Why Do I Need a CD When Everyone Listens to mp3s?

82% of music sales are digital

18% of music sales are CDs

90% of CDs sold are at shows

I attended the LAUNCH Music Conference last week. Over the course of two days and several hours of panels, I had a chance to hear questions and answers to the things that independent artists are thinking about these days.  So here’s a good one: Why spend money on printing hard copies when most people are downloading their music these days? Here’s why:

90% of CD sales are sold at shows
This is your income and people like immediacy. If your audience enjoys your live performance, they’re more likely to buy your music at the show than a few hours, days, or months later. Be sure to capitalize on the fact that the source of your income is in the room. Yes, some people will still go home and purchase your tunes online, but many will buy it at the show if you make it available.

Yes, there are still people who like hard copies
People still love liner notes. And some people still want to hear a project from start to finish instead of just downloading their favorite tracks. CDs are still important. Will they still exist in 5 years? I don’t know.

You don’t have to share the profit
Ya, it does cost a good bit of money to get your discs printed. But, once you have them, 100% of the sales are yours. This means you don’t have to share anything with iTunes, Napster, AmazonMp3…etc.  This is by far, the greatest advantage of having a CD.

***Subscribe to Grassrootsy

Explore posts in the same categories: Making Money, Merch

Tags: , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

4 Comments on “Why Do I Need a CD When Everyone Listens to mp3s?”

  1. jD Says:

    this is timely for me. i’ve been considering doing a digital release this summer and then doing cds later–like august. but i think i’ll do cds on my own to begin with then in bulk later…

    as you can see, i’m still figuring lol i think the part that’s baffling me the most is the best way to reproduce the liner notes and cover art.


  2. Jack Says:

    I was just thinking the same thing! We’re working out an immediate “Rock Sync” station where we have a couple laptops hooked up with an iPod cable and a couple USB options and people can pickup up mp3s directly from us at the merch table.

    We also have physical CDs… but some people won’t buy them because then you have the burden of holding it the whole time! (so tough, right!)

    The big idea is to take away all excuses from people getting your product and (sometimes) providing you money.

    Don’t have cash? No problem, we take credit cards! Don’t have room in your bag for a CD? No problem, we’ll do a download straight to your phone or iPod or Zune!
    Don’t have any money? No problem, we have promo samplers that we’re going to toss around anyway… here’s an autographed copy because we like you so much! Tell all your friends!

    Our last record was a digital only release. We offered the whole thing for free on our website. Our designer made a PDF booklet that was included. We also created a “premium” edition which included all the guitar tabs (in pdf, midi, and powertab), higher quality mp3s, and bonus behind the scenes materials.

    The premium edition was only $5 and more people paid to download the album than actually did the free one. We also posted the mp3s on iTunes and CDBaby. Of course, they take their 40% cut, but it’s good to be somewhere search-able.

    Here’s what this looks like:

    Good luck JD!


  3. jD Says:

    Wow, thanks, Jack! This was immensely helpful. I’ll be revisiting to see what options might be appropriate for where I am in my process.

    Thanks again.

  4. Jon Patton Says:

    One of my musician buddies here in Baltimore did a digital release recently — he just sells download cards at shows. Jack’s idea is obviously a little more comprehensive. I looked into doing USB drives, but they’re hugely expensive — $5 a piece just to put your logo on it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: