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  • Do you sell CDs of your music?

    Per the title: Do you sell CDs of your music?

    I'm on the verge of releasing my first LP (at long last!), and this is a consideration I had previously written off. I personally prefer digital over physical media these days for my own music collection (especially if I can get it in a lossless format), and assumed the costs of making a large batch of CDs would never be recouped because my expectations are pretty low that enough people would be interested in buying them.

    A friend recently pointed out a service (https://www.kunaki.com) that specializes in low quantity, on-demand CD production at really low cost. So it seems worth reconsidering this option in case there are some people out there who actually prefer owning a physical copy.

    What has been your experience? Do people actually order CDs from you? Do they want to buy CDs directly from you/at a march table when you perform? Are there other scenarios where having an actual CD is beneficial?
    remst8 - remst8.com

  • #2
    WARNING: the following ramblings are not that of a professional artist, but of a guy that used to chain-smoke in his home studio.


    I have long considered having physical copies made. The only physical copies were home printed, and then only a few were made. Never liked sticking labels on my cds...

    There are no performances, only ever sold one copy of a CD when I was on MP3.com (they manufactured the discs on demand and then sent directly to the customer; never saw the result).

    I'd like to give some to friends, have it sitting on my shelf, and possibly sell one or two on my bandcamp page. There's no way someone working at my scale would find it a profitable venture of any significance, but it would be cool if setting somewhat low bars; a first sale, the first time enough were sold to cover the cost of printing, etc.

    I looked at that site; certainly affordable; for the price of a Valhalla reverb you could print up 20+ copies. The only thing I didn't really like was the gallery is not actual photos of a finished product, just the band's artwork placed in a fake cd cover--the work may be ok, but there's no way to tell before ordering. But you could always just order 5 copies for 5 bucks plus shipping...not much of a risk there. If the quality doesn't meet your expectations, places like Discmaker does make fairly good quality products, although a little more costly. I think I priced 50 at about $200?

    I'd think one benefit of having a physical copy would be if you were trying to get someone to be more certain to hear the material. Several of my friends have a small appreciation for ambient, although more along the lines of Constance Demby, Ray Lynch, and Michael Sterns rather than what I tend to do. I have little to no success directing them to soundcloud or bandcamp even via a facebook embed, so I burn them discs to listen to in the car or the home stereo. On a grander scale, having a copy to give a promoter or other industry person seems so much more impressive than just a link to the files. I'd think they might be more likely to listen to it having a cd, and maybe even on a system that isn't tied to tiny speakers or earbuds.




    TLDR: I don't see much downside to ordering a few inexpensive copies of one's work; if it catches on, you can always order more.
    Last edited by aoVI; 10-19-2016, 11:18 PM.

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    • #3
      I have read all of ontol's ramblings and he mirrors my thoughts exactly.
      >]:| ~ > Bandcamp < ~ |:| ~ > SoundCloud < ~ |:| ~ > YouTube < ~ |:[<

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      • #4
        I produce my own CDs, though only in small quantities at a time. Usually I get a local print shop to print the artwork, then I burn the discs and build the case at home.
        People have ordered CDs from me through Bandcamp, and of course they get the download with it too. Recently I did a CD trade with Rudy Adrian, we each sent each other one of our own albums.
        I am a bit old-fashioned and would much rather have a CD than a download, plus I don't even own an Ipod, so that's why I choose to make discs.
        Besides, many of my friends who I have shown my CDs to say they look very professional, which makes me feel happy and like I've done a good job.
        https://thegreatschizm.bandcamp.com

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        • #5
          I have sold some CDs, mainly to friends and acquaintances, and I usually give them away and accept donations :-). If I can shift 20 CDs (and I usually can), I can cover the cost of having them made, at least.

          I last used this service for the CD copying and sleeve printing

          http://www.disczone.co.uk/

          and was very happy with their service.
          Bandcamp / Soundcloud / Website

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          • #6
            If I were to have cd's of my music printed up I'd expect to give more away than sell(if any), and consider it a marketing expense. For that price range, I wouldn't expect to do better with traditional advertising.

