Releasing original music in 2020....

Yer Blues

Member
Messages
8,549
Working with a songwriter with the plan to release some original music this year. In the past, bands I've played with recorded albums in home studios of the members, paid for mastering, and paid for distribution through cd baby (something like 500 cds and digital release). Last time I went through the process was probably 3-4 years ago.

With the current situation we're looking to go to a local studio for the recording. I was thinking we should focus on 3 (maybe 4) songs at a time. By that I mean, work on 3 songs as a band to get them tight, cut them in the studio, get the set of 3 mastered, and then release them primarily online (digital release). For this project, I don't really see the point in physical cds or getting to the point of 9-10 songs for a full album. I think the process should be record and release 3-4 songs. If it gets to the point of 10-12 songs then maybe group them together for an "album".

Any thoughts or comments? How are you releasing original music in 2020.
 
Last edited:

B Money

Member
Messages
5,879
Seems like a legit approach to me. Physical media is dead, and therefore so is the expectation of what an "album" even is.
I might make a very small run of CDs, maybe 10 (?) just to have something to hold on to and show off to my disinterested friends, but that's me and I'm old school.
 

Yer Blues

Member
Messages
8,549
Thanks, guys! One thing I did point out half jokingly was that if we recorded 4-5 songs and did an actual physical album the people we make listen to it would probably be happy it was only 4 songs instead of 10.

We're not expecting anything out of this other than getting some original music out there. There's really no venues around here to play and we're not looking to tour or anything like that....
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Messages
19,082
It seems like the trend these days is toward releasing singles over time, and then maybe collecting the singles into a bandcamp ep/album that people can download all at once.

It's really cheap and easy to buy custom CD labels and stickers to put on sleeves. That's what I did for my last project. It was released online as an album via CD Baby and I got download cards to give out to people. CD Baby handled the digital distribution to streaming sites. I've burned about 30 CDs at home and affixed my own labels to the disc and sleeve.

Honestly at the hobbyist level it barely matters what we do.
 

MilesMitchell

Member
Messages
867
Yeah that's definitely the best plan. Like mentioned above, the only reason to have physical cds or vinyl is if people actually know you're music. The last album I did with a local band printed 100 cds and I'm sure I have a stack left somewhere. On the opposite end, a bigger band I went on tour with back in the fall was selling them like hotcakes (especially the vinyl).

I also see more success with bands putting out singles/eps than entire albums. People don't want to listen to 10 songs unless again, they are actually familiar with your music. Even then, people still don't usually consume an entire album.
 

ToneDeVille

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,746
My band releases our albums thru TuneCore which drops worldwide simultaneously on all streaming services.
This has gotten us airplay in the USA as well as several countries in Europe, and interest from companies that provide music for films.
We also have a few hundred CDs professionally printed with full art work for promotional giveaways at gigs.
 

jmoose

Member
Messages
4,732
Physical media is far from dead, CD's are as much a business card as anything else. I also don't honestly believe that streaming is the future... nobody is making money there.

Here's an excellent article on why for many artists the LP album is irreverent and the EP is where its at. Absolutely worth taking the time to read. Full disclosure, some friends & label mates were interviewed for parts of it.

https://www.billboard.com/articles/...5YoJgMGyhCvjlz_D93_ig5hrgUAtpaiPMQ4Deby8DE0oc
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Messages
19,082
Seems like the importance of social media engagement is one of the major drivers of the singles/EP's trend. Releasing a single is good for several teaser posts plus a bunch of "look it's here" posts and so many photo ops for the 'Gram. If you release four singles in a year you can pretty much program your entire calendar of relevant promo (along with gig info).
 
Last edited:

Genghis

Member
Messages
454
Glad I caught this thread. I plan on recording my band and trying to release something this year, and there are some great tips here. Think I'll go that route of figuring out maybe our top 3 songs and focusing on getting them recorded first, then go from there.

Thanks all!
 

jmoose

Member
Messages
4,732
Seems like the importance of social media engagement is one of the major drivers of the singles/EP's trend. Releasing a single is good for several teaser posts plus a bunch of "look it's here" posts and so many photo ops for the 'Gram. If you release four singles in a year you can pretty much program your entire calendar of relevant promo (along with gig info).
The singles theory works for some people, usually more established vs a "new artist" because they already have a body of work out there to fall back on... people start digging around for back catalog. New artists, even established an EP of 4-5 songs usually makes the most sense.

If we really think about eons ago it was pretty normal for an artist to have at least one new release a year. Wasn't until the late 70s - 80s that one every couple 3 years became normal. Clock pendulum is swinging back in the other direction.

For some people the full album still works but right, its all about promotion and staying relevant. If that's a thing anyone cares about, career trajectory etc.

