say batches of 25 at first. Making them like this also gives you the option of selling them cheaper.

Try to print directly onto the CDs. It's cheaper than you think and looks a million times better than a label.

A good gimmick I saw one band use, was to also print up some CDs in cheap printed card wallets and throw them at random into the audience. Not too many mind!

Don't press if it's a self made recording. Make them yourself. If it's professional then press if you think it's worth it.

Has it been mastered? You can tell by comparing it to a commercial CD which will be much louder and punchier. Make sure it's similar material though. Don't use Kylie as it will mess with your head when you realise that her commercial CD is louder and punchier than your unmastered disc.

If you go the donation route, which is a double edged sword, only put up a couple of tracks at first. Then if it fails you don't give out your whole ep for nowt.

If it needs mastering, feel free to send it to me and I'll master it for nothing as an introduction to my mastering services. Then when you're delighted, you'll tell everyone else! PM if interested.

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Depends on how many people dig your band. If it's still on a local circuit playing to friends, then you need to be giving it away for next to nothing. If you are pulling crowds then sell it for a few quid.

If you all pitch in and do it all yourselves together, then you've saved money already, so just toss it out for free. I'd rather have people listening to my bands CD than not, so don't deter them with jacked up prices.

But obviously, if I properly liked a band, I would definitely pay 5 for a 6 tracker with some nice packaging.

There's a difference between 'professional' and 'nice'. Professional usually means standard jewel case with 2/4/8 page insert. If you do it all home made, you can really experiment with the packaging, which is way more impressive than a jewel case.

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. Professional usually means standard jewel case with 2/4/8 page insert. If you do it all home made, you can really experiment with the packaging, which is way more impressive than a jewel case.

"Alternative" packaging can be nice, but a pain when it doesn't fit in your cd rack, increasingly the likelyhood of it getting lost eventually...

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I keep band demos in a seperate pile as they are usually in plastic or card sleeves, and aren't visible between my piles of jewel cased cd's. I really love an interestingly packaged demo though. It's good to see bands putting an effort in.

A metal band back where I used to live sold one of their CD's for 2. It was just a CD with their band name on it (written with a CDR pen) and nothing else. Literally nothing else. Not even a plastic/card/paper sleeve. Nothing to put it in. Just a CD. I would never pay money for such an effortless release.

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For about 500 there are places that will get you 1000 if you can sell them. Alternatively, look at some of the places that duplicate short runs, because they come in around 1-2 each, and look the part- printed, shrink wrapped and jewel cased.

That way you can have 50 made, sell them to pay for the next batch, whatever, and not be in so deep.

Also you can have them bulk printed on a spindle in an envelope to use for promo material. After all, if you've got a good disk you want it to appear everywhere that will get you press. It's not money lost, it's advertising for more, better gigs.

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We're recording at The Byre with Mark Thomas. It'll be properly mixed and mastered. We're just looking at how to get maximum exposure without having people think it's "too expensive".

3 for 6 or 7 songs isn't really much of a risk, it's a good deal for punters I think.

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How many people on this site, along with the general public, buy CD's by local artists? How often, and where from?

It would be interesting to see some stats because I suspect it is hard to find a band in this city who has "released" a cd like this and broken even.

I've bought 'proper' releases by Katerwaul, Delawair and Kitchen Cynics song-a-day, mostly at gigs.

They're all incredibly good however, and for most people I'd opt for a cheap cd-r. I can think of a few other bands in Aberdeen I'd buy a fully made up album from all the same.

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You bring up a few good points in this thread that interest me as our band are in the middle of recording our album. Altho we have yet to play a full gig (just an accoustic gig at the tunnels) we have quite a good bit of interest.

Anyhoo i think the best bet is to go for the jewell cd case its look a bit more professional and i think people apprecaite that more. As far as price goes 3 quid sounds about right as at the end of the day its about getting exposure for yer band.

Good luck anyway :up:

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My guess is if people would be reluctant to part with a fiver then 3 would be almost as hard a sell....go for home burn in single jewel case with yer mates printed artwork, its a compromise, and do card cases as well with sticky labels as give aways and send outs.

Think of non signed bands you have liked in the past and in what format you preferred their cd's....:up:

Anyone looking for Alyssa's wish cd's?....o_O

G...

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Ok, Now I have to do a shameless plug.

Would you pay 3 for this if you liked us? The songs are good quality recordings with a good engineer in a great studio.

Yep, if I liked you, then I'd have no trouble at all parting with 3. Infact, if I do like you, I will buy one.

Out of interest, where did you get them done? They look well nice.

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Guest batterypowpow

I'm a big fan of release packaging (particularly first/early ones) being very home grown, having some human contact in them, giving a genuine idea of where the band/artist is instead of trying to impress with fancy artwork and cases. Plus i find 'professional' looking things makes me care less about hearing the actual music.

So i like cardboard slipcases or those plastic wallets.

Oh, and i always find them more 'pass-it-around' and 'something new' than jewel cases.

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TBH, we're not 100% bothered about recouping costs....

Is 3 a decent price for a Cd with 6 or 7 songs on it?

I'm of the opinion that, even if I was personally unsure of a band, ie, I'd seen them and thought they were ok, they had a Cd and it was 3, I'd buy it... if it was half a Pavarotti... I'd maybe think again.

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I'm a big fan of release packaging (particularly first/early ones) being very home grown, having some human contact in them, giving a genuine idea of where the band/artist is instead of trying to impress with fancy artwork and cases. Plus i find 'professional' looking things makes me care less about hearing the actual music.

So i like cardboard slipcases.

We did fancy artwork on our last CD, and it looked awesome, but it was just a CD in a case to me... we've already sorted out a production line for these ;)

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that looks pretty smart. always nice to see a wee bit of effort put in. Even if you make 80% back on the costs of the CDs i reckon it'd be worth it. For local bands i reckon its always the best policy to do everything as well as you can and sell it for as little as possible... door fees for shows, tee, albums. I think downloading is good, but a lot of people prefer something tangible... cd vinyl tape etc.

and i definetly agree with the point that if a band were even ok and there cd was 3 i'd probably buy it.

incedently... have you got tracks on a myspace... interested to hear what the byre sounds like

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