I know almost everyone downloads albums these days but there are still those that like to hold a CD in their hands and marvel at its glory. And what about your little table at the back of the room at your gigs? Gotta sell something there, right?
There really is something to be said for the path of least resistance. I went with the easiest option for duplication with Disc Makers. They’ve been around forever and not only offer fairly reasonable pricing on CDs but for a little more they’ll place your album in a bunch of digital stores such as iTunes and Amazon. All digital sales reporting throughout all of these stores comes back to you in a dashboard so you can follow along and sales are dropped into your Paypal account. Easy.
I think you can find CD duplication cheaper on the interwebs but the user interface is fantastic and the digital distribution option is so easy.
But while having your CD and MP3s available everywhere is awesome, you have to share a bit more of your profits for the privilege to do so. Meaning, If you sell your physical CD on CD Baby (Disc Makers partner that sells your physical CD) they take quite a chunk. They actually warehouse some of your CDs and ship to your fans but that’s only useful if you’re selling thousands and thousands of CDs. And, like many indie artists, I’m still in more of the “one at a time” phase of album sales. So I can handle the shipping duties. Plus, who doesn’t love to wait in line at their local post office?!
Because of this, I went looking for a way for me to sell MP3s and physical CDs myself to all of my ‘self-generated’ traffic. Let my fans just buy off of my website and I’ll take care of shipping, customer service, etc. Enter Bandcamp.
Bandcamp allows me to create a custom web store where I can manage my own CD and MP3 sales. Their interface helps me set my own prices, keep up with shipping, follow sales stats and create streaming tracks (so I can link or embed in other places). But maybe the best thing about Bandcamp is that they take a fair (read much smaller) portion of my album sales. This is very cool and makes it feel more like I’m an indie artist in control of my content as opposed to a tool used by a corporation to make more money for the aforementioned corporation (Spotify, I’m looking at you).
That’s essentially how I’ve set up my distribution. You get the street cred of being on iTunes and stuff while being able to keep more of the profits at your own store. Plus, I like being able to see CDs actually leaving my house. That’s so cool. Kind of like watching your little children go out into the big bright world one at a time. Single tear.