Posted tagged ‘indypendy’

How Do I Score Reviews of my CD Before the Release?

April 27, 2010


Natalie John


So here’s the second installment of  “Ask Grassrootsy”.  If you have questions, be sure to send them in.
Today’s Ask Grassrootsy question is something I’m sure most artist wonder about…

THE BAND: Natalie John
THE QUESTION: I am working on promoting my first original jazz music album. I’d love to score some reviews of my music. I would like to release the album in two months, but it won’t be completed for another month. If you say that this requires months-in-advance notice, what should I send reviewers if the album’s not even completed yet? Thanks for helping me solve this puzzling Catch-22.

ANSWER Yea, this is definitely a catch-22, but there are definitely ways to work around it.  Here are my suggestions.

1. Create an Online Press Kit. People like Sonicbids for this but i highly recommend putting something together on your own website because you’ll have so much more flexibility.  Ya, you don’t have the CD, but you do have rough mixes that will continue to progress as the project nears completion. So…put together a press page with…

*** everything the Media could ever want to know about you and your project – bio, press release, endorsements, etc.
*** include an audio player with the latest mixes of your song.  Put a disclaimer saying “songs not in final form”
*** make the  media aware that you will continually be updating this page with new information and the latest mixes of your CD

I’ve been spent all my time and energy working on this idea since I’m putting out a new project. Here’s what that looks like.

disclaimer: this requires being up on your html and/or using the available resources out there to help you.

2. Make a Pre-release Copy. As much as the media will benefit from your Press Page, most people still prefer hard copies when reviewing. Why? Well, what if you were a reviewer at a magazine and you had 20-50 artists emailing you large audio files on a daily basis? Yea…you get the point. This is why hard copies are still the most desired form of submission.

A pre-release copy is the same idea as audio on a press kit. Here’s what you do.

*** order blank discs from a printing company. Blank as in there is no data on them. The company will basically print some simple artwork that you supply. The artwork says something along the lines of “Advance Pre-release Copy. SONGS NOT IN FINAL FORM”.
*** Once you receive the data-free CDs back from the company, burn your latest audio mixes onto the discs. Burn a couple new CDs each time you have newer versions of your songs.
*** Voila. You have a pre-release copy. Media will expect it not to perfect since you’ve clearly stated that the songs aren’t in final form. However, try to send audio that sound at least a little bit shaped up.
Here’s an example of the latest artwork I sent in to get printed on a disc: I got them printed and shipped for under $100 from Their quality isn’t superb but they’re great for short-run low-maintenance projects like this that aren’t detail specific.

I am knee-deep into the process of releasing a CD, so if you all have any additional, related questions, please feel free to send them over.

If this blog helped you, please tweet about it and pass it to a friend.

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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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