Posted tagged ‘Amazon’

Is Bandcamp Really Worth It?

October 13, 2010

THE ARTIST: Caleb Pogyor (Pittsburgh, PA)
THE QUESTION: I was just wondering if Bandcamp has been good to you in terms of fairness and profit. Is it worth signing up and selling a $5 record? I’m releasing my new album on October 25th and was trying to find a good site to sell through.

THE ANSWER: I really love Bandcamp and I’ve written alot about these guys in the past. Here’s one of those posts: Bandcamp- A Great Place to Pitch Your Tent. But is it worth it financially?  Here are my thoughts…

1. Bandcamp has the artist in mind. Most download sites take roughly 30% of your track sales. On Bandcamp you can set the price of downloads and it routes through your paypal. Bandcamp takes 15% and then paypal takes a cut as well…but it still doesnt add up to 30%.

Bandcamp is also a good place for doing  promotionals. The site allows you to get people’s email addresses in exchange for a free download.  Things like this will help you build your fanbase. You can also run special promotional code discounts and other promos that you wouldn’t be able to run through iTunes or the bigger download stores.

Bandcamp will also give you a good platform for allowing people to hear your full CD before they decide to buy it. Some people might never buy it if they can hear it anytime for free, but some will.

2. iTunes has more customer loyalty. The reality of it is that most people will get your music from iTunes no matter what. Use Tunecore for this. Tunecore is a platform that allows you to submit your music to big dogs like iTunes, Amazon, Napster…etc. Read this post for more on that:  Alternatives – CD Packaging, Production, & Distribution.   iTunes is pretty much a monopoly in this game of digital downloads. So if you’re looking for a spot where 95% of people are already visiting, put your stuff on iTunes.

3. Who says you can’t do both? iTunes in great, BUT  Bandcamp is awesome for the folks who dont want to submit to “the man” 🙂 and folks who are looking for unconventional ways to do what they do.  So who says you can’t do both. Put your eggs in multiple baskets and they’ll both benefit you in different ways.

You might want to apply for Paypal’s “Micropayments Rate“.  According to Bandcamp, if the items you sell are under $12, it’ll be more advantageous to go the micropayments route so you get the best bang for your buck.  Think of it this way:

If you’re selling a $.99 track through bandcamp, Paypal will still take 30% of that and bandcamp will take their 15%.  You’ll get roughly $.55 of every dollar. That’s not exactly ideal. But if you set up micropayments, Paypal will take a much much smaller percentage and you make more to the dollar.

This is yet another reason why i love working with Paypal and Bandcamp.

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Incredible Resources You’ve Never Heard About #4

July 27, 2009


Allison Weiss

Allison Weiss

I especially love writing this series b/c it tends to get the most feedback from artists.  To see other posts in the “Incredible Resources” series, click here.

Ok, I ran into Kickstarter last month, and I LOVE the concept. Chances are that you fall into the same category as most aspiring artist – lotta passion, little funds. Kickstarter offers a way for you to solicit pledges from you fanbase in return for a whole bunch of different rewards.

How’s it work?  Lets say you have a goal to raise $5000 for your next CD (to cover recording, artwork, duplication…etc).  Start an account with Kickstarter and start asking your fans to support you. Through Kickstarter, you can raise funds and offer your fans compensation in the form of a free CD (once the project is finished), free admission to 1 or many of your upcoming shows, free merch, or whatever creative ideas you come up with. It’s a novel idea, really. 

I happened upon Allison Weis Kickstarter page today and girls got it together!  She’s raise over $6,000 even though she only aimed for $2000 to cover the first print-run of her project  Thats 314%. Sweet!  Her pledge amounts range from is $1 to $2500 and she offers excellent incentives to her fans depending on how much they decide to give.  She’s aso created an amusing informational video to tell her fans more about the process.  Now, keep in mind that Allison Weiss  is a “well-known” indie artist so she’s got a much larger fanbase (hence more supporters). But also keep in mind that she is independent and does 100% of her marketing. 

Other Need-to-knows about Kickstarter

  • ***KS offers a widget that you can place on your website/myspace that automatically updates itself on how far you are in the pledging process.
  • ***KS will not let you collect the money until your goal has been reached. So if you have a $1000 goal but only reach $999, you can’t collect the money.  If anything, this will encourage you to be proactive in asking your supporters for $. 
  • ***KS allows you to collect the $ through an account with Amazon. Amazon takes a small percentage (though that fee is currently being waived)! 
  • ***KS service is FREE!!!  Yes FREE!  So you don’t have to pay anything or worry about them taking a cut from your raised funds.  They’ve acknowledged that they might charge in the future, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Things You Should Keep in Mind

  • ***KS is a service much like paypal. They handle the $ but you gotta follow thru.  Don’t collect money from fans and then use it for something else. That’s dishonest and WRONG!  And if you’re gonna offer incentives, you better make sure you keep your promise.
  • ***If you like their business model, take advantage of KS while its still free!  If you’ve used KS before, please leave a comment and tell grassrootsy readers of your experience.
  • ***I have not personally used KS but I’m seriously considering going this route for my next project.  This post is based off of the information I’ve read. If it is incorrect in any, please let me know. Give it a try for yourself and as previously stated, let us know how it goes!
  • ***Start building your credibility.  Even if you’re not in the process of recording a project, start proving that you are trustworthy. When the time comes, people will give you money if they know you will put it to good use.

