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Author Topic: Dollars And Sense About CDs Part III  (Read 1992 times)


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Dollars And Sense About CDs Part III
« on: June 05, 2004, 03:05:53 PM »

From August, 2002

Last month we asked if should your band start thinking about cutting an album and selling it at gigs?  The first question you should be asking yourself is, "How many CDs can we realistically expect to sell?".  If the answer is around 200 to 500 CDs, then it makes good sense to start thinking about doing an album.

Group's been together a year or so, several gigs a month, and around 300 potential CD Sales:
This is the perfect range for selling to fans, friends, and family, and it can make a nice profit quickly.  You'll still burn your CD-Rs yourself, do your own labeling on the discs (using paper labels), and print all your booklets and traycards on your computer.  You don't have to make up 100s of CDs, only enough to cover a show (20 to 30 at a time), and your costs won't break the bank.

Considering that you can sell your CD for $15, it'll only take you about 200 CDs to break even - everything you make after that first 200 CDs is straight profit. You can probably make enough in CD sales to not only pay for the first album, but cover the cost of a second album as well.

Getting the actual recording done will be the bulk of the expense. Figure anywhere from $1500 to $3,000 for studio time in a decent studio. Don't try to save money here by going for the cheapest place, or trying to do it yourself.  This is the album that your fans have been waiting for, and you have a big enough following to do it right.  If you can afford a producer with a great track record, hire him. Plan on recording about 10 to 12 songs.

Let someone you really trust do the mixing and the mastering.  The band isn't always the best judge of their music.  Avoid having any member of the band at the mixdown session if all they're worried about is how their part sounds.  This is a band effort and the music better sound as good as most of the songs you hear on the radio.  If the guitar player has forced the engineer to crank the guitar tracks during the mixdown, the whole band will pay the price when you try to get radio play and you're turned down because of an "ego" mix.  If you're not sure, get several different mixes and take some time to listen to them over several different sound systems.

What kind of artwork are you going to put on this first CD?  Most bands have at least one person in the band who's sharp on doing graphics, or ya know somebody who's good on a computer.  You need 3 printed things for your CDs: a paper round CD label, the booklet, and a tray card (that goes under the CD tray).  You can buy die-cut round CD labels that can be printed with any computer printer, or you can find companies on the internet that will sell you CD-Rs imprinted anyway you want them for a little more than the cost of a blank CD-R.  

Go with a four panel booklet (meaning a book, printed front and back, and folded in half), You can get one book out of a single 8-1/2 x 11 piece of paper.  Two tray cards can also be printed from a single 8-1/2 x 11 piece of paper.  Take your finished artwork to a fast copy place and have them print the artwork on high gloss, heavy paper stock for a more professional look, or find a local printer that can print the books and tray cards for you..

Your first full length album is far more important than your demo.  Your demo showed your potential; now it's up to the album to prove you've reached that potential.
Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio
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