I know a lot of people that burn through physical copies, sell them at shows and so on. Last year alone there was 1.5 billion dollars worth of physical music sold via retail outlets. Not an insignificant amount of money, someones buying those albums!

And that doesn't count all the indie labels & bands selling merch out of the van on tour... the label my band is on is small enough to not even be counted, totally under the radar and there's a lot of us out there. Probably another billion dollars a year? Nobody knows how large the indie market really is because its so scattered but as a whole its big.

Some people still consume real music. They like a band and want to have it in their hands. Real living breathing fans. And like I said, I don't think streaming is the ultimate answer simply because even though its a billion dollar stream for Apple they're losing money hand over fist on it. The labels aren't making money either so unless something changes its not sustainable long term.
 

Intimo

You mean now?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
67
I wouldn't rule out video either. Behind the scene, in the studio, iPhone, however you tell the story. All the small things can make a difference.
 

mikebat

Member
Messages
11,037
We will be releasing a 6 songs EP on May 1.

we will be using Distrokid once again. I have no illusions that this will be a money maker, even if we have had a significant boost in our YT views through a partnership with SoundMojo.

our recording process is simple. We record the bass, secondary guitars and drums remotely, and I record the primary guitars and vocals in my studio. I mix, and master in conjunction with my band mate. We do not rely on anyone, we do everything ourselves, and we never have to wait, prod, pay, be disappointed by anyone else. We are extremely productive, so material and speed to market is not an issue.

without question we are not getting the biggest bang for our efforts because we are not amazing social media mavens, but...the point is to enjoy the creative process, not sales or notoriety.
 

Joe O

Member
Messages
91
I guess it depends on how serious one is about getting it out there. I still have CD's replicated for most projects I work on. It's almost impossible to get radio airplay without them, at least for emerging/indie artists. Especially on college radio in the US. Press sometimes requires them, too.

Can also sell them at shows. The real fans always buy a bunch. Most vehicles play them, and on the road is where a lot of folks listen to music.

Like Moose said above, it's the ultimate calling card. Nothing like meeting another artist and breaking the ice by offering to swap your latest CD; it's a great way to spread the word and stand out as somebody who is serious about their art.

And a replicated CD can easily last long after you are gone. Yes, there will always be somebody streaming, but non-mainstream music that isn't a household name may not survive there. Some smaller streaming operations are already dropping stuff that doesn't get much traction; most are losing money.

And one CD sold is more profit than almost anything else, equivalent to about 1200 - 1500 streams. Vinyl is nice, but costs a lot more to make.

The trend lately is more to an EP, and I find that to be true for myself. Keep putting out shorter releases more frequently is the new norm. Always have something to push online. Including the new CD!

Again, it's a matter of what the goal is for the recording. I don't see the point of putting all of that work into it and not getting it out there for others, but I know lots of friends that basically record for themselves. I have at times as well.
 

Calebz

Member
Messages
1,539
As others have said, CDs are great business cards for your band.

We usually produce a run of 500 CDs. Of course we never sell all of them, but the first 100 usually sell within the first 4-5 weeks of release. That's generally enough to cover cost of production.

~100 sold in the first round of shows (first month)
~100 come off the top for friends and family
~100 for business cards/CD swaps with other bands, promo giveaways..stuff like that.

That generally leaves around 200 CDs left when we start planning the next trip to the studio. Some may sell. By the time we've reached this point I don't usually care anymore. The CD has done its job and it's on to the next one.

Distrokid has been pretty good for us as well. We've only used it for one release and didn't really do much to leverage it. It was sort of an experiment. It was kind of interesting to see some of the download/sales stats and how they corresponded with specific shows.

I figure if we continue the trend with physical media, and leverage the streaming channels a little better, maybe we'll make a few bucks.
 

tribedescribe

Member
Messages
596
We just released an album last summer. We almost did not get cds but ended up ordering 500 download cards and 100 cds. We play out a lot and had to reorder 100 more cd's a few months later. Now we have to reorder cd's again.

Our audience tends to be middle aged so they tend to prefer cds. Most of them listen to the cds in their cars.
 

Lord N

Member
Messages
2,577
From a consumer standpoint, i rarely (almost never) pay for mp3s. I still like to get CDs.
However, unless you are signed by a label and/or unless you really want to have something physical of your work, i wouldn't bother.
It's sadly true that you have to wh*re out on social media to sell stuff nowadays....
I think in most cases it is absolutely worth it to pay for studio time and professional mixing/mastering....
 

markmann

Member
Messages
1,013
I've been considering releasing some music soon and will be the first time for me. Researching this subject has been a bit depressing when I read about how much music is being released and how little interest and money is generated. Luckily writing and recording is a hobby for me so it won't be crushing if not many hear it. My main goal is to get it out on a site like Bandcamp so that folks have a way to access it. If I get positive feedback I will consider distributing it for streaming outlets.
 




Trending Topics

Top