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narcodis
04-09-2012, 09:14 PM
It's no secret that the best way to sell music these days is online... most music is sold online, and CDs are going out of style pretty quick.

Given that, I'm trying to figure out the best way to sell a physical copy of my own music.. and when I say physical, I mean not entirely online. I'm considering a few options, mainly because they're a ton cheaper than getting a CD pressed and packaged, and secondly because they seem interesting/unique to me. But what appeals to you? How do you prefer to get your music?

For purposes of this discussion, consider this scenario. You're out at a bar or a club or whatever and watching a band play, and you think "Hey, these guys rule! I'm want to support them somehow." So you walk over to their merch table and see what they have for sale. On the table you see these options:

First, a download card. Simple cheap little card with the band artwork and a code you can download the music with. Real cheap. $2 or less.

Second are download stickers. A 4.75" x 4.75" sticker of the album artwork (same size as a CD case) when peeled away that reveals a download code you can get the music from. Costs around $2-$4.

Third, is a USB flash drive with the music and a .pdf "insert" preloaded onto it. The music would come in all different formats (.mp3, .flac, etc), and the .pdf would include artwork, credits, lyrics, etc. Costs about as much as a CD, possibly less ($6-$10)

Finally, a CD. Emphasis would be placed on the layout and artwork. Comes in a 4 panel fold-out posterboardy case, and inside the case is all the lyrics, credits, artwork, etc. CD has a nice glossyness to it. Assume it looks really good, aesthetically at least. Costs about $8-$10.

What would you be most likely to get for yourself? Pros/cons of each that you can think of?

I'm thinking a USB drive would be cool simply because of how practical/novel the idea is, but I'm not sure if that's just how I feel about it, or if others might feel the same way.

Sanagi
04-10-2012, 01:32 AM
Most of my collection is digital, but when it comes to buying an album directly from an artist, I still like a CD.

Little Sampson
04-10-2012, 12:49 PM
Most of my collection is digital, but when it comes to buying an album directly from an artist, I still like a CD.

This, pretty much.

BEAT
04-10-2012, 02:12 PM
There is something WONDERFUL about buying a CD from a merch table at a tiny venue.

If you gave me a little card with a download code, I would just sort of look at you funny and ask where I can find your bandcamp, because I know I'm gonna fucking lose that thing within an hour.

If you gave me a USB drive I would just sort of stare at it funny and then say no thanks.

But a CD

A CD is just great. I can play it in the car on the way home, and load that shit directly into my Itunes and then lend it to a friend who never gives it back to me.

CDs man.

CDs.

EDIT: I realize costs are a concern but I talked to this guy (http://www.shinobimc.com/) after a show once and he told me about this website he uses that will mass-produce CD's for like a dollar apiece. Wish I could remember the name of it.

ajr82
04-10-2012, 10:25 PM
If I'm going to buy something physical, it would be a CD. These days, though, I mostly just buy CDs for albums that I already know I love. I can't remember the last time I bought a CD without already really knowing the album.

Odin
04-11-2012, 03:37 AM
BEAT summed it up beautifully:

There is something WONDERFUL about buying a CD from a merch table at a tiny venue.

If you gave me a little card with a download code, I would just sort of look at you funny and ask where I can find your bandcamp, because I know I'm gonna fucking lose that thing within an hour.

If you gave me a USB drive I would just sort of stare at it funny and then say no thanks.

But a CD

A CD is just great. I can play it in the car on the way home, and load that shit directly into my Itunes and then lend it to a friend who never gives it back to me.

CDs man.

CDs.

Olli T
04-11-2012, 04:42 AM
I'm just going to echo the CDs sentiment. I already have a shelf for them! And two huge CD towers! I have no place for a thumb drive collection. Other options are "meh".

MCBanjoMike
04-11-2012, 04:47 AM
Wait, so are these the prices that you would be selling your merch for at the table? Because one thing that you may or may not be concerned with is turning a profit on your stuff, and it isn't clear to me whether or not that's a high priority at this point. For example, if you have your music on a website, is it free or is there a minimum cost to download it? 'Cause if you would like to actually make a bit of money selling your music at shows, I'd say go CD all the way. A CD with a 4-panel booklet won't cost you more than a dollar or two to produce (at least if you make a couple hundred) at any major duplication facility, which I assume is considerably less than a USB drive and probably not much more than a download-code card. You could price them at $10, which is a nice round number that will save you the pain of making change with every transaction, and still clear 8-9 dollar per sale. The initial investment is slightly higher, since you need to pay someone to design your booklet and CD graphics, but you were already going to do most of that with the pdf file on the USB key anyway.