 Lastly, head to this page to read up on everything you need to know about Kickstarter. Also check out Allison Weiss’ myspace.  She’s a great example to follow.

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Alternatives – CD Packaging, Production, & Distribution

March 5, 2009

IndyPendy: big savings for not so big musicians

IndyPendy: big savings for not so big musicians

This is continuation of yesterday’s post: Starting from Scratch: What it takes to Release a CD“. Read that past to get ideas on CD recording, artwork, photography, and packaging.

Now, lets say you don’t want to go the Dismakers or Oasis route (even though they handle digital distribution and other great hookups).  Lets say you just want to do a short print-run of maybe 1-200 discs…, here are resources for you.

Indypendy (Packaging and Production)
Check out Its a very simple company that does very simple work at a very cost-effective price.
They handle CD and DVD duplication at a fraction of the price compared to other companies (but don’t handle things like digital distribution).  And always FREE shipping.  You can ask for proofs ahead of time to make sure you’re getting quality in return. This page will give you a run down on some of the things they offer.

Indypendy especially came in handy 6 weeks before I released my CD.  I wanted advanced copies to send to media but I didnt want to spend so much money on packaging.  For roughly $100 I had them print my artwork on the face of 100 discs and and send it back to me on a spindle.  Here’s what it looked like. I burned the music onto each CD (from my laptop)  and put the CDs in plastic jackets before sending out to local media.

Local companies (Packaging and Production)
Be sure to check into local duplication and production companies in your area.  There are so many short-run companies who can print a small (and large) quantity of your project.  Sometimes cheaper. Sometimes not.  Do your research.  These companies may not handle other things like digital distibution and setting up accounts on CDbaby, but they can be especially good at a speedy turnover time. And sometimes the fact that it is in your neighborhood means you can pick it up and not worry about shipping.

Tunecore (Digital Distribution)
The website spells it all out. Visit to find out how to submit your music to iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, Amazon…etc without the help of Discmakers or Oasis.  There is a fee to submit your music but once the music has been added to any/all stores, you get 100% of the profit made off digital sales.  In other words, Tunecore does not take a cut, though the individual stores will still take their cut.

Lets say you submit a song for distribution to all major online stores.  That’s $9.99. The song sells for .99 on iTunes. Tunecore takes 0% but iTunes still takes their 30% (roughly). I’m sure there are other companies that offer a way to get digital distribution but TC seems to be the most popular.  Do your research and search the internet.

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FAQ’s and Recapping the Last Two Months of Blogs

January 14, 2009


Kenna "Make Sure They See My Face"

Kenna "Make Sure They See My Face"


I thought I would write this blog b/c I’ve gotten a handful of the same emails from different people in the last few weeks.  People asking the same questions.  Thank goodness for copy/past and hyperlinks.

Here are some popular questions, short responses, and links to more details answers.  The questions are all relatively similar.

1.)  “Question… i’m really trying to find places to play here in town. but it’s quite difficult. Could you please name some places where you feel that me and my boys could get some action??” 
Basically if you are looking for places to play…my best reccommendation is reading the City Paper every week and becoming more and more aware of the venues that have live music. Visit their websites and email them or call them to get more details on how to book a show.  More: Stay Informed: Read, Watch, Go, Listen 

2.)  How can I figure out what some of the popular venues are in my city?
Refer to comment #1. Also visit local artist websites and myspaces.  See where they are playing…then copy them and try to book at those same places.  More: Mimick  the Artists You

3.) I am really interested in getting out and playing in public and getting some exposure but I am just not really sure how to go about getting shows booked and everything. Was there something you did when you started out that might help me? I’d love to open for people or do whatever it takes.
In any stardard-sized city there are tons of coffeespots/bars/venues that welcome music and don’t ask you to sell tickets (blah).  Call these venues to learn about their booking process, book yourself, and played out as often as possible.  Hit up the Open Mics in in your area regularly to network with musicians and split shows. More: Helping Yourself #3

4.) Where did you go to get your CD Packaged?
The two most popular duplication and packaging companies for independent artists are Discmakers and Oasis. And they are awesome.  They offer great rates (in my opinion) for independent artist.  They also handle digital distribution of your music…i.e. iTunes, Napster, Amazon, PayPlay…etc. I have a very strong feeling that trying to get your music on iTunes without the help of a larger entity is a next-to-impossible undertaking.  More: Take Advantage of the Holiday…

5.) So I need to do something musical. I don’t know what but something. Thing is I suck. Want to make some noise? Let me know what you want to do, I can pretty much suck at guitar, bass, drums or even vocals.
Ummm?  No comment.


 The most important post so far…I think…is Perception is Reality
And the first thing that comes to mind is Kenna’s latest CD
“Make Sure They See My Face”


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