            I'd add that I'm not a big fan of jewel cases, gatefolds would be more ideal to me(and could probably make your own, plenty of tutorials on youtube). Plastic packaging is very..plastic, and impersonal. And cardboard just feels better in the hands, maybe that's just me. But either way it's certainly better than a disposable business card with a bandcamp download link on it I'd think. A cd has potential to still be passed around and listened to 5 years from now, never know where they'll end up or who they'll get heard by(similar to cassettes in previous generations). A business card otoh is pretty predictable, besides getting a much lower response rate from the start. And more generally speaking, profitability isn't something that's best measured in short terms.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TFSlbPG7DQ

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpJ-uyw1rVE
            | Ambire Seiche - @ heart this | @ Sonic Squirrel |
            | @da

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            • #7
              So, in my utter ignorance, are the CDs from places like Kunaki 'proper' CDs as opposed to CDRs? Kunakis FAQ just says they're as good as comparable products which doesn't really tie it down.
              Latest release: never to be repeated

              Hearthis | Soundcloud

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              • #8
                I would be very surprised if they were "proper" CD's. I thought you needed a glass master to create the real thing. Unless tech has changed, of course...
                >]:| ~ > Bandcamp < ~ |:| ~ > SoundCloud < ~ |:| ~ > YouTube < ~ |:[<

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by GaryG View Post
                  So, in my utter ignorance, are the CDs from places like Kunaki 'proper' CDs as opposed to CDRs? Kunakis FAQ just says they're as good as comparable products which doesn't really tie it down.
                  No idea. But thanks to the responses so far, I may try it out. If I do, I'll be sure to report the results here.
                  remst8 - remst8.com

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                  • #10
                    I had CDs printed for Systems through CDBaby. They're definitely not the cheapest option out there, but they deliver a quality product and pretty good support for every step of the process. I already knew of them from using them years ago when you still had to mail everything in, but thankfully the whole process is streamlined and web-based now (I think you can still mail stuff though, if you prefer).

                    I did a small run of 100, mostly to give away to friends and family, coworkers, list on Bandcamp, etc. I don't play live sets, so there's no merch table for them to go on. I find that most people don't know what to do with CDs these days, and the few who do end up listening to them in the car, as it's the last remaining CD player in their life.

                    I think if I do another physical release, I'll go full hipster and record over a box full of self-help audio cassettes from the swap meet.
                    https://interfacetypeseven.bandcamp.com/
                    https://soundcloud.com/interface-type-seven/
                    https://squibbex.bandcamp.com/
                    https://soundcloud.com/johnsquibb

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                    • #11
                      I'm a very happy customer of kunaki.com..can't say more than that, really. I've had no problems at all using their service..and nobody has ever come back to me with any complaints regarding the CDs they've bought..so I guess my CDs played OK on the stereos of those who bought them.

                      Guys..the Kunaki service basically lets you produce CDs of your music and sends them to the buyer for you..and all at no up-front cost to you..no up-front fee..no units that end being stored som place in boxes in your home..and the quality of the discs they've made for me in has been just as good as any I've ever bought in an off-line store.

                      LSS..you' really need to read up on this service to know what it cvan do and if you want to use it or not, due to the various options they offer..but, for the record, it enables the little guy to present his or her work with a level of professionalism that would otherwise cost you a hell of a lot more up front if you were to use some other service.

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                      • #12
                        You can get a free sample CD from them at no cost, not even shipping. Just get one and see for yourself. Though we don't use them anymore since we sell enough lately, i really like their service, good quality, fast shipping, and ofcourse it's CD-R and not a glass master, but hey, for only 5 bucks.

                        http://kunaki.com/samples.asp

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                        • #13
                          not yet. thinking about it, music lovers, and I'd count people interested in ambient among them..., probably still have a place for cds somewhere. for a variety of reasons, i'm currently leaning towards vinyl.
                          www.soundcloud.com/phoenstorm

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by phoenstorm View Post
                            not yet. thinking about it, music lovers, and I'd count people interested in ambient among them..., probably still have a place for cds somewhere. for a variety of reasons, i'm currently leaning towards vinyl.
                            you know a good place to press vinyl without the need to buy like 500 pieces?

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                            • #15
                              Yeah, vinyl would be really cool, but that's a serious investment (and requires different mastering than digital)... :daydream:
                              remst8 - remst8.com

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