That said, CDs are definitely a dying medium. You'll get suckers like me who enjoy having physical copies, but don't expect them to fly off the merch table in this age of iTunes and Bandcamp. I'd suggest you be conservative in deciding how many you want to print.

BEAT
04-11-2012, 06:01 AM
I'm with everything MC Banjomike said.

That said I really must stress that buying a CD from a merch table, to people like me at least, is so much more than just "obtaining music". If I want your music I can get it easily. Hell if your stuff is legitly free online, I probably already have it on my iPod.

When I go up to your merch table, I am going up with the explicit goal of saying hi to you*, so I can tell you how much I liked your set, and get a tangible souvenir from the whole experience. It is your chance to show me that you're a seriously cool dude who always has a few minutes for a fan, during which you laugh and joke with me and make a little doodle on the back of the album insert with a sharpie. I'll listen to it on the drive home, and probably spend most of the trip thinking about how cool you were. And when I inevitably lend it to a friend or put it in a festivus package or whatever, I'll be sure to gush about how awesome you were, how great the show is, and how you can't find a CD like that just anywhere.

Regarding the whole physical media VS digital media thing, it's very true that I'm much more likely to buy a small indie dude's album online over a store, but that's mostly because the closest really nice record store is over 30 minutes away. A concert or a set is a physical event that I took the time to go to. I'm already there, so it's only natural that I would expect physical media.

Also Narcodis, dude, link us to your music already! I'm gushing about how much I love you and I haven't even heard your stuff yet!

*You DO man your own merch table for at least a little while after your set, right? Because that's like, super important.

gahitsu
04-11-2012, 11:13 AM
So it pains me to come in here and be a dittohead, but I don't know how much more BEAT's explanation could be expanded upon. I wonder if it would be worth it, though, to have a cheaper alternative to a CD for people who might be sitting on the fence about buying something? I don't know; I don't go to enough concerts to say if there are those sorts of people out there.

christoffing
04-12-2012, 06:42 PM
I... uhm... buy vinyls.

Does that make me a filthy hipster?

Matchstick
04-12-2012, 09:21 PM
Does that make me a filthy hipster?

That's not what does it.

ravinoff
04-12-2012, 10:02 PM
Everything BEAT has said here about buying CDs merch tables I agree with. I will also add that jazz and classical I usually get on CD because I want to rip it lossless.

ĦHarlequinPanic!
04-13-2012, 06:31 AM
CDs are great but only when sold and packaged with cd art. You can't even give them out on the street.

The one time I actually had a demo with a band, I gave them out on USB sticks since they had a value to them even if the person didn't listen to the music. I was cheap and guerilla with it, etched the band name onto the sticks.

Course, that band broke up after like 3 weeks so...

narcodis
04-13-2012, 02:48 PM
So I've been asking a lot of people, and many think the USB idea is cool. And it's practical, about the same price as a CD to produce believe it or not (it'd only be like 512mb). Lots think they'd buy the download card because it's cheap. But for the most part, of the people I've asked, the people who I know actually buy music say they'd prefer a physical medium (ie CD or Vinyl). So for now I think I'll settle with a CD.

Anyway BEAT, since you asked, here is the music I've made:
TWINPLUS (http://soundcloud.com/twinplus/sets/twinplus/)

BEAT
04-13-2012, 05:32 PM
Edit: wait fuck I misread that.

I shall now listen to your music.

EDIT EDIT: This is pretty cool!

narcodis
04-30-2012, 09:56 AM
Uhm, not sure if I should make a separate thread for this or something. But if anyone was interested in buying the music I've made, you now can do so through Bandcamp, which will net you a digital copy of my tunes in the format of your choice (MP3 320, FLAC, WAV, whatever).

http://twinplus.bandcamp.com/

BEAT
04-30-2012, 11:36 AM
Bandcamp is by far my preferred method of buying music on the internet.

You doing good man.

Posaune
05-01-2012, 02:04 AM
Does Bandcamp let you re-download like Steam? Because that's all I want.